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Domestic Violence Week Uses Storytelling to Inspire Healing

The Spectator (Seattle University, Seattle, WA) , February 22, 2012

Summary:

Last week was the second annual Domestic Violence Awareness Week at Seattle University. In spreading awareness on survival and healing, several speakers, including the Thrivers Action Group, or TAG, came to share their stories and spread social awareness.

According to TAG member Trese Todd, domestic violence victims are not always easy to help. On average, victims will return home to their abuser seven times before seeking help.

"They're not going to tell you, it's not written on their forehead, but they've been hurt," said Todd.

The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence reported that one in every four women are victims of domestic violence in their lifetime.

The Seattle U Society of Feminists (SoF) has been working to spread awareness of that violence. This is the society's second year hosting a Domestic Violence Awareness Week and they plan to continue to host workshops on consent and healthy relationship skills.

The TAG members are using their personal stories of survival in order to educate the community about being advocates for victims of domestic violence.

"This is what happens to victims. ... They don't want to tell their friends and their family what happens behind closed doors," said Nancy Slater, who was in an abusive relationship and it took being nearly choked to death to make her leave.

"In a new marriage, I was eager to please," she said. "I didn't want to admit that I had made a mistake."

Slater isn't alone. Most victims of domestic violence never report it to the police.

Even once Slater left, she didn't report her abuser to the police and he continued to stalk her for months. For many, the fear of being found is comparable to the pain of being at home.

"I totally identify with victims who stay where they are," Slater said. "Because of the terror of the unknown."

"Storytelling is healing," Slater said after sharing her experiences of domestic abuse. "I didn't deserve to be hurt. No one does. I don't care what they did."

Not only is storytelling helping these women, but it is helping the communities with whom they share their stories.

"It is my belief that the work these women are doing out in the community is vital to the growth and strength of the domestic violence [awareness] movement. Their presence is so powerful, and their ability to narrate their lives and tell a story of a journey through a life that most people cannot imagine without first hand knowledge is incredible," said Sarah Sorenson, the volunteer coordinator at the Seattle Police Department Victim Support Team in the TAG pamphlet.

Subjects Covered: healing


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