October 1st marked the first day of the observance of Domestic Violence Awareness Month when we at WOH will be involved in leading the community in all kinds of activities and events that bring attention to the problem of domestic violence and how it impacts our community. Thursday evening, October 3rd, I participated in our 7th annual Fashion Show to kick off the month's awareness campaign. It was a free event for the community and a way for us to get people thinking and talking about domestic violence. Several of our local retailers participated along with students and faculty from the Oklahoma State University Department of Design, Housing and Merchandising.
We were told not to be surprised if someone came to us during the month and shared their story of how domestic violence impacted them. Today it happened to me; I received a private message from a friend from high school who was moved to tell me her story. She gave me permission to share it because she wants people to know that it doesn't have to destroy your life, that there is hope and healing.
She told me of how her step dad would beat her, her mother, and her sisters on a regular basis and
Her mother later divorced him after she and her sisters were adults. She told me that this experience damaged her, but that she refused to let it defeat her. She is a strong and determined woman who made a career for herself in the nursing field where she is a compassionate caretaker who helps sick people heal. She was also able to break the cycle of violence by choosing a kind and caring mate for herself, a man who loves, respects, and values her for the beautiful woman she is. All of this was going on in my friend's life while we were in school together and I never knew. It was her dirty little secret.
I'm so grateful that my friend shared her story with me and that she gave me permission to tell it. These stories need to be told so that people will know that this problem is real and it's in their
It's time to out the dirty little secret so the healing can begin.