A Conversation with a Hotline Advocate: Paula

“Knowing that there’s someone on the other end of the phone, I think that makes a big difference in a lot of survivors’ lives.” – Paula M.

Paula has been answering the phones as an advocate at The Hotline for 18 years. This holiday season, she is sharing thoughts about her work and why she’s thankful for those who support The Hotline.

In 1998, when I came to the National Domestic Violence Hotline as an Americorps volunteer, I had no idea that I was a survivor, too. The father of my children was a wonderful provider, but I still knew something wasn’t right when the emotional abuse periodically escalated to physical violence.

Growing up, I would see members of my family being abused. I knew it was wrong, but I didn’t know what to do. No one talked about it, so I thought it was normal, but it still didn’t feel good.

When I listened in on the lines, I started to hear my story.

“He’s calling me names. He’s making me feel stupid.”

I now had a name for pain and hurt I experienced: domestic violence.

I knew then I wanted to be a part of helping people from the darkness to the light. After my Americorps volunteer duties were complete, I became a Hotline advocate, and I’ve been answering the phones ever since.

Because of your support, The Hotline is open 24/7. As a survivor, this means so much to me because I remember my own long, restless nights when I felt so hopeless with no one to talk to who would listen. Every day before I come to work, I hope I can make a difference in at least one person’s life. I want to let victims know there is a way out, even when it feels like their situation is so deep and so dark.

Thank you for paving the path to safety so that victims and survivors don’t have to stay silent. With your support, they will have someone on the other end of the line — someone who will listen. I’m so thankful I get to be one of those people.

Together, we can give survivors hope and end domestic violence. Please make a gift today to help ensure that when a survivor is ready to speak, someone at The Hotline is here to listen.

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