From the Desk of Executive Director, Tiffany Mensah -
As an adult survivor of growing up in a home with domestic violence, healing from the traumatic impact to becoming an advocate for healing this trauma exposure. This is my Dream:
I have a dream that domestic and sexual violence will be eradicated. That love becomes a choice and is not forced, controlled, manipulated, and or turned into an ugly thing where victims feel that love equals abuse. I have a dream that love will not hurt. I have a dream that no matter what your race, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, gender classification, or socioeconomic status is that as a human, domestic or sexual violence will not be justified or condoned. That people will be treated with respect no matter what. I have a dream that no matter your zip code or socioeconomic status that equality in services and care for domestic and sexual violence survivors are equal and equitable. I have a dream that no youth has to experience or be in an environment of domestic and sexual violence where their childhood is filled with witnessing their parent be hurt verbally, emotionally, financially spiritually, sexually, digitally, and or physically. Where the abuse doesn’t turn on them, where they too, are experiencing the same trauma as their parent. I have a dream that youth will not have to be the caregivers of bruised bodies, the wipers of their parent’s tears, and the body shield for their parent and other youth in the home. I have a dream that youth will go to sleep and their sleep is sweet without the sounds of screams, cries, and destruction in their ears, where their spirits aren’t filled with worry if their parent will be alive the next morning. I have a dream that youth will not have to fear what type of version of parent they’re going to encounter during the day. I have a dream that youth can go to school with clear minds to execute their studies without wondering if their parents will be okay while they’re gone. Where they can go to school and not have to suppress the flashbacks of the horrors of the previous day/night. I have a dream that when victims of domestic and sexual violence flee for safety that there are safe housing solutions for them and their youth to begin their healing journey. I have a dream of law enforcement and judicial systems being trauma-informed and justice given to the survivors expeditiously. I have a dream that the laws of this land will become stricter with the punishments for those who willfully commit acts of domestic and sexual violence. I have a dream that a personal protection order will offer advanced safety protections to those impacted by domestic and sexual violence. I have a dream that self-defense against domestic and sexual violence is not the same as being viewed as a perpetrator. I have a dream that religious leaders will shine the light on domestic and sexual violence and become equipped with the correct theology that doesn’t use the Bible to aid in cases. I have a dream that religious organizations will become trauma-informed and equipped to care for the souls of congregants through partnering with agencies and organizations doing the work. I have a dream that youth exposed to domestic and sexual violence will have safe spaces to clearly articulate their feelings, along with receiving tools to self-regulate in a positive way. I have a dream that a generation of youth will rewrite their narratives and no longer view abuse as a sign of love. I have a dream that the forty-plus million adults that grew up in homes with domestic violence will go back and uproot that trauma to heal their futures and their lineage. I have a dream that the adults that grew up in homes with domestic and sexual violence will not parent their children in ways that hurt them. I have a dream that National coalitions will not have to issue days of actions to over-flood our senators and policymakers, because domestic and sexual violence victims and survivors will already be a forethought, not an afterthought. I have a dream that the systems meant to protect and provide healing to victims and survivors will not re-traumatize them, but truly be a safe space. I have a dream that financial equity will be extended to survivors of domestic and sexual violence, and that the financial implications imposed on them, due to the offender that impacted their credit be erased without delay. I have a dream that the health systems become trauma-informed to care for survivors on their journeys to healing. I have a dream that society as a whole will not normalize domestic and sexual violence tactics as social norms nor turn a blind eye to the survivor stories, cries for help, and offer their gifts to assist in driving change. I have a dream that society will speak up and not turn a blind eye to violence occurring in homes daily, see this as a societal problem, and develop community-oriented solutions. I have a dream that teenagers who come from homes with domestic and sexual violence where the parent survived, and those who unfortunately have lost a parent, that there will be culturally specific, trauma-informed services to help their healing journey. I have a dream that youth will be a part of homes of love without abuse where their emotional needs are met, and they won’t seek to soothe the traumas in their souls through wrong relationships, drugs, and alcohol. I have a dream that corporations, churches, and colleges will shine the light on domestic and sexual violence during February, April, and October. I have a dream that domestic and sexual violence awareness will be talked about as easily as Breast Cancer awareness, drunk driving, etc. I have a dream that filmmakers and play writers will not normalize the actions of domestic and sexual violence as acts of romance but pure evils that need to be eradicated. I have a dream that college campuses will shine the light on domestic and sexual violence and equips students with healing solutions and have policies and procedures supporting it. I have a dream that statements like what happens here stay here, why did she/he/they stay, would not issue blame on victim/survivor, but statements that hold the offender accountable will be developed. THIS is my dream!