As I prepare for the upcoming conference at SDSU this coming Saturday I spend some time reflecting on my journey, and which pieces of it I’ll choose to share with the young adults I’ll be speaking to, with the intention of creating opportunities for conversation and learning. In doing so I’m reminded of the many chats I had with friends of mine along the way; as I myself was a young adult going through the horror of living in an abusive relationship. I clearly remember receiving input such as, I’d never stay in a relationship like yours, and why don’t you just leave? What’s wrong with you? I just don’t get it, Jessica.
My hope for each of you, whether present at Saturday’s conference, or reading this from afar, is that we work together to create a shift in our communities surrounding the stigma that exists around relationship violence. Unless you’ve endured a relationship that is abusive it can be almost impossible to understand how or why it happens; however, our responsibility as a society is to provide safe spaces where women young and old can share their truth without judgment.
Please take a moment to ask yourself today: Am I contributing to destroying the myths surrounding who this happens to and why? Do I take the time to share information about what domestic violence truly is and how I’ve been personally affected? Are there times when I overhear people speaking harshly about DV survivors, and what is my response if anything? Do I need more resources or education so that I can be equipped to intervene with confidence?
My intention for Saturday is to create change surrounding the answers to these questions and I pray each of you will find moments to do the same.