Your childhood does not define you.
Your clothes do not define you.
Your parents do not define you.
Your illness does not define you.
Your relationships do not define you.
Your car, house or material things do not define you.
What others have done to you does not define you.
Your job does not define you.
Your crisis, unmanageability, addiction or craziness does not define you.
UNLESS YOU CHOOSE TO LET IT.
The choices you make, from this moment on, define you.
You are capable of making healthy choices, surrounding yourself with people that bring out the best in you. You are brave and inspired. You can choose to do the hard work of taking a fearless personal self inventory. You can choose to take personal responsibility for change. You can choose LIFE without abuse in any form. You can choose to define yourself. And when you decide to make those choices…we will be there…24/7/365…by your side…You have to choose.
Stepping Stones Agencies provides 24/7/365 live advocacy to women and their children who have experienced intimate violence in any form, not just physical violence. We respond to emotional abuse, verbal abuse, economic abuse, intellectual abuse, and sexual abuse, with the same unconditional, multi-dimensional, strategic support as we do with physical violence. While intimate violence in all forms requires an immediate law enforcement and criminal justice intervention, it must also be accompanied by something far beyond that if we are ever to make permanent changes.
Intimate violence is complex and has deep, systemic issues that must be addressed. First, we must uphold a victim’s rights and validate their traumatizing experiences. But our advocates skillfully walk a fine line: addressing the victimization while also working with a person to courageously look at those issues that they can actually work to change. This really does take a lot of courage. We in no way blame the victim for what has happened to them, but we carefully examine, with them, those issues that may be keeping them vulnerable to abuse. For a victim to make a conscious decision to do the hard work necessary to truly change their lives and live free from all forms of victimization is HUGE! How many of us, under normal circumstances, are willing to seriously look at our own problems? Our own money unmanageability, overeating, hoarding, prescription drug abuse, or other substance abuse? Now consider addressing these issues in the midst of an overwhelming barrage of verbal, emotional, physical or even sexual violence. This is what a victim of intimate violence needs to do in order to truly become empowered to take their life back, be willing to shed their victim posture and live free. As I said, it is a difficult choice to make even under the best of circumstances.
All of us here at Stepping Stones celebrate their bravery, are grateful for their willingness to trust us and honor their choice to make a better life for themselves and their children. We invite you to learn more about the specialized services offered at Stepping Stones. And, if necessary, please encourage the people you love to make the choice to call our advocates…
IT’S A BIG DECISION TO MAKE THAT LITTLE CALL.
-Robin C. Burke, CEO on behalf of the Board of Directors, staff, volunteers and all those we serve.