Domestic Violence Awareness Month

The Pledge

“Become Inspired—you never know when someone will become inspired by your courage to make a difference.”

In recognition of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, I would like to honor the amazing life-saving work being done on behalf of women, teens, children and men who are experiencing violence in their relationships. All across the nation domestic violence advocates, volunteers, friends, families, co-workers, and individuals are extending their hearts and hands to help those in extraordinarily dangerous circumstances from someone who claims to love them. I continue to be inspired by the dedication and commitment to end violence in our communities.

image005I am writing this piece to encourage all of you to find your passion and inspiration! To encourage you to use it to keep making a difference in the world. Many are called to make a difference as I am in my daily work but I had help getting here. Her name is Rochelle and she is my sister. Rochelle has been my inspiration working to end violence against women for the last 25 years. Rochelle (pictured second from the left with sisters Chris, Laurie and myself) has overcome many obstacles, an abusive marriage for eight years, which at its most violent she once felt like taking her own life to get free of the situation. She endured economic poverty which had her working three jobs as a result of her husband’s choice to drag her through an extended legal battle and bankruptcy, all the while being a wonderful mother to a young daughter. She is a self confident, smart, amazing woman who has developed into the most perfect monarch. She went through the metamorphosis from victim to survivor to the whole beautiful woman she was and is meant to be. Her triumph over this tragedy continues to be my inspiration when I am tired or feel weary. My most proud moment was when she spoke of her personal story for the first time at the White House reception upon the 10th Anniversary of the National Domestic Violence Hotline. It took courage to leave her desperate situation then and she has pushed through her own challenges to now be courageous in helping other women in shelters and in her workplace to believe in their dreams and to reach their goals. I continue to be grateful for her being alive today to share her story with others and be my muse. I love you Rochelle, and I, like my other sisters, continue our pledge to end violence against women.

If someone inspires you, consider making a donation in their honor

Join me in sharing your story of inspiration

Join our online community working to end violence

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Peace,

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Sheryl Cates
Chief Executive Officer
National Domestic Violence Hotline

19 replies
  1. Rozetta says:

    A horrific childhood of witnessing domestic violence being inflicted upon my mother by my father, 12 years of being abused in numerous foster homes and 2 abusive marriages never darkened my spirits. My mother was murdered by my father when I was 7 years old. The actions of one man destroyed my family, but it didn’t destroy the love that I received from my mother. I have learned that anything in life that doesn’t destroy you will definitely make you stronger. My father beat my mother to death with 2 witnesses standing less than 10 feet away and they did nothing to protect my mother. She was so disfigured that the embalmer had to rebuild her face with clay. I was only 7 years old and the sight of my mother at her funeral shocked me so terribly that I developed a speaking impairment…..all I could do was babble. After I was taken to the orphange, they hired a speech therapist who visited me everyday for a year or more to teach me how to speak again. Not I nor anyone ever envisioned that this little 7 year old girl who couldn’t speak clearly would someday be speaking to thousands of people. I always knew in my heart that I would someday find the answeres I desperately needed regarding my family and my mother’s murder. My quest and my mission began at the age of 54 when my youngest son turned 21. I sold my home, quit my job and left my family in Florida to returned to the place of my birth in Athens, TN to the neighborhood where I lived called Tin Can Holler. The spirit of my mother was calling me home to find the truth and I did. I now know that my destiny is to share my family story with everyone and warn them about the dangers of domestic violence and child abuse. Today I am an advocate speaker against domestic violence and child abuse. I am a spokesperson for CASA and the Holston United Methodist Home for Children in Greeneville, TN. I assist with fundraisers that support programs for the victims of domestic violence and child abuse. My favorite quote is from Martin Luther King, that I end all my speeches with, “The world begins to end the day we become silent about the things that matter”. I beg everyone to get involved….the men need to get involved too as this is not just a women’s issue anymore. It not only takes a village to raise a child, it also takes a village to keep them and their families safe.

    Thank you and God Bless you all,
    Rozetta Mowery, Author and Advocate Speaker Against Domestic Violence and Child Abuse

  2. Jeanette says:

    Thank you for having the courage to share your story. I would like to share my story…

    I am a survivor of domestic captivity. I was a naive 19 year old girl when I was manipulated into the 10 year sadistic and severely abusive relationship, finally running for my life and escaping at 29.

    Today, I am the President and CEO of a technology company. I have written an unbelievable, but true story which chronicles my spiritual and physical battle to escape my 10-year sentence as a domestic prisoner and celebrates my escape and rise through the corporate world achieving national recognition as the president and CEO of a corporation. From Prisoner to President is a shocking, yet inspirational, story of God’s miraculous touch in a seemingly hopeless situation.

    20 years after escaping my prison, I felt compelled to write this story, to inspire, touch and ultimately impact lives.

    I want to encourage anyone who reads this, that there is a chance for a normal life outside of the prison and shame of abuse. I have kept this deep secret of abuse buried and have not shared this in my life today. It is time for me to share my story.

    I have experienced many traumatic events and have not just survived but thrived. I have achieved business success and personal happiness beyond my dreams. I have a burning desire to share my incredible tale with others who may encounter overwhelming circumstances and desperately need to overcome.

    • wendy says:

      hi you have stregth i wish i had i have been with this man 3 years and my mind is messed up completely i moved out the other day when he was gone i miss him but he verbal abuse and away from my family so i want to move on i need help he was in jail for 14yrs for mueder and when i met him he told me about a month later he had killed his ex but i stayed he was real good to me but he just dont know how to talk to a woman because hes used to having woman on the street and not a real woman i wish i can get a job and move on and get him off my mind i need help

      • Betty says:

        Wowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww! What an amazing woman you are! May God continue to strengthen you and uphold you. As I read your story, I felt like getting your number and calling you. You’re such an exceptional woman.

        I would love to contact you and will be honored to interview you for one of my monthly series against DV. My email is xceptionalwoman@publicist.com.

        Thank you and God bless you. You’re one of my (S)HEROES!

      • Betty says:

        Wendy,
        I know it is tough but you can achieve anything you put your mind to do. There are resources around you, call your state’s DV agencies.
        Trust me, if you can dream it and have the will to achieve it, you can achieve your goals, become a better person and live a violence free, fulfilled life.
        You can contact me if you need any assistance. YES YOU CAN WENDY!

  3. hotlineadmin_MH says:

    This post has been moved from another comment section on the NDVH website to this forum. Identifying information has been removed.

    I need help . My two children are being abused by my ex husband. He abused me for years he broke my hands ,jaw he has strlker me. I have SLE lupus. This summer I found out he was sexal abusing them and hurting them. He got away with his abuse by telling people that I have bi polar I do not. I love my children. I have a great husband now he is in the Army and two children by him. They ask everyday where are they. I had a judge tell me I have to give my ex 10,000 to see my children. Everyone here in Kansas beleives my children . We don’t understand how he can keep getting away. I just want to hold them one more time and tell I’m sorry I told them to tell the truth and it cost all my family.Can you help us.

    • Jennifer says:

      Honestly I am going through something very similar. I have a daughter that the state pulled from her father after fighting for a year to get her from him. They pulled her because when she was five he raped her. They had proof and they gave my little girl to his mother who died less then 5 months later now he has custody of her. Nothing i can do thus far has helped me. He told everyone that I was bi Polar also turns out I have PTSD and anxiety disorders not BI Polar. But CPS wouldn’t listen at all. THey never charged him at all. Further more I am labeled as a bad parent for staying that long in an abusive relationship by CPS. It’s time to change the way they label mothers in the system. My prayers go out to you//
      god bless you

      • Veronica Davila says:

        I agree as victims we are not only victimized by our spouces but also by the system, its not right. It’s almost like a lot of the times in our situations the sysytem doesnt see the truth until long after he has seriously harmed us or killed us even.

        • Jennifer Bergerson says:

          What makes it worse is with all this labeling CPS has done they failed to tell the judge one tittle I do carry. That is Texas Non-commisioned security officer I have held that tittle for over 6 years. CPS told me that a mulitple felon was a better parent than an security officer because my job is dangerous.

          Very few People have had to ever deal with CPS and rarely does anyone have to deal with them more than once, Well they have been in my life since I was born. I am native american, My real mother was an alcoholic and when CPS investigated me they accused me of everything my real mother was accused of, right after My abusive ex filled their minds with all kinds of twisted versions of the truth. I am labeled as an alcoholic when I am allergic to alcohol.
          Honestly sooner or later this country is going to have to revamp the way they deal with these situations or their will be alot more tragedies happen.

  4. Jennifer says:

    My name is Jennifer Bergerson I am a survivor and I wrote a Poem about domestic violence that I wish to share with all of you. The first poem is called ” A Dozen Roses”

    A Dozen Roses

    By Jennifer Bergerson

    Rose number one is for the angry hurtful words he always says that he claims to have not meant.

    Rose number two is for the two reasons why she attempts to stay and forgive him;
    their son and their daughter for they need their father.

    Rose number three is for the three things she uses to attempt to hide the shameful bruises.
    heavy make up dark sunglasses and long sleeve blouses.

    Rose number four is for all the times he said he felt so sorry for hurting her and continued to hit her and say demeaning things.

    Rose number five is for the fear and dread that consumes her daily life… ….
    That makes her feel so scared to stay but keeps her with him.

    Rose number six is for the countless times she has called the police just to drop the charges for she is
    scared of his angry fists and that he may beat her again.

    Rose number seven is for the several times that her family and her friends have known
    what he does to her but choose not to step in for it is not their business.

    Rose number eight is for the several times she has gone to the emergency room.
    where the staff has known what really caused her physical injuries but choose not
    to help protect her and her children.

    Rose number nine is for the words that echo through her mind “ Till Death Do We part”
    and how many times she has wondered how true that vow really is, wondering if her husband was going to kill her… … …

    Rose number ten is for countless affairs he has that she knows about that but dares not to say anything
    about for she fears for her life.

    Rose number eleven is for the nurses and doctors that are working to save her life, for he beat her so bad that she had been rushed to the emergency room…..

    Rose number twelve he just laid upon her casket where at 34 she will lay forever… …

    A dozen roses,

    a dozen wilted black roses … …. ….

    another woman dies… …. …

    But he gave her a dozen roses.

    My soon to be ex husband tried all the tricks then he started to hit me. What felt worse is that I am a security officer. Until one day he told me that I was nothing more than a Piece of crap to him. I walked out and haven’t been back since. I wrote this poem about a sign I saw in a dr office. It said ” For every rose in a dozen another woman dies at the hands of her abuser.”
    I pray and hope it helps
    and god bless you all.
    Jennifer Dell Bergerson

    • Betty Adex says:

      Wow Jennifer, you’re such a great writer. May God continue to enrich you and bless each day to become better days for you.

      I LOVE THIS POEM AND THE SECOND ONE SO MUCH. WOW! YOU NEED THEM PUBLISHED!!

      Have a blissful weekend.

      • Jennifer Bergerson says:

        Thank you very much. I have my own self published Poetry book at createspace.com. I am honored that you love the poems, but I am a vessel by which god chose to send his message. I have tried for years to put these out there but some how always held back because of the worlds view on a battered wife. Until one day a friend was at my house and read them She cried after reading ” dozen roses” and that is when I started to make the attempt to get them published.

        god bless you all
        Psalms 91:11
        Jennifer Bergerson

  5. Jennifer says:

    Here is my second poem It is called
    ” The Lady Without a Face”
    By Jennifer Bergerson

    Her story, ghastly as it may be.
    She tells for all to see.
    The price ye shall pay.
    Whence a man wishes to take your life away.

    Upon love’s Bridled wings she did soar.
    Until one day he did come.
    A bullet with her name written upon.
    A failed attempt to end her life he did make.

    Whence she did become,
    the lady with out a face.
    Her story she does tell with no shame.
    Lives she attempts to save.
    Never for the fame.

    She stood with conviction.
    Upon the courts rendition.
    Telling her horrific nightmare.
    Never did she turn from his stare.

    For whence he attempted to end her life.
    He insured his place in hell’s fires.
    PSalms 91:11

  6. Veronica Davila says:

    When I was 16 I met a 21 year old man in an aol chat room. He befriended me and we developed an online friendship which soon led to sexually explicit conversations. After a few months of constant online chatting we began a verbal long distance relationship that lasted up until I was 18 years old. During the coarse of the few short years he had persieved himself as somewhat of a savior. He said all the right words and did everything possible to make me feel loved and cared for and it worked. As a nieve 16 year old, he played on my every emotion and manipulated my every thought. After 2 1/2 years of promising to save me from what he called a troubled home life he eventually convinced me to move to his hometown with him and begin a life together as his wife. Sadly at 18 and im complete love, I fell for it and packed my belongings and moved to his hometown with him. all the while following his every instructions of not involving my family in this decision and not saying a word about our plans for me to pick up and leave after graduation. So I kept my mouth shut and after graduation I packed up and took of without saying a word to anyone. Two days after arriving to my new home is when I soon met the demon hidden within all those ” I loves you’s and promises”. This is when I discovered that I had made a horrible horrible mistake that I would live out to this very day. The second day into my new life with my ” boyfriend ” of 21/2 years was the day that a man would ever strike me. And it didn’ end there the abuse continued day after day week after week. It started off as physical abuse and morphed into emotional and then mental and then a nasty violent combination of all three. He had successfully alienated me from my frinds and family. He has turned my family against me and the worst of all he had secluded me in a city where I knew no one and had no choice but to rely on him. He constantly reminded me of how my family didn’nt care and how they didnt want anything to do with me and how he was now all I had. How he was the only one that cared and i I ever left I would have no where to go and no one to rely one, how I would be all alone in the world. After months of having this message washed into my brain I soon began to believe it. So when he told me he wanted a baby I agreed because after all I felt I had no choice but to comply. At this point I was so stricken with the fear of being alone and homeless that it seemed easier to give him what he wanted and figure out a way to cope late. Three months into our life together I became pregnant and soon realized that I was now really trapped. Suddenly being alone and homeless didnt seem like a bad idea. The abuse at this point became more frequent and more intense. I wasn’t allowed to work, I wasn’t allowed to have money in my possession. I couldn’t leave the house unattended and there was absolutely no way I was allowed to be in contact with anyone other than his family. Very rarely was I able to contact my family and what little friends I had left. I wsn’t even allowed to visit with my family unless he consented to it which wasnt very often. After many attempts to escape my life with him He always managed tp persuade me to come back. After of course he would drive a wedge between me and my family and turn us against each other. In around March of 2006 I finally got up the nerve to call the police and report the abuse. I filed a report and agreed to file charges against him for assaulting me during a heated arguement which took place in front of my 9 month old son. At this point I arranged for a ride back to my hometown and my son and I left that very night. And as always he begged and pleaded for us to come back home. He said all of his usual im sorrys and I love yous and even agreed to seek help for his anger and after a few weeks I gave in and went back. To only be forced into dropping the assault charges and reaquainted with the usual daily dose of insults and violence. So I went into what I now realize was servival mode. I played into his usual mind games and demands and waited for the perfect oppourtunity to run for the door and never look back. A few months later that oppourtunity arose in the form of a family gathering for my little brothers babyshower. I faught and argued with him to allow me to attend and after and week of pleadeing and walking on egg shells he finally consented but with strings attached. I would be allowed to participate unattended for days. He would pack mine and the baby’s bags , carefully packing just enough clothes and formula for three days, and he would call me at my mothers house at random times to ensure that I was only there and no where else and when the three days were up he would be there to bring our son and I back home. I however had other plans. I agreed to his terms and held my breath while I walked out that house for the very last time. Bags in my hands and baby on my hip I held my breath with my heart racing and sweat beading down my face, I left my peered in the reerview mirror the whole drive back to my hometown,a place I hadn’t seen in two years. after arriving into the safety of a full house of close family and friends I took a deep breath and cried tears of relief and joy. For the first time in a long time I felt safe, I felt free and most of all I felt hope. That hope and freedom would soon come to an end the moment my boyfriend and abuser would learn of my plans to not go back to Dallas. That was 3 years ago and since then we have gone through a rigerious year of a nasty and expensive custody battle which he manipulated, threatened and paided his way right to the top. After running out of financial resources and the funds to continue a interstate custody battle, I finally gave in once again to his demands. After being drug through the mud and bashed by not only my ex boyfriend but by his attourney as well, he made it very clear that I once again had no choice but to comply with his demands. After all our custody battled which had began in the best interest of the child and ended i the best interest of who had the most money, was no longer a battle I could continue to fight. I was out of money and financial resources, the stress of the non stop financial burden and stress had created a rift between my family and I. We were tapped out and stressed out to the max, I felt no other choice but to throw in the white towel and put a stop to this nightmare before things got any worse. I withdrew my claim and agreed to the terms of a court order his lawyer drew up and prayed for the best. Neatless to say after 3 1//2 years of seperation my ex boyfriend still finds a way to abuse my not only mentally and emotionally but physically as well. He constantly threatens to take my son away from me and has even opted to brainwashing my son into not wanting to be with me. He tells me that my three year old hates me and that I’m a no good mother and my son is better off living with him in another city. I have since then moved on and am currently engaged and have just given birth to my seconf son but no matter how hard I try to move on and regain ahol of my life I can’t. My ex boyfriend still finds a way to control me through our three year old. I can’t deal with the constant threats and the pain of hearing my ex tell my son to hate me. I can’t deal with the constant and continued abuse. He since then as become more careful about what he does how he does it. He knows now hoe not to get caught and the abuse is getting worse and worse with everyday that goes by. He has even taken my son from me and is refusing to allow me access and contact with my toddler. The police wont interfere until he has assaulted me on 2 differnt occasions within a 6 month period, I have had no luck seeking out free legal help and I can’t afford the financial strain of another interstate custody battle. I can no longer deal with the abuse, I don’t know what to do. I have been failed not only by my family which have since distanced themselves from me, but by the courts and the police department. How much further does this have to continue until he faces the consequences of his actions? How much further does the violence and abuse have to escalate before someone steps in and puts a stop to it. How much more does he have to hurt me and my son ( mentally) before I either lose completely or some how gain control of the situation and but i to a long over due end. I need help, please can some one help me? I fear that either this is going to continue until he has either killed mer or seriously injured me or he is just going to up and leave to his native country of Mexico with my son and never return. Either way I will never see my precious first born again. If there is anyone out there that can help in even the smallest way PLEASE I beg you please help. Iknw nothing else to do. I don’t know where to even begin anymore. I just know that I have two beautiful little boys that need their mother and if this goes any further they might not have that.

    • Emma - Jane says:

      Dear Veronica,
      I am praying for you. Jesus loves you and your children. Ask God for help Veronica. When there is seemingly no place left to turn, ask God to make a away for you. Ask God to carry you through this nightmare and protect your precious son’s mind.
      Please make contact with a local Church you can feel comfortable at. I truly wish you all the best, God Bless You.
      p.s. I am in England and have a 2 year old daughter.
      p.p.s. keep searching on the internet you will find support. And I feel strongly that legal help will be made available, in some form by a Christian. I have prayed for you and that is what I feel in my heart.
      Keep praying for protection and Justice, God loves you Veronica Davila!

      • Betty says:

        Yes Emma-Jane, you took all the words right out of my mouth. God bless you two. ,y prayers are with you.

    • Jennifer says:

      I feel for you very much! but my first recomendation is to call the local sherrif’s dept. and see if there is a battered women’s shelter they can escort you too. and stay strong you will over come this too.

  7. marquerita says:

    I lived through 20 years of abuse by my husband I married at 19 and the abuse began right away it took 20 years before i walked out ,I suffered broken bones black eyes knocked out several times hit by the car beat with tires kicked with steal toe boots ,degraded all the time my spirt was broken I lost all my friends family was no help ,I lost my father at 13 and my mother at19 one of the big reasons I married so young than I realized I had noone to turn to so I stayed I raised 4 sons and it has afeected each of them differently .i left after he hit me in front of my grand babies I refuse to allow another generation see what I was put through people never understood my fear of him and thought I must like living like that truth he used my sons to hold me in the end it was my sons why I left I rember the first time he hit me to the last night mares still leave me fearful for my life but i put it in God’s hands praying I soon may heal

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