Why AVA? Thirty years ago I went from a strong-willed stubborn girl who grew up knowing that I could do or be anything I wanted, to a wife and mother made to feel incapable of doing anything right or making a decision…a nobody. I was told I would never amount to anything or be able to support myself or my kids. I was stuck. What happened? How did I get in this situation?
There is a lot more to the story, but let’s just say that I was one of the lucky ones. I was finally able to see what was happening and get out. As the years went by I found friends in similar or worse situations and searched for ways to help. The public was becoming aware of the term domestic violence but it was still thought to be only in “poor neighborhoods.” I came across a volunteer organization with the Seattle Police Department that addressed the immediate needs of domestic violence (DV) victims (e.g., a safe place to stay, resources that can help, etc.) and immediately became a volunteer.
At a women’s event for my church I mentioned my role with DV victims to the group. While the majority of the group thought that it was a great thing I was doing they didn’t think it fit in with what the women’s group was trying to accomplish – the “that doesn’t happen in our neighborhood” mentality. At the time I felt it wasn’t productive for me to try and push this topic any further with the group. I continued to volunteer with the Seattle Police Department and looked for ways to help in the community.
About eighteen months later at a Women Ministries retreat I overheard Bobette Scheid talking about a new program that Ruth Hill was promoting and bringing to the attention of the Covenant denomination. AVA was making its debut and they were looking for women to be part of this new ministry.
I knew that my prayers for domestic violence awareness in the church had been answered.