Updated: 5 days ago
Bringing awareness to Domestic Violence is close to my heart...You see, my mother grew up in a home where there was a lot of abuse. My grandmother, my mom and her siblings were the targets regularly of physical and mental abuse from my grandfather.
My mom gave birth to me at the age of 15; my dad was 17 (they are still an amazing couple with hearts of gold!!). I still have young memories of living across the street from my grandparents and my mom’s youngest siblings who were about 5 years old.
Each time an abusive episode would happen, my mom would run across the street and send her two younger siblings that were close to mine and my sister's age to our house to wait.
I remember looking through the chain-link fence and hearing yelling and chaos and kept thinking to myself, "Why does this keep happening?"
I do have memories of sitting in the back seat with my sister and my young aunt and uncle as my mom drove my grandmother to the Emergency Room many times.
Everything from broken bones to concussions. My young brain kept thinking, “Why does this keep happening and why does my grandmother put up with this?...Why does she go back?"
I knew my parents did their best to shelter my sister and I to what was going on across the street. But we could see it. We knew our parents were there to help and support my grandmother and her younger children still living in the house... but my grandmother still stayed... My parents were already working and raising two young girls themselves!
Through the years, I realized, whilst raising children of my own, how much strength it took for my mom and dad to be there for my grandmother and raise two healthy children of their own to have a glass half full mentality! (We still hold this mentality today and I am very grateful for my mom and dad for that).
There were so many times my mom was centered pretty much in the middle of 11 siblings!
My mother's siblings age ranged from as old as 30 years!.. So the abuse was lengthy. My grandfather was also a great manipulator to the outside world. He always dressed in nice slacks with a belt and a button-up. He stood at tall at 6’4”and always put on a front with everyone outside of the house. People really thought he was a truly upstanding guy. However, behind closed doors, he was an entirely different man. He regularly abused the ones he supposedly loved.
My grandmother passed away almost 30 years ago... I know the abuse had something to do with it.
My grandfather passed away about 6 years ago and it was only at the end of his life
he stopped drinking and realized what he had done was very wrong all of those years!
He left many scars on his children that they would have to deal with throughout their lives.
But I know that both of my grandparents are watching over me and encouraging me to raise awareness to Stop Domestic Violence - to educate and also let women know that there is Hope, Help, and Support globally and that the first step is to reach out....
I always wonder, "If my grandmother knew that there was a safe place to reach out to... that would not judge her...meet her where she was... allow her to begin where she is... and permit her and her children to stay so they wouldn't have grown up in such horrible, physical and emotional environment," if it would have made a difference
My mom is now in her 60’s and is little by little opening up and sharing with me more details of the abuse. My mom only just scratched the surface of the abuse... I know... I can feel it.. I can see it in her eyes... and I know what I have heard so far is unfathomable.
I feel blessed that my mom and dad broke that cycle! That my sister and I had a great and healthy upbringing.
However the question, "Why do people stay?" kept recycling in my mind and I classified the abuse that I knew was going on across the street as not normal.
After raising 4 children, I went on in my 40’s to get certified to be a Domestic Violence Advocate and went into the shelters with that lingering question. The one thing that I learned pretty quickly is that there is no one reason that a survivor stays! But one thing they all have in common is that they have an unhealthy Self-Perception- They do not think very much of themselves.
The survivors of abuse are literally and figuratively beaten down!
They no longer believe their worth in this world and are very manipulated. Some even stay because the abuser will threaten the survivor to harm or take the children. Some children are threatened to stay quiet or their moms will be harmed and or killed. Some have no access to money and some are forcefully made to take drugs. Some are exposed to live with all of the above! Among many, many other reasons. All of which leaves the abuser with the upper hand. Domestic Violence is not just bruises that you can see. Do you see how easy it would be to feel like you have no choice as a survivor but to stay?
That’s why the Hopefull Handbags Global a 501(c)3 Global Charity organization was started. To give hope to the survivors and raise awareness. Raise awareness that Domestic Violence is NOT OK, it happens in all socioeconomic backgrounds and that the children are detrimentally affected as well. To open the conversation so that those still in abusive situations feel safe and confident to reach out for help. To let the survivors know that there is help and support out there. There is help and support that will help them create a safety plan. A plan to help them get out when they are ready. A plan to get them and their children to safety. Help them know that they deserve a life of success and this life is limitless. A reminder that our past does not dictate our future.
Hopefull Handbags is now functioning in the USA, Canada, Australia, Africa and launching in the UK in 2021. If you would like to get involved in any way please go here.
I know I speak for my sister in saying, "We feel blessed to have been raised by two parents that are always helping others. Two parents that always praised my sister and I for doing good things and helping others!" It was what was expected of us because it is a win-win for everyone! When we had to learn a lesson, they were there and when we began to fall they were there to help us get back on our feet! Our parents were always very open with my sister and I. They would tell us when they would see something unhealthy for us in any situation.
I know that this allowed me to blossom with limitless possibilities and Hopefull Handbags is here to spread that very hope!!
Hope helps us get over the hump...
and there have been many times in my life where that very hope changed my life!
At Hopefull Handbags, donated once loved Handbags are filled with necessities and other things to make women feel amazing! We are here to give the survivors of Domestic Violence and other situations Hope. Hope to let them know that we are rooting for them. We are setting up Programs and soon Shelters and more resource centers.
We will get you to the resources and the organizations that are already set up to help you get to safety and begin a life that is limitless.
We have workshops and programs available in local areas and globally for our survivors and the power of video conferencing has made that possible.
Soooo, as you can see, it is more than just a Handbag!
There are also men that are survivors of Domestic Violence.
This does happen. There are so many reasons why the men stay in abusive relationships as well. But similarly to women, threats are a huge part and they feel that leaving is not an option. There is help and support out there for men as well... Just reach out!!
My parents are also very passionate about bringing awareness to Domestic Violence!
My mom is on the Board of Directors of Hopefull Handbags and leads our Volunteer and Hopefull Handbag Distributions. My dad is on the Board of a local organization MADV (Men Against Domestic Violence). MADV is focused on discussing strategies and solutions to break the vicious cycle of domestic violence. It calls on men to come together to help stop domestic and sexual violence!
We thank all of the people and organizations that support Hopefull Handbags, Non-Profit as well as the organizations that are there to support the survivors of Domestic Violence in so many ways.
Together we can do this…
President and Founder of Hopefull Handbags, Inc. Global