Author: Timothy Boylan
This isn’t going to be typical Buffalo Rising material, but we’ve been so encouraged by Buffalo’s spirit: it is her open, loving and helpful community that brought us here, and we are sure will help us be a catalyst for growth.
Last week my wife and I were eating breakfast at Mythos, and she was just staring out the window, but not seeing the street outside. “What is it?” I asked. “I have to do something. I don’t know what it is, but SOMETHING”, she said. She, a survivor of domestic violence, and after a month long reminder of her traumatizing past during October’s Domestic Violence Awareness Month, spoke about how it truly bothers her that most of the campaigns out there, whilst offering all the right information to get help, are not as good at providing the courage to do so. She told me about how she used to see those images, and it just reminded her how trapped she felt, but not once did it give her the confidence in herself to be able to actually pick up the phone and call. My wife is not one to go about things in a small way; that’s one of the many things I love about her. So, in her typical fashion, here is her “SOMETHING”, and I am backing her up 100%:
The Global Love Our Women Campaign
This campaign is an effort to share strength with those who don’t yet realize their own. We aren’t focusing on the violence or the victimhood of the situation. We are all keenly aware of the horrors of Domestic Violence or Intimate Partner Violence. We are not trying to rally support to change laws or get involved with the like. Our focus is on the victims by encouraging those struggling through on a daily basis, and supporting those who are traveling the path of recovery that follows finally breaking free.
To quote my wife, we want them to know that: “You are a strong person, even if you fail to see it in yourself; you have the courage to set yourself free; you are valuable. You can make that ONE phone call to a local/national abuse hotline and they will help you find your wings on your journey to find YOUR voice. They will give you the insight and be able to teach you to find the path in which you seek to free yourself from the shackles of the life that has entrapped you. This can mean counseling for all parties, or safe haven to escape to, depending on your situation. The help is there.
I am also calling out to all survivors to help me share our strength with like ones. I believe whole souled that my pain has been re-designed for other victims to gain. Telling your story and sharing your experience with others gives them the opportunity to empower and free themselves. It allows our adversities to turn into triumphs.”
Yes, she named this “The Global Love Our Women Campaign”, but for us, this is about ALL victims. Our goal is to provide encouragement to ANYONE who is in an abusive situation to make that one call that will change their lives for the better. So remember that men and children are victims of DV/IPV too, and it is so very important to let men know that just because it happened doesn’t mean they aren’t strong – and to let children know that they, too, are good, strong and worthy of a life that’s joyful and encouraging!
To that end, we’ve created an image that we ask people to take a picture of themselves with, or share the image alone, and attach the statement from our Facebook or Instagram pages, or just one of the hashtags you read above.
Post it to our page, your page, wherever you (after much discerning) think would be helpful for others. We also ask that you share the Facebook page with people you know who would support this mission and would do the same. Someone facing this struggle, unbeknownst to you, could see and it could be the catalyst for change in his or her life.
Since starting her page one week ago, other victims of DV or IPV have been sharing their stories with Sue-Jolie, which she will post (edited only for legal and anonymity’s sake and with their permission, of course), to serve as inspiration and growth for those who have not come as far on their journey from breaking free from this tremendous threat to their safety and well-being.
She welcomes anyone who wants to reach out to her just to talk or to share. IMPORTANT: Please do not post any of our pages, stories, photos or hash-tags directly to the walls of those you know are currently in this situation. We must be sensitive to their circumstances and cautious for their safety. We want to encourage people, not endanger them. Our Facebook page also contains information leading to organizations like The National Domestic Violence Hotline and other important contacts, so it is right there, and easily accessible. We will be adding more important numbers and resources as we progress.
The image we’ve chosen? The bird, to represent freedom, lifting up and moving on – the color purple, is not only “the color” chosen for National Domestic Violence Awareness, but has long represented women – and royalty, you should be treated as such. I know that my daughters are my princesses, and my wife is my queen. Every woman has the right to feel that way about herself, too. Every person who is or has been a victim of DV/IPV has already suffered more than anyone should.
Please, Buffalo, help us get the word out that encouragement is only a click away. Thank you!