Last night I had the privilege of speaking to 200 people on behalf of The Family Justice Center-Washington County We were there for the annual Denim & Diamonds fundraiser and I was terrified. I have just recently started speaking about my story of abuse and it doesn’t seem to get any easier. I want to thank Toni Loch, the Executive Director of FJC and Judy Willey, Board President, who have been so incredibly supportive of me speaking out. If you are interested, there are two videos below with bits of my journey.
In this first talk, I said there are two things you should say to survivors that are so very important. However, I pulled the wrong bullet point (nerves!) when I was speaking. Ha. So for those of you wondering, there are actually three points and these are:
- I believe you. (no matter how crazy their story must seem. Victims/Survivors often have years of family members and friends who feel they might be exaggerating).
- This is not your fault. (Victims/Survivors also spend much of their time being blamed for the abuse. “If you hadn’t done this, I wouldn’t have responded that way”. We also spend time hearing well-meaning people tell us that perhaps couples counseling would be of help). Why I don’t recommend couples counseling in cases of abuse.
- You are not alone. Please let me help you.
What you didn’t see:
After I spoke and headed off the stage, the emcee stopped me and gave me a warm embrace. And then he asked the audience to all say together, “Julie, we believe you” and “Julie, you are not alone.” WOW! I was floored! This was a wonderful healing moment that I wish for each of you as well.
Earlier in the week, we filmed a promo video. Although much of my story didn’t make it onto this one (we filmed for 30 minutes, and about 30 seconds made the cut-about standard-I hear), I hope that it will both help people come forward to report and received help for abuse, as well as raise needed funds for The Family Justice Center, Washington County.
Thanks for watching!