volunteer spotlight

Meet A Volunteer: Amalie

Here at The Hotline, much of the work we do is made possible by the dedication and effort of our volunteers. We met up with Hotline volunteer Amalie, one of our many advocates on the receiving end of the calls, to talk with her about her experience working here.

How did you become interested in advocating for victims and survivors of domestic violence?

I’ve volunteered for the past 5-6 years. I worked for a citizen review board that monitored children that had been in foster care or in homes with domestic violence — so I had seen a lot of domestic violence before in families. I knew that this was an area I wanted to pursue further.

How did you feel when you answered your first call?

I was really nervous – nervous that I wasn’t going to be able to provide the right tone, and that I was going to seem like I was nervous talking to them. I was worried that I wasn’t going to have the knowledge to give them all of the resources that they needed.

My first call turned out fine. Once you just start talking to a caller, you realize that you can find common ground, and that you’re not in completely different places. It wasn’t as overwhelming as I thought it would be.

What aspects of your job satisfy you the most?

So many! After every phone call, I know that even if the caller doesn’t use the resources I’ve given them, at least they’ve made the phone call, which is a positive first step. Hopefully after the call they know that there’s hope for change.

I like taking the time to speak with the callers — for callers to receive any kind of validation can be huge. I am not there to fix the callers problems or tell them what’s the right path. I can only try my hardest to provide the callers with safe resources and avenues to do this, so they can gain back the quality of life and respect they deserve. If I can help the caller with this in any small way, I have been rewarded in an invaluable way.

You receive calls from family and friends who might be concerned about a loved one. What would you say to someone who’s frustrated and wondering, “Why won’t they just leave?”

It’s just not that easy. The person in the relationship can be scared. They can feel very confused. They can feel at fault. There was a reason initially that they got into that relationship or fell in love with that person.

I try to explain that they should consider giving their loved one support and space to process their feelings. The victim is already being controlled and overwhelmed by their abuser. Telling them what they should do or trying to do it for them only pushes the victim deeper into their isolation. By giving them non-judgmental support and an environment that feels safe they can be empowered to make the necessary changes through their own actions and self-discovery.

Do you receive any calls from abusers?

Yes. Regardless if the caller is an abuser, I still keep an unbiased tone. The fact that they’re calling is a positive step. Most callers that identify as abusers are seeking help. Whether that’s court appointed or they’ve seen behaviors in themselves that they want to change, I try to be supportive of that and try to find them resources in their area.

What are some common myths about domestic violence that you see regularly?

One myth is that it’s easy to leave and the women who stay are just weak. It’s so much more complicated then that. It’s a web. A victim needs to be slowly able to crawl out of it, and catch their footing. There are just so many different dynamics.

The one that really gets to me is this: the victim must have done something to initially start the abuse. WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN?! No one should EVER justify any form of abuse in relationships. It is never okay and never the victims fault. The abuser is making a distinct choice to react to their emotions in a certain way. They could have just as easily taken a long run or left the relationship.

What message do you have for someone who is recently out of an abusive relationship?

I get phone calls from people who have been out of their abusive relationship for 15 years and they’re just calling now to seek counseling. The fact that they’re reaching out now for support is huge.

There’s a lot of trauma after leaving an abusive relationship. Whether you’re a family or friend of someone who has gone through an abusive relationship, or the survivor yourself, there are support groups out there. You do not have to endure the journey alone. It’ll take time — it’s a process.

The healing process is unpredicatable, so don’t be disheartened if some days are harder than others. Be okay with the fact that it’s not going to be easy. And allow yourself that space to acknowledge and be be aware of what you need. And it’ll be hard. If you feel sad, and feel defeated on some levels – be okay with that, and you can move on from there. By leaving your abuser you have won the biggest battle. … One foot in front of the other.

Final thoughts about your experience at The Hotline?

Volunteering here has been a really beautiful thing for me. Every time I come in here, I’m learning something myself based on how I react to different calls and the feelings I’m left with after the phone calls. These callers re-ground me constantly and I am constantly blown away the incredible strength within these women and men. I am grateful for what they’ve taught me.

7 replies
  1. Teresa says:

    Having been in an abusive relationship, I applaud the work you do. I’m so glad to hear you say that it’s a myth that women who stay are weak. That was what many people thought of me. My abuser became my world, and that world shrank more and more every day. So much energy was put into surviving the abuse, and just trying to keep my head above water. I had no energy to see beyond what my life could be like, or how I could get there. I believe I will carry trust issues with me for the rest of my life, but it gets easier every day. 3 1/2yrs out and happy!

  2. J Guenther says:

    I’ve attended over 2000 hours of 12 Step Group meetings and can echo what you say about women (or men) who stay. So much of the process is at an unconscious level that logical arguments often have little effect. It is therefore frustrating beyond description for well-meaning friends and relatives who can’t understand. Patience and listening are the best tools for friends. Advice is rarely taken and seldom works, either, unless the victim is ready.

    • HotlineAdmin_MB says:

      Hi J.,

      Thank you for offering your supportive words to our blog community. You are right when you say that family/freinds of a victim/survivor of abuse have a difficult time understanding why someone would stay in an abusive relationship. A listening ear is sometimes all an individual needs when they are figuring out what to do about their abusive relationship. You can find useful information on how to help a family member or friend here: http://www.thehotline.org/get-educated/how-can-i-help-a-friend-or-family-member-who-is-being-abused. There is also a wonderful book on helping a family member or friend called Helping Her Get Free by Susan Brewster. Please feel free to pass the above along to anyone who is struggling with how to help their loved one in an abusive relationship.

      We removed your post with the question, “what worked for you?” because we are unable to provide back and forth advocacy through the blog. You are welcome to call 24/7 at 1-800-799-7233 to talk to an advocate for further guidance and support.


  3. Dewdrops says:

    I really appreciate the work you do. It was through a support group which made me aware that I was in domestic violence relationship. When he threw me out of the house, I got the support from these groups. I went back thinking everything will be fine because he was sorry. But he was not. This time he left me, he filed for divorce. I am still trying to believe what has happened. I am so confused. Few days before he filed for divorce he was so loving. How could he do this. Why was it that I could not come out the relationship? It is too hard to accept the reality!

    • HotlineAdmin_MB says:


      Thank you for reaching out for support through the Share Your Voice Blog. It can be very confusing when dealing with an abusive partner. One minute the batterer is telling you they love you and everything will be fine and then the next they are throwing you out of the house or yelling at you or hurting you physically. But all of that stems from the batterer wanting the power and control over you. Even though you are hearing the “I love you’s”, the abusive side is still there, underneath the manipulative words.

      If you like to read or want to educate others about what it’s like to be in an abusive relationship, I recommend reading this book: Rosalind Penfold is a domestic violence survivor that chronicled her abusive relationship as a visual diary that is now a book, Dragonslippers: This is What an Abusive Relationship Looks Like. She has really captured the roller coaster that happens when you are in a domestic violence situation.

      If you would like to talk further about the dynamics of abuse, you can call 24/7 at 1-800-799-7233 to speak with an advocate.


  4. Michelle says:

    Oh honey, I am so sorry for what you are going through. I have been right where you are. My now ex husband threw me out the last fight we had. I later decided that it was God will for things to go down like that, so…DO NOT FRET, this is a life saving experience for you. Trust me, you will see this at some point. I know it is hard for you right now because you feel alone, but you summed it up when you said you had returned to him, just to find that he had not changed. Most times, the perpetraitor will not change. My ex husband still has not changed. He just recently had another DV charge on him with his new wife. He is still walking the streets, that is what bothers me more.
    Anyway, back to you. Pat yourself on the back for leaving, regardless how it happened. This is your chance to live FREE FROM ABUSE Dewdrops. You can do this!! Your life is just beginning. Embrace it. You have many people in your life that will be very supportive for you. You have your groups to confide in.

    • HotlineAdmin_MB says:


      I am very happy to hear that you are no longer in a domestic violence relationship. Thank you for sharing your words of encouragement to our blog community. I know it helps to hear that others understand how hard it is to leave and to realize that it is possible to live a life free from abuse.

      Unfortunately, we typically don’t promote other websites, fan pages, films, and other projects unless we have explicit involvement, which is why we had to remove your facebook link from your post.


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