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Domestic Violence and the Art of Story Telling, by Vivian Winters, LISW-S, LICDC

In life we can be defined by our many roles, such as a parent, spouse, employee and so many more. For me one of those roles includes being the mother of a domestic violence survivor. As I write this blog, it is important for me to be transparent as I believe that healing comes through transparency and honesty. With that being said, I struggle with verbalizing my role of being a mother of a domestic violence survivor. (Please know that she knows this and that I don’t share anything with you that we haven’t discussed or spoke about in training.)

You might ask why I struggle with this role, so let me explain. I thought I had provided my daughters with the resources they needed to ensure they were in healthy relationships; but as many of you know, sometimes we don’t utilize our resources until after the fact. Throughout this blog I will share with you resources for those who might be engaged in unhealthy relationships, a little of my story and how secondary trauma can impact a family. Most of all my goal is to provide you with hope!

Domestic Violence (also referred to as intimate partner violence (IPV), dating abuse, or relationship abuse) can be defined as a pattern of behaviors used by one partner to maintain power and control over another partner in an intimate relationship. Domestic violence doesn’t discriminate. People of any race, age, gender, sexuality, religion, education level, or economic status can be a victim — or perpetrator — of domestic violence. That includes behaviors that physically harm, intimidate, manipulate or control a partner, or otherwise force them to behave in ways they don’t want to, including through physical violence, threats, emotional abuse, or financial control.

Please know that I have had the opportunity of walking through the journey of unhealthy relationships with many people. When it came to my own daughter, she hid it so well that I knew something was happening, but, I didn’t know what. So, let’s take a minute and talk about secondary trauma. Secondary trauma results when a person hears or experiences second-hand the trauma that another has experienced. Many professionals know that it’s symptoms can mimic Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I struggle with the secrecy and how she let her abuser take advantage of our family.

Most communities have Domestic Violence Shelters and here in Richland County we have a wonderful shelter who provides many services to those who are in a DV situation. In addition, there is a national hotline 1.800.799.7233 (SAFE). When my daughter shares her story, she shares that the first time she realized she was not alone was when she attended the groups at the DV Shelter. We have been blessed with many kind and beautiful souls who have walked with us through this journey. To be honest it was those kind and beautiful souls who helped us see that HOPE was possible, even in the middle of the storm.

I have cried a million tears, a million times in the past 7 years and have no doubt I will cry a million more. She had the opportunity to tell us, she had the opportunity to not allow our grandson and her to become a statistic, she had choices but chose to remain silent. As a family we have changed, we don’t trust so easily, we are a bit more cautious about who we invite in to our inner circle but we continue to love and offer grace. With grace, I have forgiven my daughter.

Together as a family we have transitioned from victims to survivors. Some of our lesson’s learned have been: we can’t do it alone, we have to be transparent and we have toreach out when needed. The resources are there. If you can’t tell your family and friends then find a professional or someone in a helping profession to share your story with. I encourage you to find your safe place to tell your story, as healing takes place as we begin to share our story.

For me, I ground myself in the fact that I know that in life, there are some things that we might never get over. Sometimes that best we can do is just get through. But that’s okay, there is still a lot of beauty to find on the other side. Stay lifted and know that Hope 419 is here to help you find the beauty on the other side.

Domestic Violence Resources

The National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE)

National Dating Abuse Helpline 1-866-331-9474

National Child Abuse Hotline/Childhelp 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453)

National Sexual Assault Hotline 1-800-656-4673 (HOPE)

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255 (TALK)

National Center for Victims of Crime 1-202-467-8700

National Human Trafficking Resource Center/Polaris Project Call: 1-888-373-7888 | Text: HELP to BeFree (233733)

National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights 1-510-465-1984

National Coalition for the Homeless 1-202-737-6444

National Resource Center on Domestic Violence 1-800-537-2238 and

Futures Without Violence: The National Health Resource Center on Domestic Violence 1-888-792-2873

National Center on Domestic Violence, Trauma & Mental Health 1-312-726-7020 ext. 2011

National Runaway Safeline 1-800-RUNAWAY or 1-800-786-2929


Childhelp USA/National Child Abuse Hotline 1-800-422-4453

Children’s Defense Fund 202-628-8787

Child Welfare League of America 202-638-2952

National Council on Juvenile and Family Court Judges Child Protection and Custody/Resource Center on Domestic Violence 1-800-527-3233


Love is respect Hotline: 1-866-331-9474

Break the Cycle 202-824-0707


Domestic Violence Initiative (303) 839-5510/ (877) 839-5510

Deaf Abused Women’s Network (DAWN) Email: VP: 202-559-5366


Women of Color Network 1-800-537-2238

INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence


Casa de Esperanza Linea de crisis 24-horas/24-hour crisis line 1-651-772-1611

National Latin@ Network for Healthy Families and Communities 1-651-646-5553


The National Immigrant Women's Advocacy Project (202) 274-4457


National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center 855-649-7299


Asian and Pacific Islander Institute on Domestic Violence 1-415-954-9988

Committee Against Anti-Asian Violence (CAAAV) 1-212- 473-6485

Manavi 1-732-435-1414


The Black Church and Domestic Violence Institute 1-770-909-0715


The Audre Lorde Project 1-178-596-0342

LAMBDA GLBT Community Services 1-206-350-4283

National Gay and Lesbian Task Force 1-202-393-5177

Northwest Network of Bisexual, Trans, Lesbian & Gay Survivors of Abuse 1-206-568-7777

Trans Lifeline 877-565-8860


National Clearinghouse on Abuse in Later Life 1-608-255-0539

National Center for Elder Abuse 1-855-500-3537


National Organization for Men Against Sexism (NOMAS) 1-720-466-3882

A Call to Men 1-917-922-6738

Men Stopping Violence 1-866-717-9317


Battered Women’s Justice Project 1-800-903-0111

Legal Momentum 1-212-925-6635

National Clearinghouse for the Defense of Battered Women 1-800-903-0111 x 3

Legal Network for Gender Equity

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