Domestic violence and financial abuse ... It's such a personal topic, I don't even know where to begin. I can't say that I've been a victim of domestic violence on a physical level nor has anyone tried to purposely ruin me financially. But I will say that I was emotionally impacted by these forms of abuse when I was child, and in many ways it has shaped who I am today. At a young age, I said I would never be with a man who did not value me, and I've stayed true to that statement. But that outlook has had its pros and cons. My threshold for what I see as an authentic, loving relationship has fallen into the category high expectations; therefore, my tolerance for many things pretty much falls short. Hey, I can admit that about myself. I really do not like my life complicated. It's too short and precious to be in an unhappy situation. However, I refuse to let that situation define me or continue to victimize me by living in my day to day thoughts. It made me a stronger person and has no power over me. The domestic violence I did experience became a story of triumph. It was the reason why education was pushed on me along with the belief that I can be anything I wanted. I was raised to pursue what made me happy, and that was art. It was my outlet, especially when I witnessed situations that scared me. I saw that through education, knowledge and belief in oneself anything is possible. I also saw that it is not easy to just get out of those situations, and that it takes a tremendous amount of support. That is where we all come in. One of our current campaigns is with the Allstate Foundation's initiative called Purple Purse. Through this program I learned that domestic violence affects 1 in 4 women in her lifetime, which is more than breast, ovarian and lung cancer combined, and that most people don’t associate financial abuse with domestic violence but it’s the #1 why the victim stays. I totally get how this could happen and I am fortunate to have had loving family members who were always supportive.
When I look back at those years, I don't feel anger or shame. I feel proud that we all came so far from a place of darkness, and that we were able to harness that experience into creating a life with purpose. I eventually pursued art and worked with children from at-risk communities who had a passion for the arts and my mother (because it was obvious this post was about her) became a Psychologist. She too worked with at-risk families and children. It was quite a long road, but we made it.
I would love for you to join us today at 5pm PT/8pm ET as we discuss domestic violence online with Purple Purse. Many of us have stories to share ... And if our conversation reaches at least one person who needs help, we've done our job.