Domestic violence survivors share their stories

  • Published
  • By John Ingle
  • 82nd Training Wing Public Affairs
I had the incredible opportunity recently to interview four beautiful women. They come from different walks of life, but their stories are similar. I'll get to that in a minute.

The first was a 67-year-old that would be considered the quintessential grandmother. The next was a person who, when you looked at her, appeared to be the iconic symbol of a loving mother and wife. The third was a very well-spoken woman with aspirations for success. The last was a proud member of our Air Force.

Four very different women. Four individuals. Four survivors of domestic violence.

Domestic Violence Awareness is observed in October each year, and we typically cover the observation with an article from family advocacy or a proclamation. There's nothing wrong with that, but it doesn't really tell the story.

1.3 million. That number alone doesn't mean anything. However, that number represents the number of domestic violence incidents in one year. That has an impact.

1-in-4. Again, another meaningless statistic that really has no meaning ... until you explain that 1-in-4 women will be involved in a domestic violence situation.

People can read statistics for days on end, but without a story behind them, they lack value.

These four survivors of domestic violence volunteered to share their stories with us, which we will post on our official YouTube site in a four-part series. Click here our first survivor share her story.

Two of the volunteers left their respective relationships just two weeks before our interviews with them. Our Air Force member had been out of her relationship for sometime before she sat down with us. The fourth had left her abusive relationship, incredibly, the night before we interviewed her.

I don't want to give their stories away in this article, because I want you to hear them tell you about what they endured. But I will tell you that there were common themes in all of them including: normal interaction in the beginning of the relationship; their abuser gradually taking control of every aspect of their lives; limiting their resources; and becoming physically violent.

By producing these videos for Sheppard's official YouTube channel, our hope is that we can educate others that domestic violence is real. Some people might be in that type of relationship and might not even realize it. They've accepted how things are and it has become the norm.

Our four volunteers certainly felt that way at some point. They had no control of their own lives. But they made the decision that the way they were living wasn't much of a life. They decided to make the difficult choice to get out and seek help.

Listen to their stories. For those currently in an abusive relationship, we hope this is encouragement for you to make the tough decision. For those who are not, it is our hope that you take notice of those who may be struggling to make the decision.