Joan’s Donor & Survivor Story

1. How did you first hear about our organization? A friend of mine worked at Verde Valley Sanctuary (VVS), maybe ten years ago.

2. What made you decide to give your first gift? VVS’s mission strikes a chord in my heart as I was once in an abusive relationship, and I am aware of the difficulties. Domestic violence is not something anyone can navigate on their own.

3. Why do you enjoy giving to this organization? I know that a woman will receive help to improve her situation. I know that the efforts of your shelter are very needed and that VVS is doing a great job.

4. What do you hope to accomplish through your philanthropy? I hope that the public can be aware of these “crimes of humanity” and help can be given with a final end to domestic violence.

5. If you were talking to someone else about giving to our organization, what would you tell them? Your help to VVS is one of the most important efforts to improve and enhance the life of our community. Even the awareness of the need for help offers awareness of this problem and its solutions.

6. What do you think is important for people to know about your personal survivor story? Silence of abuse makes matters worse, whether you are a victim or a friend. My abuse lasted seven years, and it was kept quiet because I was programmed as a child to disregard it. For four years after my “escape,” my life was a shipwreck. It’s not an easy recovery; the effects of this trauma are a challenge to heal, yet well worth the journey.

7. How has this experience affected you? My recovery was a miracle which gave way to a fabulous life. I’ve become a better person; my healing journey has given me a new reality of life as a loving, caring, helpful presence that everyone enjoys.

8. What services/resources/people helped you in your recovery? I faked the need to visit friends in New York City with the hopes of revitalizing my career in art. Being away from him and eventually I opened up to a thoughtful friend who gave me strength and made me realize I was a good person and deserved a good life. Nature was my cure in the long run. It actually called me, made me open up, breathe in a new life, and appreciate the world for what it gave me.

0.What suggestions do you have to make it safer for victim-survivors to come forward? Confide in a friend. Find someone who will listen. Seek help in terms of shelter and professional know-how in this field. Seek out VVS.

11.What is different today regarding domestic violence than it was 40 years ago? Domestic violence is believed when someone tells their story. There are shelters and organizations like VVS which are created to help in positive ways.

12.Is there anything else you would like to share? Never believe that you made this happen; that he can’t help himself; he was abused as a kid; or that it was just a little mistake. Always seek help from organizations like VVS, police, a therapist, thoughtful friends who believe you and will help you take steps to improve your situation.

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