KANSAS CITY, Mo. — On Saturday, Nov. 18, Newhouse KC will host its annual 'Imagine a Day' gala to raise awareness about domestic abuse.
I'm honored to co-emcee the event again this year with Darron Story.
The organization's goal is to shatter the barriers that feed the cycle of abuse and for all people to live a life free of domestic violence. I spoke with a survivor yesterday who was with her abuser for 30 years. She will be among the attendees of the gala this Saturday.
She wanted her identity hidden to protect her children, but she mentioned how this gala allows her to meet other survivors, find her voice and advocate for yourself.
"Everybody's journey looks different, but I think ultimately what each of those journeys look like, is an awakening," she said. "Coming to yourself and understanding of what is normal and healthy and what's not and moving towards healthy."
She says this will always be a process and a journey, but when she meets other survivors, it helps her to continue to find her voice and share her story.
Her advice to anyone who may be in an abusive relationship is to find a safe person.
"Oftentimes, a lot of survivors deal with people asking them why they stay, rather than asking why (the abusers) abuse," she said. "It's just important to find that safe person that will truly help you unpeel the layers, and get to where you're safe to leave and whatever that looks like for you."
She mentioned therapy also helped save her life.
"I was really feeling quite suicidal at one point and was talking to my counselor about that and she was like, 'I wonder why suicide seems like an option, but divorce doesn't,'" she said. "That really hit me. That's always really stuck with me, like why is it that I would think that that would be an option, but leaving wouldn't be."
She said it got to a point where leaving was no longer an option, it was something she absolutely had to do.
She iterated that what someone may know about a couple on the outside, is not necessarily the whole story.
"Abuse is not always physical, in fact, I would venture to guess that more often than not it isn't," she said. "So there's a lot of abuse that happens that's verbal and psychological and manipulation and control that nobody else would know because a lot of times these abusers are charismatic and charming people."
She wants people to know abuse isn't always physical, that abuse is abuse, and it can be traumatizing with how it presents itself.
Tickets for the gala are sold out, however, if you'd like to learn more about their mission and get involved, click here.