Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Valentine's Day

Next week many people will hear from their significant other how much they are loved and how much they are appreciated. This will be shown with flowers, candy and perhaps a romantic dinner out. Of course, I am talking about celebrating Valentine's Day.

This is a wonderful holiday to celebrate with your loved one and to show them how much you care. However, this can be an extremely difficult holiday for those who have been experiencing domestic violence. The presence of flowers can have a different meaning if the only time you ever receive flowers is after a beating. What if the person who professes to love you also beats you? Calls you horrible names? Forces you to do things you don’t want to do?

 For those who are in our shelter and outreach services, we work to make this day special by celebrating our uniqueness and our special value as individuals. We work with clients to accept who they are and to work through where they have been. We help them dig down deep inside and find that person who is special and worthy of love - especially their own self-love.

When you have been a victim of abuse you can lose your love for yourself. You learn to believe the things that were said about you - that you are unlovable and unworthy of anyone’s love, not even your own. For if you were worth something and lovable, then your partner would not have had to beat you, right? (Of course not! The responsibility of the abuse lies with the abuser, not the victim.)

I ask that as you celebrate Valentine's Day next week, you pause and remember the women and children who are in shelter and services at Hope House. They are working hard to recover from their experiences of abuse, hoping to find themselves and to love themselves again.

Knowing that someone reclaimed themselves and found their voice to profess their self worth and their worthiness of love is the best Valentine's Day present I can receive.

(Note: If you'd like to be a part of a Valentine's Day present we're working on for the women in our shelter, please visit our website

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