Investing in Safety, Hope, Healing, Justice, and Prevention for Victims of Sexual and Domestic Violence.
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I’m a retired RN, with my background of 16 years in Emergency Medicine and owner/partner of a Home Care agency in Oklahoma. In 2009, after retirement, I moved to Denton to be near my two children. I discovered Friends of the Family by donating years of household accumulation to downsize. I was thrilled to find a thrift store, that dedicated 100% of their profits to victims of domestic violence/sexual assault and the staff was so friendly, I decided to learn more about this agency because domestic violence was relevant to my life.
I learned firsthand of the stigma and struggles of victims and survivors of domestic violence through my years of bedside nursing in the ER. Thirty years ago, in many areas, that there was no one to turn to in those terrible times. Police were uneducated in domestic violence & seemingly non-supportive; same for clergy, neighbors and family. Laws did not protect the victims. Society didn't talk about it. I saw their injuries, despair and fear on a regular basis. Even with obvious physical abuse, the victims were many times in denial or accepting blame and unable to face her abuser. In addition, the system didn't encourage it. No one really knew their truths and realities, but we witnessed their physical pain. We all knew there was more, so much more. We were seeking ways to help and hoping for change.
When the first agency in the area opened, they offered a shelter for 2 nights and no formal counseling for the victims or the family. She was safe for a short time and then literally on her own. Most of the time back in her home with her abuser, in a matter of days. She might follow in a doctor's office for her care, but she would describe the "accident" and still, secrets would be kept. In good faith to help, we nurses made a tear off sheet with the shelter's phone number only, given discretely, less there be more harm to her. Other than a phone number, our professional skills, care and compassion, it was all that could be done for the victims of domestic violence.
So, I signed up to volunteer at DCFOF, not fully understanding my reasoning at the time. I didn't really know the complexity of domestic violence; just remembering the women I had served. I found Friends of the Family to be rooted in compassion. Every staff person had smiles and warmth toward me. I knew the victims must be greeted with the same kindness. I thought how wonderful it must be to see a smile and sense of understanding, when you feel so frightened and hopeless. I learned DCFOF is a full service non-profit agency, prepared to support the victims and their families in a caring, compassionate, professional manner and have education/prevention programs to break the cycle. All, at no fees for the victim or family. Truly a blessing, because many are victims of financial control, need jobs, find housing, all while learning to regain their dignity and confidence, with little or no financial support.
It soon became apparent to me that I had become part of this 'hope and healing' community because of my witness to what I seen and heard so many years ago as a ER nurse. I was compelled to do my small part to support DCFOF; this life line. ALL victims of domestic violence and sexual assault deserve the chance for change, many times a chance at saving their lives. I embraced the opportunity to follow my passion by committing to volunteer my time and share compassion for all those women that crossed my path, now in a way that wasn't there before.
I have gained so much through my seven years at Friends of the Family by volunteering in fundraising, supporting Adopt A Family, organizing donations from our community for the families during the holidays and sharing information at public events. I have met many wonderful community members that have generously given to the agency and I honorably serve as a Board Member. It is a sense of fulfillment to help move victims to being a survivor through hope, healing, justice and safety.
Always remembering those of yesterday, thankful for change and working towards a better tomorrow.
If you would like to learn more about our agency or how to get involved reach out and get connected!
Need Help? Call our 24-Hour Crisis Line for anonymous information and advice: 940-382-7273 or 800-572-4031