To Whom It May Concern:
Everyday in the lives of so many, behind closed doors, innocence is stolen and lives are even lost at the hands of abuse. Wearing their own mask of silence, survivors and victims of abuse remain quiet about the nightmares they have been through in their lives, fearing that if they do speak out, they will be judged and misunderstood. Behind those masks, though, lies a heart yearning to be free and a voice longing to be heard.
Abuse leaves so many secret scars that are not always visible to the public eye. Most of the time, society turns a blind eye to what goes on, denying the truth about abuse, and refusing to acknowledge and address the issue. Thus those who do come forward and speak out are often the ones put on trial and accused for the crimes committed against them. Those who haven't been through the horrors of abuse find it hard to believe that something so terrible could happen and thus they question what they don't know and haven't experienced in their own lives, leaving abuse a problem that never goes away and continues to destroy innocent lives and tear apart families.
What you may not know is that while survivors of abuse are out there, moving on with their lives, trying to piece them together as they rebuild from the emotional wreckage left behind, the memories of the trauma they went through stay with them forever and the damages caused by the abuse create their own aftermath even when the person has broken free from their situation. It takes so much courage and strength to walk away from an abusive situation, more than you will ever know for by daring to escape and take that step forward, many of the survivors out there put their own lives at risk. Yet they take that chance because they believe they can get a better life, the kind of life that they so deserve to have, one free from the pain of abuse.
While it is a big battle to break free, it is also just as much if not more of a challenge when getting out there and starting over. As a survivor of child abuse and domestic violence, I know all too well what it's like facing personal demons from a haunting past so terrifying that no words can even begin to paint the image in a person's mind. Yes, the dangers of abuse are very real and unfortunately, not all victims become survivors because tragically their voices are silenced and lives cut short at the hands of their abusers. For them, help came too late. But for those brave, courageous souls who do survive it, they don't often know where to turn for help in getting back on their feet and healing from the wounds left behind. True, there are shelters set up to help them find jobs and help them move on to a better life, but sometimes the shelters can't take everyone and then people find themselves with nowhere to go. Not only that, but shelters don't always offer these victims and survivors classes on how they can overcome the past and gain victory over it in their own lives. Sometimes they just rush them through the system and don't really help them to establish that ground they need to be able to stand on their own two feet again after everything they have been through.
This is why I am proposing that government funded schools be set up for victims and survivors of abuse. With these schools, a safe environment can be established where they can be surrounded by those who can relate to them, where they are understood and not judged, where they are able to learn how to survive on their own after suffering the pain of abuse as they work to rebuild their lives and learn how to heal from the wounds left behind. These schools would provide them with the tools necessary to be able to get out there and continue to move forward. It would give survivors and victims a chance to see just how truly beautiful they are and that they have nothing to be ashamed of because what happened to them is not and never was their fault. I believe that schools for abuse victims and survivors could help them view life in a positive way and show them just how strong, brave, and courageous they are for taking their own lives back. It isn't always easy to take our lives back when there's no one there to show they care or to show support. Often it's easy to feel very lost and alone in life, thinking nobody cares about us or what we've faced or even that we are still hurting. These schools could make such a difference in the lives of so many abuse victims and survivors because it would give them the hope they need to keep going in life.
In life, people need hope, they need something to believe in and hold onto. This is what we could offer to abuse survivors and victims through these schools. A safe haven where they can face their battles and challenges and know that they are not fighting on their own and that they are not alone on the battlefield known as life. As a fellow survivor, I urge everyone, whether you are a survivor, whether you know someone who is a survivor, or if you just want to help make a change and a difference in this world and reach out to those hurting and trapped in the silence of abuse, then please join us in this fight and add your signature to this petition because with each signature, you are helping to be a voice for those who have not been heard and as I believe, every story deserves to be told and every voice deserves to be heard. Isn't it time we gave victims and survivors of abuse their voices and lives back as we help them to rebuild and start over new?
Jenna Kandyce Linch
Author and Fellow Child Abuse and Domestic Violence Survivor
Jenna Kandyce Linch