Why a Survivor of Domestic Abuse would work in the field of abuse.
This morning I was thanked publicly on social media for hosting a Super Bowl party that I did not host. In a home that I no longer own. By a family who does not know me. The innocent parent thanked Mr. and Mrs. X for having their son at the wonderful party and generously hosting so many families from our town. The Mr. X being, literally, Mr. Ex (my ex-husband) and the Mrs. X being his girlfriend, starring in the role of Mrs. X, in my old home, just a few miles from where I now live. A home that I paid for, a home where I once lived out some of my worst nightmares, a home that I try not to think about. Now, this morning, a home where I was forced to visualize a giant party filled with many families and children from my hometown on the night of the Super Bowl. And I was thanked publicly for hosting it – not my favorite way to start the day.
It is these moments, and countless moments like these every day and every week, that makes me think of the question I am asked during almost every media interview: Having escaped a life of domestic abuse, why would you turn around and dedicate your life to working in the field of domestic abuse? For so many who have lived this life and escaped it, telling their story is too difficult. Others will spend years healing before they are strong enough to turn around and give back in whatever form they choose. But for me, there is a driving force that tells me that I need to do something now because this happened to me. And even bigger than that, this is happening to one in four of us.
Being someone who likes to attack issues strategically, it occurs to me that I first need to somehow get in front of this and slow down the speeding train. How do I do that? How do we do that? Because we clearly need to figure out a way to get in front of this epidemic in a way that stops it before it begins. So where does it begin? It seems that we need to reach out and educate our future victims before they have the chance to become a statistic – so we can change that before it ever happens. And if we can do that, if we can get there first, would we see change? I truly believe that we will. And that is why I do this. That is why I spend my days working in the field in which I once fled for my life: for the children. For my children. For all children. It’s just that simple, and then, not so simple.
When I face moments that are tough to deal with, I stop and see it through the eyes of my boys. They
are thriving. They are growing into wonderful young men. They are enjoying their lives. I am giving everything I have to be the best mom that I can for them and somehow, through all of the adversity that we have faced, we have arrived at this day. For the other children out there, those not yet touched by abuse, those who may be walking straight towards it, and those who may be fortunate enough to never get near it (but may be able to save another one day), there is work to be done. There is a message that needs to be conveyed to them immediately that doesn’t seem to be getting through.
No matter how great our parenting skills are, somehow we are not getting all the way through: girls use your words, boys listen to them. There’s so much more to say, but that is a simple place to start, and yet, not so simple. I’m here to remind all of us that we need to say this not once, but over and over and over. We will be changing or saving a life one day. That is what statistics tell us right now. It’s that important.
What we do next is entirely up to us. If we can’t lead an effort, then we can support one. If we can’t work in the field, then we can help raise awareness simply by using our own social media to help spread the word. And, if we can’t bring a crowd together to rally, we must know today that adding our own single voice to that crowd will be enough to raise the volume on a conversation that desperately needs to happen on a daily basis. If I can be thanked publicly for hosting a party that I did not host, then I can be helped publicly for hosting an effort that I am hosting. Please pick up the following paragraph and post it on your social media today – and ask everyone you know to do the same. It only takes one voice to make a difference. It only took one parent to thank the wrong person today and here I am telling the world about it.
———————————— PICK IT UP, POST IT, PASS IT ON————————————
Every child has the right to grow up in a world that feels predictable and live in a home that feels safe. Every year ten million children are exposed to domestic abuse and violence. Every day 20,000 calls are placed to domestic abuse helplines. Please add your voice to the conversation today and let’s change tomorrow for the sake of all of our children. For more information visit: www.thesoda-pop.com #NotInOurHomes #TomorrowIsTooLate Home Should be a Safe Place for Everyone™
If you are a victim of domestic abuse or domestic violence or want further information PLEASE visit www.TheSoda-Pop.com or call THE NATIONAL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE HOTLINE at 1-800-799-7233 or visit http://www.thehotline.org for more information, help, and to make a plan for your safety.
Home Should be a Safe Place for Everyone™
Susan Sparks is a twenty-year victim and six-year survivor of domestic abuse (SODA™). Her reporting has been seen on national network news and her writing has been featured on national media. As Susan Sparks, she is an Expert on YourTango.com and has been featured on The National Domestic Violence Hotline (thehotline.org). She has written a book about her experiences with domestic abuse, Sparks in Love, which she hopes will serve as both an educational and cautionary tale to everyone who reads it. She is the Principal of four enterprises, and one charity, all dedicated to helping people avoid, understand, and prevent domestic abuse. Susan is currently working on three other books to further the cause and hopes to bring Sparks in Love to television in 2019.