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 that has hearts of gold). I have memories of living across the street from my grandparents and my mom’s siblings at a young age, probably 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 thinking why does this keep happening? I have memories of sitting in the back seat with my sister as my mom drove my grandmother to the Emergency Room many times. My young brain thinking, “why does this keep happening and why does she stay?”
I know my parents did their best to shelter my sister and I to what was going on across the street and in subsequent years, but we could feel it, we could see it. We knew my parents were there to help and support my grandmother and the younger children still living in the house, all while raising two young girls themselves.
Through the years I realized, while raising my own children, how much strength it took my mom and dad to be there for my grandmother and raise two healthy children 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 years of abuse that happened way before I came along.
My mom was centered pretty much in the middle of 11 siblings. Siblings ranging within a span of 30 years, so the abuse was continuous.
My grandfather was a great manipulator to the outside world. Always dressed in dress slacks with a belt and a button-up and stood at 6’4”, he always put on a front with everyone outside of the house.
People really thought he was a truly upstanding guy. However, behind closed doors was an entirely different man and he abused regularly the ones he supposedly loved.
My grandmother passed away almost 30 years ago and I know the abuse had something to do with it. My grandfather just passed about 6 years ago and at the end of his life, he stopped drinking and realized what he had done was very wrong all of those years. He already left many scars on his children though that they would have to deal with throughout their lives.
My mom, now in her 60’s is just now little by little opening up and sharing with me more details of the abuse. She has just scratched the surface of the abuse I know, I can feel it, I can see it in her eyes and what I have heard so far is unfathomable.
I feel blessed in that my mom and dad broke that cycle and my sister and I had a great healthy upbringing.
One that made me compare in my head the abuse that I knew was going on across the street was not normal and again the question,” why do people stay?” I went on in my 40’s after raising 4 children to get certified to go into the Domestic Violence shelters with that lingering question, and the one thing that I learned pretty quickly is that there is no one reason that a survivor stays.
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. And some are exposed to live with all of the above, among many, many other reasons. All which leave the abuser with the upper hand.
So you can see how easy it would be to feel like you have no choice as a survivor but to stay.
That’s why Hopefull Handbags Global a 501(c)3 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 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 their life and success in this life is limitless. A reminder that our past does not dictate our future.
I know I speak for my sister too 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 when we had to learn a lesson they were there when we began to fall to help us get back on our feet. Our parents were always very open with my sister and I and 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, we take donated once loved Handbags, fill them with necessities and other amazing things to make women feel amazing. We are here to give the survivors of Domestic Violence and other detrimental situations Hope. Hope to let them know that we are rooting for them.
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.
Hopefull Handbags has also just started a pilot program in St. Augustine, our Corporate Global Headquarter, at the Betty Griffin Shelter for abuse survivors called, The Hopefull Handbags Closet. This is a business center closet that Hopefull Handbags sponsors that houses once loved business attire, shoes and accessories so these amazing ladies will feel hope and confidence as they go out on their job interviews. Along with an amazing handbag of course.
We also have businesses that are partnering with Hopefull Handbags that are ready to give these survivors a job temporarily and if it is a good fit, the potential to stay on and move up. These are amazing organizations that will give them the chances they may have never had the opportunity to have before.
SO, as you can see, it is more than just a Handbag.
There are also men that are survivors of Domestic Violence.
This does happen and there are so many reasons why the men stay in abusive relationships as well. As stated above, threats are a huge part and they feel that leaving is not an option. There is help and support out there for them as well. Just reach out.
Because my parents are also very passionate about bringing awareness to Domestic Violence my mom is on the Board of Directors of Hopefull Handbags and cleans, fills and delivers handbags weekly.
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 and 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 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.