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Counselor escapes batterer, founds organization to help others

After nearly becoming a battered woman herself, this brave professional began volunteering for a crisis center hotline, and then pursued a degree in counseling. After 12 years of experience as a licensed counselor, she is taking risks and forming her own non-profit organization to help others.

What is your job title? How many years of experience do you have in that field?
My job title is Director of a 501c3 nonprofit that I founded where I am also the counseling coordinator. I have a total of 18 years counseling experience. I have held a master’s degree in Counseling Psychology for the past 12 years. Some of the jobs I have had were working as a clinician in a county mental health crisis unit, clinical coordinator for a residential treatment program, and a college instructor teaching human services courses. I finally have started my own business in the field.

Would you describe what you do on a typical day?
I often act as a telephone counselor, advocate and resource provider to my clients. Typically clients contact me who are experiencing a traumatic event and feel hopeless about their situations, or believe they are being unjustly treated by their families and the bureaucracy in some capacity. Patience is key to discern where I can help. I always take notes and ask them questions. Part of the job is making caring suggestions to help my clients obtain their needs, goals and understand their own situations so that they may make better decisions. Someone recently wrote a letter about my organization and I had to type a letter back, at no cost to the client. Obtaining answers on their behalves is key; finding resources to contact is part of my job. Creating web contacts such as websites, writing groups online and newsletters keeps the ball rolling. I’m in the process of writing grants.

What is your ethnicity? What kinds of discrimination have you experienced?
I am Caucasian. As a female who obtained my M.A. degree later in life (in my 40’s) I have worked hard, been reliable, yet have never broken through the glass ceiling into management until I founded a nonprofit. I have experienced discrimination in pay in a job as Clinician in a psychiatric hospital. When I was offered the position over the phone at a certain rate of pay ($18/hour), I accepted. When I got my first paycheck I had only been paid $13/hour.

First I went to a few of my coworkers who held the same job position. My Caucasian male coworker told me he was hired in at $20/hour and I should not take less. My female coworker who was African American told me she was also hired at $18/hour and that they wound up paying her only $13/hour, like me. Her reason for accepting the discrepancy was that she “needed the job” and so she didn’t fight the pay arrangement.

When I went in to the HR department the lady who I accepted the job offer from denied the pay that she told me I would receive. I had not asked for a written offer. It was her word against mine. I was new on the job and no one wanted to fight this with me.

If you’ve experienced discrimination, in what ways have you responded and what response worked best?
I did try and open a complaint with the Fair Employment and Housing Department and the employer did not show up. They then made another appointment with me but due to my living some distance away I was unable to make the second appointment. Going to coworkers to check whether I was the only one who experienced this pay discrimination was the best thing I could have done first because I got their support and heard another story like mine.

Where you work, how well does your company do ‘equal opportunity’? Is management white and male? How are minorities perceived and treated?
We are totally equal opportunity in that we would hire anyone with a desire to work in our organization. I founded the nonprofit and so it is woman-owned with a male attorney and another female associate. They are working in this organization as a labor of love and because they have the skills we need, are willing to work for nothing only until we get enough funding to pay them for their work. Otherwise I normally have found work outside of the organization to pay the bills.

We work with a diverse group of clients who reside in countries around the world. Some are not English-speaking and so we have tried to use translation software or English-speaking interpreters through friends who work with us in other countries.

What don’t they teach in school that would’ve been helpful to you?
A master’s degree in counseling psychology also gives you job opportunities working as a social worker in some companies. Social work degrees have been around longer and so are more readily recognized and sometimes employers require potential employees hold a master’s degree in social work for a job. Counseling is a specialized field where you choose the kind of therapy provided to your clients. It is not always easy.

How did you get started in this line of work? If you could go back and do it differently, what would you change
I started as a volunteer on a domestic violence crisis line when I had a personal experience escaping a batterer. I worked every Monday afternoon for a year and received excellent crisis line counseling training. If I could change anything it would be to find out if a job position included a way that the candidate would receive the licensing supervision they need to become a licensed professional right from the start.

On a good day, when things are going well, can you give an example of something that really makes you feel good?
Yes, I was able to make phone calls for five hours straight one day navigating the senior citizen’s complaint I received where the client was unable to receive in-home care she was approved for. At the end of the day, I was able to find out that her choice of provider could get paid while going through the background check and agreed to start immediately. This senior went five months without her in-home care. Sometimes being able to listen carefully and care enough for the person to understand what the client says can add the fuel needed in a very personal crisis to reach a resolution. Knowing that I helped in the life of this elderly woman makes me very happy.

When nothing seems to go right, what kind of snafus do you handle and what do you dislike the most?

When people call during the day, I know I must be fully aware of whatever they are telling me. I get inundated with calls, and must prioritize my time and the resources our organization has. Sometimes a request for information sent to a client does not get sent immediately and so we have to spend some time reviewing what was sent, what was not sent and how we make it right with the client. A recent problem we had with the mail is that the company checking account was compromised. I had to spend time at the bank closing one account and opening another.

How stressful is your job? Are you able to maintain a comfortable or healthy work-life balance?
There is so much we want to accomplish with counseling clients, but we don’t have a budget to do so. We are doing what we can and providing individual contact to each person who calls or emails us. Our cases seem overly complex. There is no one agency that solves every person’s complaints. Not only do we provide emergency crisis line counseling and some suggested legal pointers, but we take details about their complaints.

Sometimes I am at work, but planning a mini-vacation. I enjoy buying locally grown veggies from the surrounding outdoor farmer’s markets. In these small ways I budget my time into mini-excursions as a break from the pressures of the job. Counseling provides a lot of satisfaction, but if you help so much without re-energizing your batteries you will burn out.

On a scale of 1 to 10 how would you rate your job satisfaction? What would it take to increase that rating?
From a human perspective I am extremely happy with my job position. I love using my counseling skills in a company that I created. My biggest concern is growing my agency to pay other employees a living wage.

What’s a rough salary range for the position you hold? Are you paid enough considering your responsibilities?
The salary range for someone with a master’s degree in counseling psychology averages from $33,000 to $45,000 a year. At some point I will be paid the money I feel I deserve if we succeed in obtaining more funding for our organization. Generally speaking, I believe more should be paid for professional counseling.

What’s the most rewarding moment you’ve experienced in this position? Of all the things you’ve done at work, what are you most proud of?
One of my most rewarding moments was helping a teenager get some experience with what beauty school was like. She took me to a graduating class photo that hung on the wall of a beauty school she was thinking about attending. Just taking time to make sure she got to see the inside of a beauty school helped her determine what she would do once she was on her own.

Now I think I am most proud of stepping out on my own, after years of counseling experience, to start a nonprofit.

What’s the most challenging moment you’ve experienced? What would you prefer to forget?
I’ve had my share of challenging moments. Thinking of one I would prefer to forget would be the time I was suddenly propositioned by a client while in one of the offices where I worked. It was a nuisance more than anything. I was young in my field and thrown by the unexpected comments. Rather than expecting these surprises and having something I could say and redirect the man back to the counseling session, I called other staff to have someone remove him from my office and that was the end of my counseling relationship with that client. As I grew in the field I learned more about how to handle these kinds of clients, and it takes self-honesty and a willing spirit to recognize my own imperfections yet still be able to learn from experience.

What education and skills do you need to get hired and succeed in this field?
Becoming a professional counselor usually requires a master’s degree. In Ohio, for example, you might choose to become a licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor with your master’s degree. This requires 4,000 hours working as a substance abuse counselor and taking a state exam. You might instead decide to become a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist that requires having a licensed supervisor sign off on your 3,000 hour requirement.

As part of your academic requirements, a master’s degree in counseling typically requires you to receive your own therapy for at least 40 hours in order to understand the therapist-client relationship. You will learn about yourself, how you handle problems, what your strengths and weaknesses are and how your personality traits can help someone else.

What would you tell a friend considering your line of work?
I would tell a friend to decide if they want to stop at earning a Master’s degree, or go on to get licensed. They might also decide to pursue a PhD (Doctor of Philosophy Degree) or PsyD (Doctor of Psychology Degree) where they could become licensed at the doctorate degree level. There is a wide variety of employment available to counselors with a master’s degree. Some jobs would be working as a hospital case manager, school counselor, university instructor, provide counseling in a nonprofit, work in a foster family agency, become a mental health advocate for hospital patients, mentor a church group, work for the county or state, have a talk show, author books, become a community group or individual therapist at a number of behavioral health and substance abuse centers, work as a police therapist, or continue your education to become a licensed psychologist.

How much vacation do you take? Is it enough?
I take two weeks vacation a year and it is not enough for me. I find myself taking “mini vacations” with friends at dinner, farmer’s markets, cooking and spending time away from the phone and internet.

Are there any common myths you want to correct about what you do?
Yes, the field of counseling is not solely for the purpose of a counselor to solve their own psychological problems. It may provide a needed activity to help fight injustice that counselors find rewarding. Like school teachers, police officers and nurses, counseling provides a service to make society better.

Does this job move your heart? If not, what does?
Definitely! This is truly wonderful and fulfilling to talk with another human being, and build a trusting interpersonal relationship where you can help that person navigate psychological pain . Through this, you can turn that pain into a positive thing in their lives, and help them resolve their problems. It is like being a healer or a spiritual counselor.

If you could write your own ticket, what would you like to be doing in five years?
Having a successful nonprofit agency that has the funding to hire other trained counselors, with more of a legal department to fight for justice in the world.

Is there anything unique about your situation that readers should know when considering your experiences or accomplishments?
Yes, I have had to start my own company to solve world problems. I wanted to design a program I couldn’t design in another company and had to branch out to resolve it. My nonprofit works with people who are far-reaching in every corner of the world and we solve problems that requires creative problem-solving. Sometimes when you are unhappy in the environment you find yourself working in you must strike out and find what makes you truly happy. If you plan it right and get some education around what needs to be solved, you may find endless employment possibilities for your degree in counseling psychology.

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86 comments

  • Wonderful article! I enjoyed reading about your accomplishments and have a better understanding of what your field is all about.

  • can relate to escaping a situation that was not healthy. It can play with a person’s self perception. After realizing that not everything was my fault, I was able to recognize the good that I brought to the table. Helping others see capability in themselves has to be so rewarding.

  • Amazing article! I, myself, come from a background of unhealthy situations and choices and have overcome many difficulties on my journey. From a very early age i was tossed around from home to home, some with family, friends of family, and foster homes. I was a child of a very young and addicted mother and an absent father. I became addicted at a young age, also, and some would say i followed in the footsteps of my mother. Along with becoming an addict, i became a victim of domestic abuse, and became a criminal offender. I no longer run from my problems and i am proud to say that i have made a complete 180 from the person that i used to be.

    I have a little over 21 months clean and sober now. I have overcome all of my challenges in the criminal system by taking full responsibility for my actions and accepting and welcoming any punishments for my bad decisions. I believe that the only way to become the person that we were meant to be is to lead an honest and humble existence. I also believe that i was put on this earth to go through these triumphs to better myself and better help my community. I thrive on helping others through the difficulties that i have been through. I am currently studying my Bachelors of Science in Human Services Management so that i may, one day, be able to give back what has been provided for me. I now live a new way of life, where i no longer have to look over my shoulder. I can trust and be trusted. I hope that i can provide that for others, also.

  • Wow, what a story. I too had such a experience. For 14 years of mental and physical abuse. I believed I was nothing and deserved nothing. Until one day I became very ill. I had a brain tumor from all the beatings.
    I decided thaat enough was enough and left. I decided to go back to school so I could get a better job to take care of myself and never look back. Today, because of the beatings I am legally blind in my left eye and migraines. Because of the kemo I have diabetes, but I am alive and not scared any more.
    You keep up the work, there are a lot of people out there who need to know that someone cares.

  • This story serves as an emotional, strong example of why I have decided to go into Human Services work. All of my life has coincided with domestic violence and overcoming it. As a domestic violence survivor and former foster care child, I have spent most of my life trying to accept the challenges of living in a bad situation. My dream is to become a Advocate to other Domestic Abuse Survivors and especially children in these situations. Starting a non-profit shelter or help-center would be amazing. This woman’s dedication and determination are inspirational. I sincerely hope that she can accomplish her goal of increased funding, so that she can help more people.

  • Wow what a great story! I like that one has so many opportunities once they recieve thier degree. A degree in psychology opens the doors for many. I also like how the writer mentions that they feel great doing their job because they know they are helping others. I went through an abusive relationship when i was younger for 3 years. I tried going to college several times but was put down. Eventually I got strong enough to leave my abuser and moved many miles away. After taking some time to recover I eventually went back to school and got married. I am now going to get my bachelors in psychology. This story has helped me alot for when I pursue my Master’s in Psychology. Thank you.

  • An awesome story. I have had a similar experience in my life. My first husband was a very abusive man, physically and mentally abusive on a daily basis. He would not allow me to do anything outside of the home. After 17 years of marriage i decided i had enough so i left him, he had a mental breakdown and commited suicide.
    This was a terrible life changing experience for me and my family beings i had not been aloud to do anything outside of the house i was at a loss. This is when i decided that i would change my life for me and my kids.
    Clearing my head and moving forward i got my GED and signed up for college. I want to show my kids that all things are possible no matter the age or the life you have lived.

  • First – I’d like to commend you on using your experience to give back to the community. Your’e actions are certainly admirable. On so many occasions the mental anguish of being battered left me feeling powerless and irrelevant. Articles like this provide a glimpse into triumphs over seemingly insurmountable odds. Choosing to help others is no easy feat because grief, fear and loss can be paralyzing emotions causing a person to renege on choosing to live freely. My abuse started with my father as a child then my ex as an adult – two men whom I cared for deeply. These types of experiences helps an individual to appreciate those who help us and create an avenue for others to be able to receive help as well. You are truly a perfect example of why and how helping others is how we were intended to live and prosper personally and professionally.

  • Your story is a very inspiring story. Women who have undergone physical and mental abuse sometimes do not know that they can overcome and change the pattern of being someone’s doorstep.
    I decided to change things in my life for the better interest of my children. I was blessed to meet someone who literally took over someones else’s kids and treats them as his own. He continues to provide for me and my kids even though they are not his because their father was not there for them. Since moving on, I have had the blessing to have a good opportunity to go back to school with the awesome support of my girls and my new husband. Everything is possible if you put your mind to it.

    We are sometimes broken but only we can change the brokenness in our lives and take a step back and re-evaluate the situation and make changes for the better. I just hope that my girls take all that I taught them and apply it to their own lives and not allow anyone to put a hand on them ever, because some people just do not deserve a good person in their lives and this where someone can step back and move on.

    Pursuing an education is the best thing a woman can do for herself and her children. This not only proves to her children that anything is possible, it also builds a stronger foundation for a child to live on.

  • This is a wonderful story. I know many people who have been abused and these are the kind of things that I like to let them know about. That they can do anything they want, no matter what their background is like.
    I believe that any one can better themselves, no matter what the circumstances are. Hearing about someone who had experienced the abuse themselves, and turning their lives around to help others through the same situation, is one of the best things in life. Helping others is one the best feelings in the world.
    I think it is great that you are able to help others through your own experience and able to talk about it freely.

  • As a former battered wife, it was difficult for me to accept help because I was so embarrassed by the situation. i commend this individual who took a bad situation and used it not only for their own good, but the good of others. There are many people who think it is easy to get out of an abusive relationship. Trust me, it is harder than it looks. The first step though is removing yourself from the situation (as best as you can) and get help. This is key! Some people (like me) think that you don’t need help – someone to talk to – this is not true. I still feel like I’m limited in my recovery process because I never had a chance to discuss what I went through; however, thanks to people like the counselor described in the article I am encouraged to do all I can to be a voice for those victims who are often too silent to get or accept help.

  • A very inspirational story. I have worked in the social services field since 1991. My first job was working as a direct support staff to developmentally disabled adults in a state licensed residential facility. Since then I have held positions ranging from Administrator of adult residential facilities to crisis response case management. In my last position as a Center Coordinator for an adult daycare I believed that I was treated unfairly and was hired under false pretenses. Before taking the position the human resources department assured me that the position was long-term which later turned out to be temporary. This story is an inspiration to me because I also dream of owning an operating residential facilities. I knew early in my childhood that I wanted to help people but I did not know which career path to take. I believe in community and working to improve situations that disadvantaged individuals suffer. Coming from a dysfunctional environment filled with emotional, physical and financial strains, I feel that it is my duty to give back and share my experience in order to empower someone else. Thank you for sharing.

  • Whenever there is a story of success the road getting to that success is simply amazing. Your story has given even more purpose to the type of work I want to do in my life. I pray you continue to move and live in such a way that your destination is only determine by you. Thanks for sharing!

  • It is sad when discrimination happens towards the best of people. It is also the best of people who can handle it and approach it the best. I have decided to earn my degree in the human services field because of a similar experience, except it deals with my little sister. She was the one being bullied in school and I am five years older then her and could not do a thing about it.

    It broke my heart to see her crying every day because of bullies at school and also in the neighborhood. It has been so bad before that we have called the police on a couple of kids.

    I want to become a counselor for school children to help them with the struggles of facing school and bullies every day. I could not help my sister in the way I wanted too at the time, but I will help other kids in their hardships.

  • Wow, this story is very inspiring and shows the true grit and determination it takes to make a difference in this world, or even a small corner of this world. I too became inspired to become a domestic violence counselor due to an experience of my own. My now ex-fiance decided to resort to his military training one night and headbutt me so he could retrieve his keys. Heartless and selfish as he was, at that time, I was so shocked that he had assaulted me I was in disbelief. We broke up that night as I wanted nothing more to do with his abusiveness (he was also Emotionally and mentally abusive as well) and several months later I was to meet with a domestic violence counselor. The counselor, whose name was Lynn, inspired me to the point where I enrolled in the University of Phoenix within a week to get my Associates (July 2010), Bachelor’s (God willing October 2012) and Master’s (2015?) in Psychology. I want to be able to help other victims as she had helped me. I feel for the lady in the article as it is tough to get anywhere in this dog eat dog without sheer grit and determination. I am glad she has succeeded and she is a huge credit to our gender.

  • I cannot begin to explain how much I personally needed to read this story. I am a firm believer that things do happen for a reason.

    I just came home from work, and after a long moving conversation with a coworker who has been going through so many heartbreaking events at home, I feel so grateful that I was able to uplift her spirit in just a short amount of time and offer my hand in help.

    This just shows me that I truly love helping others without any cost, and a quote that sticks with me is, “your dream job is something you would love to do for free.” The satisfaction of putting a smile on another person’s face and helping them create better situations for themselves is the most rewarding pay in the world. No amount of money can add up to the joy I receive by helping others.
    I aspire to pursue my bachelors in human services and continue to my masters in social work. I am also considering receiving my pysd in the long run.
    With my degree I would like to become a social worker with a focus on family and kids because I believe that our future begins with our families, and if I can help make a difference one family a time I can possibly help create a better world for at least one person and maybe even a thousand people. I believe it only takes one person or one word to change a person’s life so hopefully I can do so for the better.
    I will continue to use my kind heart and optimistic character to fulfill my life long desire to help better those in need.

  • This career story
    stood out to me because here is a woman who has stepped out on faith to help
    others. She has spent countless hours volunteering and receiving the
    credentials necessary to start her very own non-for-profit organization. She’s currently not profiting but continues
    to persevere. I too was a battered woman for many years and have had the desire
    to start a program to help other battered women. This story has been extremely encouraging and
    has helped me to realize my dream by volunteering and obtaining the appropriate
    credentials.

    After being laid-off
    from a banking career in 2011, I immediately registered for school because my
    goal was to one day obtains my degree. Now that I’m no longer consumed with the
    hectic demands of my job, I’m able to focus and dedicate my days to obtaining
    my degree.

    I saw myself in this
    story. Being an African-American woman in American, I too have found myself in
    similar discriminating situations as the writer of this story. But this story
    gives me hope. This story has encouraged me to continue on the path to pursuing
    my dreams and true heart’s desires. Even though I’ve had a great career in
    banking, something was missing. I was not being fulfilled because I was doing
    nothing to help others.

    I’m a good person and I treat people right, so why God are you
    allowing me to be battered, was my question. I believe that there was a reason
    for that horrible time I’ve endured in life.
    That reason was to start a foundation that would provide services that
    would help others who are battered. This
    story is yet another success story that gives me a road map to where I’m
    headed.

  • This career story
    stood out to me because here is a woman who has stepped out on faith to help
    others. She has spent countless hours volunteering and receiving the
    credentials necessary to start her very own non-for-profit organization. She’s currently not profiting but continues
    to persevere. I too was a battered woman for many years and have had the desire
    to start a program to help other battered women. This story has been extremely encouraging and
    has helped me to realize my dream by volunteering and obtaining the appropriate
    credentials.

    After being laid-off
    from a banking career in 2011, I immediately registered for school because my
    goal was to one day obtains my degree. Now that I’m no longer consumed with the
    hectic demands of my job, I’m able to focus and dedicate my days to obtaining
    my degree.

    I saw myself in this
    story. Being an African-American woman in American, I too have found myself in
    similar discriminating situations as the writer of this story. But this story
    gives me hope. This story has encouraged me to continue on the path to pursuing
    my dreams and true heart’s desires. Even though I’ve had a great career in
    banking, something was missing. I was not being fulfilled because I was doing
    nothing to help others.

    I’m a good person and I treat people right, so why God are you
    allowing me to be battered, was my question. I believe that there was a reason
    for that horrible time I’ve endured in life.
    That reason was to start a foundation that would provide services that
    would help others who are battered. This
    story is yet another success story that gives me a road map to where I’m
    headed.

  • I also escaped a domestic situation that verged on battering. This story gives me hope that I can make a difference in the world through my choice of career, security. I did not choose counseling because that is something I do on a daily basis with my 12 children and many siblings. I am one of 13 children.

    When I was young, around 8, we had a break-in that made my whole family very scared and suspicious of everyone. That feeling of being violated has been very difficult to overcome and locks were a very prominent part of my life after that.

    I have chosen to pursue a career in security so that I can help families of crime protect themselves better and have the feeling of safety that I lacked through most of my life. I will start my own business employing former military and IT experts after I finish my degree to make a difference in the world.

  • I must say that this story really hits home for me. As a teenager, I was once in a very unhealthy relationship. I was berated, verbally and physically abused- to the point that I miscarried my very first pregnancy of twins. One cold winter afternoon, I had enough. I was bruised, swollen and tired of being hurt. I normally do not condone violence, but the very next time he made a move to hurt me I broke his nose.

    I finally found the strength to leave him, but for years I held on to the fear that he would some how return to hurt me. Eventually I found this website called http://www.safehorizon.org, and I finally was able to see that I was not alone.

    I think that she is very intelligent and brave- starting an organization to help others and make it her labor of love. It is wonderful to wake up and really have the desire to go to work, helping women build trusting relationships and showing them that they are not alone.

  • I am in the process of earning my bachelors degree in Human Services Management because of my family experiences. And as I was reading this article I found that I have a similiar interest in starting my own nonprofit organization to help individuals cope with life situations. I know and understand that being a counselor is a job that doesn’t pay the big bucks but I really want to help people.
    There are so many people that just need someone to talk to and vent their inner most thoughts and feelings. I have personally experienced the same thing as the writer of the article escaping a batterer and was able to overcome my self doubt and achieve goals that I didn’t think I would be able to.
    I decided a few years ago that this is the field I wanted to go into because situations with friends, coworkers and family kept pushing me into this path. So I decided that it was meant for me to pursue what I felt comfortable with.

  • I grew up in an abusive home and was a foster child. I have been a single mom struggling to make ends meet and have been at palace where I couldn’t even afford diapers for my baby. I have been on food stamps, lived in a two room shack as a single mother of two small children. I am going into the field of ECE, because I feel like I can make a difference in the lives of children and families, because I have been in the shoe that they are in. I currently work in a program that serves children and families in poverty, and by completing my Master’s I will not only have the experience, but the education do be and do what I want to do.

  • I believe that this is a amazing story. As for myself I am in the process of earning a degree in psychology because of my personal experiences

  • I value the self motivation and determination to make a difference in the lives of others and for yourself. The saddest thing about being in a position of discrimination is the feeling of not being accepted and that is not a good way to feel especially when you are in a position to see others through for help. I too am in the same field of work and I have found that it is difficult to find a position that will pay decently for the type of work or service that you provide. I too am also in college in pursuit of my bachelors degree moving forward to receive a Masters for this very reason. Your story keeps me motivated to push forward.

  • People should hear this story. Triumphant and uplifting, it sheds light on the difficulties of navigating the workforce; especially when you have to fight it all the way. I have been very lucky in most of my jobs to encounter those who embrace my talents and acknowledge my skill. As a manager, I feel that it is also extremely important to “pay if forward” as it were. I strive to help my employees work toward the common goal because it takes the lot of us, women and men, to make up such a successful and dynamic operation.

    It’s imperative to do what you love, but to be able to encourage and unify others in the process is irrefutably the greatest gift in the workplace. I too am younger than most of my co-workers; in fact by 10 years at least. I feel that there are times where I have to stand my ground but because I love what I do, I am more than willing to walk beside those that will follow me and encourage those who are unwilling to understand. We all come from a different walk of life and that is what makes this story so intriguing. From battered to strong, this counselor can truly say she supports the masses and individuals alike.

  • I was employed at a business and was offered the job because I was a minority. But what the company did not tell me wasd that I would be the only one. When I showed up for my first day at work each person there thoght I was in the wrong place and it was for managers only. When I told them that I was the new manager everyone became quiet and did not say anything else. As I followed the GM around the location most of the employees turned their noses up at me and began to whisper. The GM at the time said to pay them no mind and they would have to get used to me and I the same with them. When we went to sign and go through my paperwork he stated, ” Why did they give you such a high pay rate, none of my other managers are making this much and they have been with the company for 3 and 7 years”. Si know how hard it can be to come into a company as the outsider and have to fight your way through the company the entire time you are there.

  • This is a very touching story because of what she had to go through to realize her true calling/dream. I feel somewhat connected with every battered woman in some way because i was once in an abusive relationship. it is always uplifting to see someone not settle for being a victim and triumph through a bad situation. Too many people want pitty and sympathy, i think she has a wonderful story and i intend on sharing my story. moving on and reaching goals is my mission.

  • When I was younger I was in a abusive relationship as well as raped by a family member, for years and today I am still seeing a therapist and taking pyshcotic medication. My dreams and goals are to one day creat a business that helps and counsels women who think that there is no way out and blames themselves everyday for what happened to them. I learned by forgiving them you lead a better life but it does not mean that you will forget.

  • This story is all too familiar to me. I too, was bullied in school and also molested as a child. I choose to not allow my past experiences such as those to hinder me from becoming the woman I want to become.

    At the age of 32 I went back to college to complete my degree. All odds stacked against me, I did. I am currently pursuing my MBA/HRM and I an elated!! I feel that with this degree I can become a helpful source to individuals in the workplace and help create an environment safe and comfortable to others.

  • You are such an inspiration, and your story is one I can relate to. I was in an abusive relationship for several years. I finally developed a plan and managed to get out. I took my (then) 4 year old daughter and moved several states away to a place where we didn’t know anyone. It was very scary and it was hard, but we did it.

    I wanted to try to give back to those who had helped me develop my plan of escape so I started volunteering at the domestic violence program where we were living. I spent the next 17 years working in domestic violence. I started as a volunteer and worked my way up to director.

    When I had finished high school I had taken a position in South Central Los Angeles working as part of a street team. We provided services to young people trying to get out of a gang. Though I loved working in domestic violence, I often thought of the job in California and wondered if there were any way the two jobs might be inter-twined. I found a job at an alternative school teaching life skills to high schoolers. As part of the curriculum I taught a class on dating violence. I worked in this position for 3 years until the Department of Corrections asked if I would be interested in a position coordinating a life skills program for offenders. I jumped at that and I loved that job. I felt I was really making a difference. I helped people get a second chance to turn their lives around and become a positive productive part of their community, but four years later my father became very ill and I had to go home and take care of him and run his construction company. About 2 years later my dad passed.

    When I returned to the workforce things had changed. Jobs I had done previously now wanted someone with a degree, which I didn’t have. Therefore, at the age of 51 I returned to college. My goal is to get my degree and open my own 501(c) (3) organization to continue giving people the opportunity to rebuild their lives. I believe everyone deserves a second chance. I want to be there to give them the skills and knowledge to become a positive productive part of their communities. What they do after that is up to them. I’m happy to say that most of those I have worked with so far have chosen to work hard and earn their way back into their communities.

    Thank you for sharing your story. It has made me even more motivated to continue to reach my goal.

  • I personally identify with the trauma of being abuse as I was myself. I
    remember what it was like when my childhood was taken. I can also identify with
    overcoming the impact of such and horrible thing and not allowing it to define
    me. I know many people who get lost in past abuses and are not able to move
    forward in their lives. Who let what someone else did to them define who they
    are and how far they can go. I decided that would not be me much like the
    writer of the article. Negative situations do impact you but you do not have to
    stay in that moment of impact for your whole life. You can move past the
    impact, you have to

  • This story has given me great encouragement to procced with the goals that I have set for myself as well in human services. I have also endured many unfortuante obstacles but believe in turning those hardshios into something that could possibly assist those that are not as resilient than others. I can appreciate the fact that age ws not an active barrier to her receiving her anticipated degree and sought after educational experience.

  • I love reading your story. My prayer is to someday own my own shelter. I am a child abuse and domestic violence survivor. I have worked many years with women and children that were abused. I pray I meet others like you and me that will help to end violence in families and the communities. I am presently working on my masters in counseling and plan to use my degree to help children and adolescents overcome situations or disorders in their lives.

  • This story is very inspirational. I can relate to where she is coming from. I can say been there and
    done that when it comes to the abuse. As I read the comments on this particular story I was astonished at how many are out there like me. I too am late in life getting my degree, being 45 and working on my Bachelor’s in Human Resource Management. I want to help the geriatric community because it breaks my heart to see so many have to choose whether to eat or buy there medications this month. I have spent the last 25 years raising and educating my 6 children and am now ready to set out on my own course.

  • I was previously in an abusive marriage and found the courage to get out. I have raised two brilliant daughters as well as worked full time and am now returning to college. I want my daughters to see that it does not matter where you come from or what obstacles you have to overcome, anything is possible. Life is not easy in any circumstance but we must reach deep within ourselves to find exactly what it is that will take us where we need to go. Self-pity and sorrow, although sometimes necessary emotions, will never take precedence or be stronger than self-motivation and the will to survive and thrive.

  • I can relate with this because of being discriminated against on a daily basis because I am a Native American woman with a child. This is sad when it happens and you start to think that its normal for people to turn their noses up at you. Also, I can relate because I was once in a broken marriage that was abusive at times. I am glad there are counselors out there who took the time to sit and listen to what was going on and didn’t judge me when I took him back when he promised things would change. It was hard to stay with someone you couldn’t trust and not know what he was going to flip out on and not knowing if he was going to beat my son next. Luckily my son and I got away from him and I went on to obtain my Associates Degree and am now working on my Bachelors. Things have definitely taken a turn for the better and we’re very happy with the path that I chose to take.

  • This article has touched me in so many ways. It is sad to see that discrimination is still alive and in full swing, however it also showed me that as an individual you have to be proactive when applying for jobs and getting contracts in writting rather than verbal. I think that is a good idea whenever you are offered a position and the hiring manager gives you a pay rate that you accept it should be in wirtting where if a situation like this were to ever come up you would have some concreat proof. I am glad to see that she was able to leave the situation that she was in to further her passion in creating a non-profit organization ran by her. This gives me more inspiration to further my goals and aspirations.

  • This story is inspirational for people going into the field. I understood what she meant when she stated “you are unhappy in the environment you find yourself working in…strike out and find what makes you happy.
    I work as a domestic violence advocate and I am a survivor of domestic violence,so I understand about wanting to make a difference. Certain experiences drive us to make changes in our lives and take on a career the we can make a difference in, mine is making a difference for battered women, men and children.

  • I really enjoyed reading this story. This counselor and I have similar interests and goals. Having a nonprofit is hard work and is only for the dedicated. I decided to attend psychology school to better myself with tools to help my community solve its problems. My nonprofit is called Transitional Love.

  • This is an amazingly inspiring story, and I can only hope that I can help people like her on their journey through college! It is stories such as this that really make me want to achieve my goal and become college educator!!

  • Newlifee
    I enjoyed reading the article. It was eye-opening about situations going on and how people are mistreated. This article gives incentive to people to follow your dream and do not let anything bring you down, not just a job, but life experiences and dealings with people. No one should be discriminated against. It shows that no matter what field you decide to obtain your degree in you may face discrimination.

    This gives incentives to women, minorities, handicapped persons, elderly people, and younger people to strive to become what you want to. Do not give up because you think you are too old or too young. Continue to strive to be the best you can be. Whether you succeed or not is not the issue. It’s the fact that you tried. This article gives hope to all people. This women faced some challenging issues and overcame and succeeded at doing what she wanted to. It shows others can keep that frame of mind she has and do the same thing.

    I can identify with domestic violence, verbally. People may not realize that verbal violence is just as bad as physical violence. The wounds are hard to heal with physical. With verbal and mental violence, it lives with you for a long time and is so hard to overcome. This women gives so much hope to those trying to overcome these issues and starting a new life.

  • This story influenced me to pursue my passion of being a counselor also. She helped me to see that anything is possible if you set your mind to it and that you can overcome any obstacle. Her passion for helping others is something I admire, and I hope I can be a role model down the road. As I pursue my Masters degree in Counseling Psychology, I will keep in mind that there will be challenges along the way, but the overall outcome will make me a stronger person.

    The best part about this job is knowing you made a difference in people’s lives. Her story is inspiring because even though she had a traumatic experience, she was able to turn it into a positive outcome. I admire her tenacity to turn her situation around and not let one instance keep her from doing what she is passionate about.

  • This is an example of one woman wanting to make a difference in a world that is set in its ways. Ways that hurt and cause emotional trauma that in turn hurts the next generation. Weather it’s at work, school or in ones private life, her occupation is one greatley needed.
    I find this story to be very much encouraging.

  • I find this story very heart touching. I like that fact that she was able to take her life experiences and what help her overcome abusive to help others who may not have had the same resources she did. I can relate because I have been helping young mothers over the years find jobs, school, and better housing situations. I know how it is to be in a situation and not think that you have a light at the end of the tunnel. I was had my first child at 14 years of old, my 2nd at 17, and my 3rd at 21. I got my GED, I own my home, I have a Associate’s degree, I am working on my Bachelor’s, and I have a good job as an desk claims adjuster. It helps to be able to show people that any thing is possible if you have people behing you who are willing to support you till the end.

  • I was very touched by this article. I can relate to this counselor. I suffered from abuse as a young girl. I believe that I was emotionally stunted because of these experiences. It took me a very long time and a tremendous amount of counseling to feel good about myself. Funny thing happened along the way though… I found my passion. My passion was to help others through my experiences. In 2011, I returned to school to get an education. I am psychology major and I will receive my Associate’s degree in March, 2013. This article really gave me hope. I am now 45 years old and have worried that I was too old to start a career of this magnitude so late in life. This article has given me hope that this is something that I can accomplish and succeed at.

  • I think you are doing great work. As a child I watched my mom be a victim of domestic violence, I was once, it is heartbreaking to see your mom go back time and time again. One day she realized she deserves better then being hit by a man. I could see how fulfilling your career is because everyday you get to help people change for the better. You are their light at the end of the tunnel. How blessed you must feel to be in a position of helping people as your career. Keep up the good work you are it is not unnoticed.

  • This story is hits very close to home for me. Not because I was a victim of domestic violence, but because many of the older women in my family have been the victims of some form of domestic violence, mental, physical, emotional, during their lifetimes. In my family it was like a never-ending cycle: you grow up seeing your parents argue and fight, your mom gets abused by your dad, and you end up in an abusive relationship yourself because that’s all you know, it’s what you’re used to and you don’t know how to get away from it. That was the story of the women in my family’s lives. The all went through it and couldn’t figure out how to keep the cycle from continuing. I grew up around abuse as well but luckily I learned from some of my family’s mistakes and kept myself from being in an abusive relationship.

    I kept myself involved in many extra-curricular activities while in elementary, middle, and high school and kept my mind focused on the academics of school instead of on having a relationship. Now that I am in college, I have decided to major in psychology so that I can learn the tools I need to help those who grew up, or who are growing up, like I did. I want to help them stop the cycle of abuse so that they can realize their dreams and become something bigger than just “a victim.”

    This is why this story appeals to me the most. Although, I wasn’t in an abusive relationship, I grew up, experienced them second-hand and felt the effects. Instead of letting the effects get to me, I, like the woman in the article, decided to use my experiences to help others like me.

  • Being an African American woman pursuing a undergrad degree in Psychology, and hopefully a Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology later on, hearing about the discrimination she faced solely for being a woman frustrates me. But it also motivates me to become my own boss, write my own checks, and make a bigger impact within the community with my business.

    I have personally been fortunate enough to never have experienced any physical abuse in my lifetime, however, I have been mentally and verbally abused, and it hurts just as much. I found strength and empowerment in being able to walk away from that relationship, as hard as it was. Now I try to focus less on relationships and more on my academics, because I know that my assignments, as stressful as they are, will never harm me in any way. They’re simply there so I can be an amazing Counseling Psychologist one day.

  • I applaud you for overcoming the challenges, pain, struggles, anger, and bitterness that I’m sure such circumstances created for you and doing something so great to help others in need. I have faced similar challenges in my life and it has been hard to regain my hope and strength, but you have given me encouragement. Thank you 🙂

  • I’ve never been a victim of physical domestic violence. Growing up, however, I lived with an emotionally abusive father. I also have many female family members who are, or have been, physically or emotionally abused mainly by their spouse. None of these family members have ever reported this abuse. This is partly what inspired me to look into the Domestic Abuse club at my school, which I plan to join in the spring. Personally I have, as in this story, been looked down upon and treated as inferior simply because of my gender in intellectual and business pursuits. I think women and girls today suffer with extreme self-esteem issues because of gender discrimination. This story inspires me and reminds me of the widespread abuse and pain that women deal with every day in America, and around the world.

  • It is truly amazing how people find their strength by helping others in the same situation.

    I was bullied throughout public school, but there was another student who was mentally ill and was bullied worse that I was. There was a point where she was crying every day at school. So I could not take it that she was bullied for the way she was born, so I helped her by giving her lessons on her school work that she did not understand, told her not to let what other students say to get to her, and became close friends with her. What everyone bulling her did not know is she was being strong at home by taking care of her younger siblings that she did not have the strength to be strong at school. School was her escape from her life at home, even though it wasn’t any better. After her and I became friends, she began getting good grades in school, standing up to people who bullied her, and made a lot of friends.

    Even though I moved away, I still kept in contact with her. She graduated high school without failing a grade and is currently working. She said that if it wasn’t for me, then she would have dropped out of high school at the first chance she had.

    By helping her, it helped me realize my own strength and made me a better person. I think that if it wasn’t for me helping her, that I would have also dropped out of high school the first chance that I got.

  • “Always find the good in the bad and take that with you.” This is what my friend’s father always tells me.

    This is a very inspiring story because it shows how we can take any negative experience and turn it into a positive. My mother started being very abusive when I was 10 years old. This aggression was not only towards me, but also towards my father and my siblings and it did not end until my parents got divorced when I was 16. Being a victim like this counselor made me realize that I wanted something better for my family in the future.

    Although I am only 19 years old now, I am determined to provide a better life for my future family and for myself. I did just as the counselor in this story did: I took the negative experience with the border-line-personality disorder of my mother and turned it into a positive by making myself a better person. While I was still in that situation, I focused on school and did the best I could at the time. I spent the rest of my time cooking for my siblings, cleaning, or studying. I did all I could so that my brother and sister, who were 11 and 12 at the time, could be happy and as unaffected as possible.

    The most positive thing that came out of this experience was that I grew as a person and I know what my goals in life are now and I am willing to work towards those goals. I think that what this counselor accomplished shows us that we can overcome anything and that we can all do great things no matter what our past is.

  • I completely understand. I’m a domestic violence survivor myself. My ex-husband was a military police officer and worked with the police department. He got away with beating the living crap out of me and the kids. He got custody of the kids and their lives has been pure hell. I have been thinking for a long time of opening a center for domestic violence survivors (victims), however looking at becoming non-profit seems like it would be very hard to get donations for the programs the center will provide. To keep funds coming in on a weekly or monthly basis, I believe the center may be for profit. I believe what you are doing is great. I didn’t have anyone on my side or there for me, not even the Domestic Violence Association. They only told me their center was full. I had no where to turn. The courts looked down on me not only because of my race, but the fact I am a woman. I use my experience to help others. I have volunteered at domestic violence centers before, but now people contact me through word of mouth to help others that have been turned down for services elsewhere. I encourage you to keep up the work you are doing. This is helpful for all survivors of domestic violence and discrimination. Believe me, I deal with discrimination everyday because of my race.

  • I can appreciate someone like you who dedicates their life to help others. That is the main reason why I am going into Human Services. Not for the paycheck but for the purpose of helping others. I want to be a professional who helps those in need, because when I was growing up, there were people there for me. I now dedicate my life to children and teens who are at risk. I thank you for your dedication!

  • Discrimination happens everyday. I really enjoyed reading this story, I like listening to my friends when they are haing problems, and I always give them encouragment. I never tell them to do this or to do that, everyone have to make their own choices. I work as a bus driver and I finally decieded that I am 45 years old, and I would like to better myself. I am pusuing my degree in Human Services and I hope that I can help everyone tha I come in contact with.

  • There is tremendous insight provided in this glorious story relayed through an article. A person whom is brave enough-wait, there are no levels of bravery. She is brave for making the choice to step out of the her gripping shadow and atop that, she again made a choice to return for others.

    Selfless acts like this are rare, I know because I too am on a similar path. Working hard, sacrificing a lot and with cancerous determination, I will move the earth. Becoming a medical doctor and founding the NPO for women and children seem all the more worth it after reading an article such as this.

  • I have often experienced discrimination in the workplace as well. As a bisexual, Arab, disabled woman it isn’t hard for someone to find something to hate me for. From terrorist to babydoll, I’ve had them all. But the most important thing isn’t to brush it off and ignore it – we aren’t twelve anymore. It is to fight for your rights to equality. Your tormentors may break you down for something you could never change, but it is up to you to help change the way you are perceived. From media to education to the medical field, we must tear down these limitations set by stereotypes and prove that we are more than just a label. So there’s my rant. 🙂

  • I have had my share of discrimination just this past year. I was a clinical intern this summer and was placed in the nursing floor. Take into consideration that this floor is where are the new born babies are brought right after they have exit the mothers womb. I was instructed to burp and feed the babies along with other duties. I was feeding the baby when the mother comes in and begins complaining, asking why I am touching her baby. She stated something that I yet to forget she said “Why are you touching my baby, man aren’t capable and shouldn’t be allowed to work in the nursery”.
    Not only did she offend my sex by saying we were incapable of handling a baby but also she that we shouldn’t be allowed to work (intern in my case) in the nursery. I felt offended because not only am I on the pre-medicen ladder hoping to become a Pediatrician but because I love children. I felt as horrible that day because I have grown up with the idea of there being no superiority between our sexes and for a mother telling me that I’m incapable of doing something as well as a women really completely offend me. To top it off no one was allowed to feed her baby unless it was a women. Although my discrimination wasn’t in pay nor by my boss I felt inferior.

  • I love this story. I applaud her starting her own business. Sadly, discrimination happens regularly. People will discriminate against her as a woman and as a counselor. Psychological counseling is needed but people are ashamed to ask for help. I can see how she would choose to create a career for herself that is rewarding.

    I have experienced discrimination. I am a minority, a woman, a single mother, and disabled. I was also a ward of the state after an experience with domestic violence that ended with murder. Bouncing from one negative circumstance to another, people assume you do not want a better life or that you do not deserve one. I am in the process of proving them wrong. It took me a while but I have gone back to school. I would like to open a business of my own.

    This story was very inspiring to me. I

  • This story inspires me to continue following my passion to assist victims of abuse and the difference that each of us can make in another individuals life. As a victim of domestic violence, I began a new life in 2008 (age 38) when I determined to leave my abusive husband after almost 10 years of marriage. I walked away from our business, my home, and the life I knew because I honestly began to fear that he would cause me additional bodily harm. The fear that I lived with my last year with him was unbearable as my husband would tell me each day that he wanted to kill (shoot) various individuals and blow up cars, but I knew that I needed to seek the strength and courage to leave him. Several weeks before I left, arrangements were made with the Domestic Violence shelter and the local police. However, because the local police were located 2.5 hours away – they indicated that I would need to wait a few weeks before they could escort me form the premises. The police asked if I could attempt to hide all the weapons on the premises – several guns and a bow/arrow. I had been told by my husband that at least two of the guns were loaded – one on the beside nightstand and another behind the counter of the business.

    My experience has helped me realize that life may have its adversities, but it is how we handle those adversities that can truly make a difference. I determined that I would seek counseling to overcome the abuse, healing mentally was challenging but it also enabled me to meet other victims of abuse. My goal is to obtain a law degree so I may volunteer my assistance to victims of abuse.

  • I really enjoy hearing experiences that have grown out of adversity. I believe it is important to be able to openly share these obstacles openly because so many of us go through life not being given a forum where we can relate and share these experiences.

    Its a beautiful thing when a person can face discrimination and have the courage to challenge the institutions which enforce it. I have been faced with forms of discrimination in employment and education and have chosen not to speak up until recently. I didn’t realize how healing it would be for me. It is also healing, as in your experience I have found myself in the middle of a web of possibilities and I am very grateful for every experience which has forced me to find my voice.

  • Although the experience described above was unfortunate, I am grateful that there are
    people that remain optimistic and will use their experience to motivate them to make a change and give back to others in the community. Unfortunately, discrimination is prevalent in gender, race, age, sexual orientation, religious preference, and many other ways.

    I was diagnosed with glomerulonephritis, which is a form of chronic kidney failure at 16 years old and began hemodialysis in 1999 when I was only 18. After five years of hemodialysis, in 2004 an kidney transplant. I had many complications over the next few years and in 2008 the transplanted kidney rejected and ultimately failed. The rejection resulted in my return to hemodialysis and my health continued to deteriorate. In March 2012, I was granted the
    gift of life again and received my second kidney transplant.

    The entire process of receiving continuous treatment for my illness was excruciating. Throughout dealing with my primary illness of chronic kidney failure and being on hemodialysis three times a week for four hours each treatment, other health complications began to
    arise. I experienced pericardial effusion, pulmonary edema, and even a potential tumor on my thyroid scare along with more than three dozen hospitalizations and surgeries. I struggled to remain optimistic and go on at times but never quit. My continuum of care team were detrimental to me staying motivated to continue my journey to be healthy. The team and other health care professionals kept in contact with me over the years and truly empathized what I was experiencing. As a result of all these circumstances that I experienced, I have been inspired to continue my education and pursue a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Health Administration with a concentration in Management.

    With achieving my bachelor’s degree, I want to educate others of the importance of
    preventative health care and how to take care of their health proactively and to know that they have the potential to live a full and productive life regardless of the diagnoses or circumstances.
    I strive to be either a Certified Nurse Specialist (CNS) or Physician Assistant (PA in both a hospital and an office setting. I will interact individually with them so they know that I personally understand what they are experiencing. With my CNS or PA degree, I also strive to be
    part of a transplant coordination team so I may pass on the gift of life and share my story as encouragement to others. It took me a total of nine years of dialysis, multiple surgeries, and over 16 years of living with this disease to reach this point of solace in my. I am truly grateful to have had this experience, which I attribute as my greatest life lesson. This has inspired me to use my gift of life to guide and assist others. I also strive to develop a non-profit organization where I can assist as an advocate for patients’ rights. Specifically with insurance benefits, treatment plans, and quality of care.

  • I found this article to be very encouraging. It is a realistic perspective of what goes into counseling. As a college student going to school to become a counselor, this article was very insightful of what to do school wise and in the real world. Learning about women in the work force women do face a lot of discrimination and it is heart breaking to hear that women still face discrimination, even when they are trying to help others. I want to be a family counselor or a teenage to college age counselor. Families and teen are exposed to drugs, alcohol, and physical abuse. Being a counselor would be a great honor to offer family and teen life solutions.

  • Psychology is a broad field of study. It’s amazing how psychologists have the abilities of help people mentally harmed, which is important for the humans daily well functioning. I believe we have to work with what we love, regardless of the money you will make. It rewards come with the pleasure the you will find in your work.

  • This article hits close to home for me. I am a survivor of domestic violence and have sworn to help others in the fight against violence. I am working on my Master’s degree at the beautiful age of 40. I have five children and they are all in their wonderful teen years. I have learned the only person in life who will make you truly happy is yourself. Taking care of yourself first and pursuing your dreams is mandatory for success.

  • This situation reminds me so much of my mother and what she has gone through in life. She used to hold a position at a doctor’s office as a medial filer. Through problems with her male boss she ended up quitting the job and remained unemployed for a couple of months as I remember. I think I was only in second grade.

    After the loss of her job my mother stayed at home with me and my four other siblings. Not only was she feeling useless but my step dad made it known…in front of her children as well. He continuously talked down to her and made her feel like she did not contribute anything to the relationship. Pretty soon he got violent.

    My mother was stuck. She had lost her motivation, her spark. It was terrible to see that happening to someone I had looked up to for the majority of my life. She was unemployed, depressed, and had 5 kids. The house looked like a disaster site and all my mother did was sleep all day. I can’t even remember how many days of school I missed that year.

    Unfortunately, my mother never came out of her slump. She would get a job and quit it, start school and quit it. She never followed through with anything. My dad got custody of me in the third grade and my mother and I’s relationship has been scarce ever since. She has finally been taken to a battered women shelter and I have nothing but love and support for her even though she lacked that for me and my siblings. This story really touched me because it gives me hope that maybe my mom will go back to the mother that I knew and loved as a little wide-eyed girl in elementary school. It gives me hope that she will learn to love herself.

  • I am a domestic violence survivor. Not once but twice! Currently I work as a school bus driver but I am going to school to get my bachelors degree in accounting. I have over the years from experience be able to spot when someone in in a violent relationship and have helped them get out. I am hoping that once I get my accounting degree that I had work with other domestic violence survivors become independent and assist them with starting their own business, at least the accounting aspect of it. I feel if you can provide a woman with the right tools you empower them to do and be what ever they want to. I also, like you, believe that you need to do what makes you happen. If you are not happy in a job, no matter what it pays, you will never feel fulfilled and accomplished.
    I have 4 kids, two of which are now adults (boys) and have always encouraged them to do what they dream of doing not just because it pays well. You have one life and it is up to you how you live it so you might as well be happy! Both of my boys have gone on to college and graduated and have successful careers. I have 2 daughter that I am encouraging just as I did with them. My boys in turn encouraged ME to go back to school and to do what a preach and follow my dream.

  • What people don’t realize is that discrimination is still around in the United States. I don’t understand how men and women have the same job but still not equal to me it is like going back to minorities being treated differently. I’m amazed that this lady has taken some horrific and turned it into a positive outcome in helping others.

  • This article was truly inspiring. I am a domestic violence survivor. I spent 16 years in a marriage that stripped me of my self esteem and self worth. I was only 17 when I met him. I was young and naive and unable to recognize the signs to look for in a batterer. After leaving the marriage, I was completely broken inside. It took me six years to pull myself together and to feel human again. It is difficult to put into words how that experience changed me. I have this strong desire to help others who are in the same situation as I was. I have been through 40 hours of crisis intervention training in an effort to volunteer at the local domestic violence crisis hotline. I believe that if I can help one person, everything I went through will have a purpose. If it weren’t for non-profit organizations like the ones in my community I may not be alive today. Their counselors and advocates are an invaluable resource to our community.

    A year ago I went back to school full time. I am thriving like I never dreamed I was capable of. When someone strips the very essence of your being from you, you are made to feel worthless and incapable of achieving anything. That is what my batterer did to me. So when I received an invitation to join the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society because of my high GPA, it felt surreal. I thought, “They have to be mistaken. I am worthy of that recognition.” But they weren’t mistaken and I was worthy! I managed to sustain a 3.75 GPA and my local community college and as a result, I was recently accepted to a private university and granted a distinguished scholar award. This was a defining moment for me. I am majoring in criminal justice. Why? Because I want to help people like me. I want to advocate for abused women and children. I am hoping to enter into law school once I complete my bachelors so I can be a resource to all those victims that need a voice in our judicial system.

  • Trying to contact Suzanne Leboeuf Lake Stevens I am Larry Jan Moser Jr SSN#166-60-9583 FBI# 163986HB3 a victim world wide known of satellite surveillance EMF monitoring Neurophone harrassment and radiation test via satellite I have mind control over me the public is using and State and County Corrections and Police since In was SIX years old used to live as a child at 2335 Long Run Road Lehighton PA 18235 and I was in Prison set up at SCI Mahanoy PA , SCI Albion, SCI Fayette PA maxed out May 12, 2012 no being set up I have no money boycotted from jobs the public is using it to communicate with each other from a distance when I am near I came near death many times health or other my address 218 White Street Apt. top Wiessport , PA 18235 or P.O. BOX 443 Lehighton Pa18235 Phone 484-274-2433 and 484-294-0611 my old inmate number only inmate number WAS DV-1733 for State Prison.

  • This story truly touches my heart. Every time I hear of a woman who has not only survived a domestic violence situation, but thrives, I feel inspired. For fifteen years of my life I lived in a mentally and physically abusive relationship. To make matters worse I worked in a field where I counseled women to leave domestic violence situations, so I often felt ashamed for being a hypocrit. No matter what happened I always thought things would get better until my life and the lives of my children were threatened.

    When I packed the car and drove away late one night, all that I could hear was his voice in my ear telling me that I would never succeed without him. Hearing experiences like this one give me hope and help me to believe that I can move on and get better. I had to move across the country to feel safe enough to go on, and now I am attending college. Every day that I wake up and go to class is a triumph for me, and I would never have been able to do it without the support of people like you who help to counsel survivors of domestic violence.

    Thank you for being brave and setting a wonderful example of what possibilities lie ahead!

  • This story speaks to me because the counselor was not only helping her community; she has become an advocate and voice for others. She is an inspiration to many. I hope I can achieve, touch, and encourage people’s lives, as this story did for me.

  • I find this article to be accurate, and inspiring. I am going into the Social work profession and I want to work with women and children. I currently volunteer at a facility that cares for sex trafficked young women. I use my past as a motivator. This article was a good read, well written and very motivational. It is hard to read stories from others who have gone through similar ordeals. The writer took her past and turned it around to make it a strength.

    There is a lot of discrimination in the work place, even though there are laws in place to avoid such discrimination it still happens on a daily basis. The writter took the proper steps, even though she was not able to make it to the appointments she still had the courage to go to begin with. I am an Arab-christian and I too have been a victim of discrimination in the work place. Not getting the same amount of pay as my co-workers and having the harder jobs then the rest.

    One day hopfully soon when I gradate with my BSW dagree I can also be an advocate for those in need, both in my community and in others.

  • I don’t think anyone should be discouraged or discriminated in any way. we might not agree in some things but that doesn’t make us better person than others. I struggle with the career I’m studying (Human Services), because I will graduate very young, and that might make my future client’s feel uncomfortable. I don’t think people’s capacity is measured on the years they have been alive but rather the time and effort they put into achieving they degree, dream or whatever they want to achieve.

  • When I was a child, I was harassed almost every day for x amount of years by my two cousins who were living with my mother and I. Every day they would shove me, throw things at me, take my things and hide them, mock me, manipulate me and intimidate me. They were brothers so they formed an alliance against me even though I never did anything to antagonize them. It was merely because I was a girl, and I was weaker than them. To them, it was just “rough housing” because that was how they “played” with each other, but I was only a small girl who could not defend myself. My mother would work during the day and not come home until late at night so even though she tried to punish the bullying behavior, she could not physically protect me as it was happening.

    Every day, I was terrified to come home. I hated being home. I hated being the victim of every joke, every mockery. I was treated like a punchline and not a human being. I felt hopeless, helpless, scared and alone. Eventually, they moved out and things returned back to normal. I felt comfortable and safe in my own home again. I hated that this happened to me, but I was grateful that it was not worse. I was grateful I was not the victim of extreme physical or sexual abuse, but it got me thinking about how so many children are, and how nobody would know or be able to help them.

    Today, there are millions and millions of human trafficking and sex trafficking victims all over the globe, including our own cities. I believe human trafficking, in all its forms, is the worst thing that can happen to a human being. They are being deprived of their basic human rights. Their cries go unheard, and time cannot erase the pain and oppression they must endure every single day.

    I know what it feels like to be stuck in a place where you feel helpless. I know what it feels like to believe you truly have no one. I know what it feels like to cry yourself to sleep waiting for someone or something to come save you. I know what it feels like to be taken advantage of because of my stature, my gender, etc.

    I am currently double majoring in psychology and mass communication, with a concentration in public relations. I hope to one day work with non-profit organizations to help eradicate human trafficking, specifically sex trafficking. Using my mass communication degree, I want to help create campaigns and fundraisers to raise awareness and to help fund rescue missions. Using my psychology degree, I want to counsel, uplift and empower survivors of trafficking.

    The world is an ugly, scary place, and the only way we can start making a difference is by helping one person at a time.

  • This story is so inspiring, it made me think of my mom. My mom went through so much after she married my dad. My mom was physically and emotionally beat in so many ways by my dad. While we were growing up she never let her situation get in between raising me and my 2 siblings. She did a great job doing it alone for a long long time. Even though my parents went through alot 32 years later and they are still married. My mom always believed that my dad would change. He did change but it took him many years, and some jail time to do so. My mom is one of the strongest, bravest person I have ever known and because of her strength it made be who I am today.

  • My father was in the U.S. Army for twenty years, therefore being a military household our family had
    to deal with the stress of constant relocation and had to overcome many obstacles. One of which was the nature of my parents’ extremely abusive relationship. I am the youngest of four daughters, but often found myself feeling alone especially once my older sisters moved out of our home at very early
    ages. There were times that as the circumstances grew worse, slowly but surely, it felt as if our family was
    falling apart. On April 26, 2012, my parents got into a violent domestic dispute. At the end of that day, my father had knife wounds on his face, hands, and legs, and my mother sustained a fracture in her spine. I would love to say this was just one bad day, but unfortunately this day was much like many other days in my household.

    Growing up in such circumstances has given me not only more motivation, but more understanding as
    well. As a psychology student, I want to help young adults going through such hard times to know that they’re not alone, that they have someone to go to, someone who can really help. I know that at times I felt as if the weight of the world was on my shoulders and that I had to just deal with my situation and take care of everything on my own. I wish I had known that there was someone for me to go to, someone I could confide in and that could understand what I was going through. Given that I was the only child left in the house, I found myself maturing much faster than some of my peers and stepping up to help my parents however I was able. Over the years, I have helped my family pick up the pieces and more or less start over.

    Overall, it is not only our life experiences that ultimately shape us into who we are today, it is our choices. What we choose to make of our life experiences, whether good or bad, is what really
    counts. In my life so far, I have been most impacted by some of the harder times, but I have made the choice to take the good and grow from these experiences. In due course, it is about learning from our mistakes of the past, and being able to make better choices for the future.

  • People like her shed light upon our true strength and state. It is when people let the fear of being hurt again control them, that they themselves become the hand which strikes. This women understood that through her pain she had a relatability that could help others in a scared and suffering state.

    When I was younger my father passed away, and my mother remarried. The new relationship was stressed because he was in the Navy. It wasn’t until he was home full time that things escalated. The man she married was abusive and mentally unstable. It was a fearful state my mother and I were living in and he would do everything from hit us, to deadbolt our electrical box after shutting off our electricity so we would be without t until he deemed it appropriate for us to be with electricity again.

    It wasn’t until my younger brother was born that I gathered myself together. I was 11 when he was born, and with this new innocence I felt a surge of strength. I fought back for my brother’s sake. I wanted my brother to have a real childhood, one that I did not get to experience. Then I started learning about other children who weren’t being allowed a childhood because they were forced into working or sold into slavery. I started volunteering for the Forgach house in Sierra Vista. A local house for battered and abused women. I played piano for the Buena High School Show Band and we raised thousands of dollars for the Forgach House.

    I also went to Ecuador for three weeks to help build a school and clean water system for the village of San Miguel. It was there were I was truly inspired, and learned that every purchase we make is a vote. I made the change within myself to place attention and care into every purchase I made from clothing to food. I do not want to support and corporations which are abusing people or our world. I support local businesses and farmers markets, and make sure my apparel is sweatshop free. I have poured hours into research about companies and their practices, and am pursuing a degree in Linguistics and Global Studies where I hope to work for a non-profit and continue fighting against child labor. In general I simply want peace.

    My mother finally divorced my ex-stepfather. And instead of him being the father that he should have been, especially after my real dad passed away he served as more of a flame for me which burned me. I understand why things have happened though, through self-discovery. The dark moments of my past are beautiful because they have allowed me to see the light. We must not fear vulnerability, it is what makes us human, it is what unites us. The world exists in duality. I have found the balance in my life, and now that I know who I am my actions will pursue my passions.

    I will end this in the words of Martin Luther King Jr., “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that”. I have not learned this with my mind, but felt it with my heart.

  • I was physically abused as a child. My mother having three children and being beaten by my father, took us all out of state to get away from my father. Despite my mother’s best intentions, she was not able to really talk and understand my thoughts as a child. She was also full of anger and hate for some races.
    I grew up wanting to be understood and wanting to understand others, so that the things that happened in my life would not occur again.

    I’ve spent the last 10 years, from age 18 to 28, working to get my bachelors degree in psychology. I have just recently been accepted into a Masters program in Counseling psychology. My goal, is still the same. I want to help people help themselves. I want to allow people to understand themselves as well as those in there lives. I want to prevent hate and abuse, distrust and fear, along with manipulation and suffering.

    After my first 2 years at a small private college, I was not able to pay for tuition any loner and I had to leave school for the following 6 years, only to graduate this past December. I have strayed off my path, but I find myself wiser and better equipped to fulfill my dream. I wish to protect people from their fear and anger of life and themselves. I wish to help them grow from the scared little boy I used to be, into the confident adult I have eventually become. I wish to give them the tools which they can pass on to their children, and their children’s children. Like the author of the original article. I wish to make the world a better place.

  • I can very much relate to this story. I was married at the age of 21 and came from a pretty broken home. I saw abuse all my life and didn’t know anything different. When I got married, I married into abuse. My ex husband was abusive on every level and we were married for 3 years. I didn’t have very much self worth and was very insecure. I tried to go to school while I was married and well that didn’t work out. After getting divorced I decided to go to college not really sure what to expect. I didn’t go to school much when i was younger so college was very scary to me. Now that I’m in school I absolutely love it!

    I am now working on my Bachelor’s degree in Social Work. I have a huge passion for helping at-risk youth in the community I live in and plan to go into other countries. I am working on a program right now that reaches out to youth all year long. My goal is to start a non-profit that will provide services for inner-city children. Reading this story gives me great hope for success!

  • I can relate to this story in some ways, I have been in a 27 year marriage to a man that abused me verbally, mentally, and physically. I was ready to die and give up once my kids were grown, but it was the loss of respect from my kids that helped me find that last bit of fight deep within me to plan my escape. I did get away but ran with ending the marriage with no financial help at all it was the only way I new to keep him from following me and harassing me. I also left state, but finding a job has been very hard and with that I have also experienced job harassment.
    I have and do work to the best I can in any job description I get, I go above an beyond I work hard and with that it seems the supervisors today do not want people that are smart and can pick things up quickly they want people that will not understand well and never question things to achieve a better or more efficient way. I have experienced supervisors working things in such a way in order to get rid of others: as well as, myself they work it so that it makes you look like the trouble maker always writing up the target for anything that they can get away with until so many write ups are done they fire you.
    I have also had supervisors take credit for my work thinking I did not know they took the credit. I have had pressure put on me to a breaking point in order to force me to quit all because they felt threatened in me taking their job. I did not want their job I just did my work to the best of my ability and with that would find errors they would make and brought it to their attention which got me in trouble for doing so.
    I am not in school working towards a Health Administration B.S. degree I hope look at this story as inspiration if this lady can make it and bring a positive to not only her life but to others. I also strive for the same because of my age I would like very much to help others younger than me to understand working to the best of your ability and giving good attention to your patients is more important than the office gossip that is going on, to take pride in their selves and their work. To know your job above and beyond that is what I hope to bring to others.

  • My mother was a victim of domestic violence. I grew up seeing her and my father argue all of the time. The summer before I started college, my father became physically violent with my mother which resulted in her finally filing for divorce. Though I was not the direct victim of the violence I saw how devastating it was to my mother and to me and my siblings who often witnessed the discontent between my parents. I can definitely see the good in what this woman is doing. I think that women who have been abused or victimized need a support system to turn to and I think that it’s great that this non profit offers that.

    I hope to one day be able to take my experience with domestic violence and be able to use it to help and educate others. I think it would be great to maybe work as a peer counselor to help other kids who have been affected by a bad home situation. This article has inspired me to look for ways that I can take action in my community and make a difference.

  • I’ve always held myself to this one rule: The world owes you nothing. You owe yourself everything. I’ve put myself through seven years of martial arts because I owed it to myself to be strong and capable of standing up for myself. I’ve never experienced physical abuse and for that I am very grateful. That training has also given me the empowerment and will to stand up for others.

    I want to use my studies in psychology in the service of human rights in South America with an organization called the International Justice Mission. IJM’s goal is to aid the impoverished of South America who are often voiceless in the aftermath of violent oppression and are denied the protection of their legal systems. I want to be able to provide counsel to these victims of human rights abuse and sex trafficking.

    Hers is such a heartening story. She’s a very strong woman to not have let what happened to her make her hard and bitter, but instead to have turned her pain into a mission to help other victims.

  • I can relate a lot with the the counselor that was interviewed. My major is psychology and I want to become a clinical psychologist. I am working on my bachelor’s degree and I will be in school until I get my PhD. My long term goal is to own my own counseling center for people of all ages.

    As an African American Woman, I have learned from the counselor that becoming a psychologist won’t be easy because of my gender and ethnicity. Because of this, I have become even more focused on becoming an entrepreneur. I have personally experienced discrimination throughout my life and I want to create a counseling organization where employees wont be underpaid or mistreated because of their race or gender.

    What I really like about the counselor is that she created her business because the format she wanted wasn’t happening at her other jobs. She didn’t let her gender, age, or being sexually assaulted stop her from her dreams. I believe that boundaries are only boundaries if we allow them to stop us. She was courageous enough to endure no matter what.

  • Thank you so much for sharing your story. It’s amazing that when you communicate you get hear experiences that are so similar to yours. What your story does is give me hope. My goal is to open up a program as well to assist women that are going through the struggle. I did sound a women’s support group that meets on a monthly basis and I do have resources but I want more. The best way for me to do that is to get an education and apply every thing I have learned to ensure success.

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