Domestic violence is a community problem that requires a community effort to address. I'm honored to receive this individual award, but thrilled to look around the room and see a variety of different agencies represented here tonight, along with strong survivors and other friends that came out to show their support.
It takes a million beautiful, brave, strong individuals to stand up, to speak up, to rise up and say that psychological, emotional, physical and sexual violence is not okay.
Six years ago, I was in a very different situation. I was keeping a journal documenting the abuse that was being done to me, because I was just sure that I was going to be murdered. I did not think I would make it out of my situation alive. I wanted to leave law enforcement and the prosecutors some sort of evidence that could hopefully help lead to a murder conviction. I was planning for my inevitable death. Thankfully, that didn't happen. I knew the Devil and lived with him every single day .... and yet somehow I rose up. And I survived.
Refuge House helps people that are in similar situations through providing crisis counseling and support, 24 hour hotline services, emergency shelter, transitional housing.... I will always support their mission and service provision so that people in our community may too see their true strength and potential for a life free from violence.
So thank you, Refuge House, for what you do, everyday. Thank you for letting ME help you and be one of those million voices that say WE WILL NOT TOLERATE VIOLENCE AND ABUSE IN THIS COMMUNITY OR ANYWHERE.