Guest Blog From Our Director of Marketing & Development, Randi Skinner.
I am a childhood victim of domestic violence. Healing from the wounds inflicted on me as a child is a process. Volunteering and ultimately working for a sexual and domestic violence agency has provided a pretty cool platform for what I like to call “ah-ha moments”. I wanted to take a minute and provide a little insight into the impact Friends of the Family has for victims by sharing a piece of my own journey to a thriving adult survivor.
I first started volunteering with Denton County Friends of the Family in 2006 as a student at the University of North Texas (Go Mean Green!). I was a volunteer with the Education, Awareness and Prevention department. The community education team provides curriculum based, age appropriate, education programs for grades K-12 in every school district in the County. Our Education, Awareness and Prevention team also educates businesses, universities and organizations throughout Denton County. In fact, in 2017 alone this crew educated 28,956 community members. Wow! Right? So, as you can imagine as a college student I was thrilled to have the opportunity to work with a team doing pretty big things by bringing awareness across the County and ultimately helping victims have a voice.
When I first started volunteering with Friends of the Family I helped provide educational programs for middle school and high school age kids. I can recall feeling overjoyed, empowered and validated as an adult who is a childhood survivor of domestic violence. I remember thinking “I wish I had learned this or someone had explained this concept of domestic violence and unhealthy relationships to me when I was in middle school”. Having a better understanding of power and control, healthy boundaries, what a healthy relationship really looks like, what abuse is, the different types of abuse and everything else the curriculum covers would have been extremely valuable to me as a child who was experiencing abuse.
This type of information would have helped me process my experiences and identify that what had felt “normal” my entire life was in fact not normal. It had a name- it was abuse.
The volunteer work with the Education, Awareness and Prevention team at Friends of the Family lit my passion for education and prevention work. It allowed me to see first-hand how education programs, like those Friends of the Family provides, truly are the key to prevention and awareness efforts. So much may seem “normal” as a child or teen, especially when it’s your parents or loved ones who are hurting you. You don’t know that it should look different because the abuse is “your normal”. Learning the curriculum and then sharing it with teens was an AMAZING part of my healing and for that I am grateful.
So, now as the Director of Marketing & Development at Friends of the Family I get to help ensure our community knows about all the resources our team at Friends of the Family provides for victims of sexual and domestic violence. The efforts of our Education, Awareness and Prevention team are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to all of the big things happening for survivors/victims.
I invite you to be a part of standing for the 1 in 4 women who are victims of domestic violence and the 1 in 3 adolescents who experience violence from a dating partner. YOU are what makes the difference.
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