A few months ago I decided I wanted to interview people who had experienced Domestic Violence and tell their story. I have told pieces of my story and I felt like it was a way for me to reach more people, to show people all the different forms of Domestic Violence. My friend Danielle, with her own tumultuous history, was dealing very presently with her abusive ex and was at an impasse on what to do. She knew she wanted to help, to give back, to do something using her creative medium but as a photographer didn’t quite know what or how.
We met for coffee and the idea to work together came so organically we just knew we had to. The how we would work together began to formulate within each of us. We decided we would go together to these interviews, I would write the stories, and she would photograph them. (Turns out she is also a great editor, which was a perfect fit since as a
writer conversationalist, I mostly do just that.) We both understand the need for discretion in these situations, both in writing and in pictures, and feel we also have the empathy and compassion many of these victims rarely receive. In fact, after one of our meetings with a survivor that was particularly heavy, we both sat in the car for a few minutes just to come to terms with what we had just heard. I turned to Danielle and said, “if we ever do not feel this weight in responsibility, if we ever become numb to this, we need to stop immediately.” These situations are riddled with pain and loss, despair and chaos, but sometimes, they also have the outcome of survival, hope, and recovery.
For myself, writing someone else’s story is a huge honor, but also a great undertaking. Telling the truths about a painful past is hard but writing about someone else’s past involves understanding what happened, speaking it honestly and fully, not missing important details, capturing their pain and most importantly, their survival process. Doing the stories justice has proven I am a typical perfectionist Virgo, and I am often unsure I will ever feel my words significantly and directly validate all of their stories.
I have been working on this first story for months, and will release it shortly, hopefully tomorrow. My hope is that it helps anyone in need, that it sheds light on the epidemic of Domestic Violence, that it gets you thinking and talking about it. We have been using the hashtag FoDV, the faces of domestic violence are often what you see every single day and never know. We are all colors, shapes, backgrounds, lifestyles, status’s, there is no group untouched.
I am proud to share this journey with Danielle. We discovered in this process how bonded we are. We all are. Survivors understand. We are never alone in healing, coping, and surviving. There is hope.
This is us.
P.S. If you would like to share your story, anonymously or not, please reach out. We would love to talk to you.