Friday, March 23, 2012

World Conference of Women's Shelters

President Clinton spoke at this year's World
Shelter Conference. NNEDV photo.
I had the fortunate opportunity to attend the 2nd annual World Conference of Women's Shelters in Washington, D.C. a couple of weeks ago. The event was hosted by the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV).

The experience was a mixture of emotions for me. I was amazed at the number of people in the room working to end violence against women. 1,500 men and women came from around the world to share stories and experiences and work for better solutions!

I felt an overwhelming sense of sadness at one point.  I realized just how massive this problem is and even with all of the efforts being made to stop it, it’s still happening. I wondered what it will take to finally bring an end to this devastating violence.

Unfortunately, I do not think the violence will end any time soon. This realization left me, for a moment, feeling somewhat defeated. Then I heard a story from a survivor and heard her triumph over obstacles so huge no one would think she could survive, but she did. 

She not only survived, she is thriving. She survived 4 gunshots at close range - one through her head - and she is living today to tell her inspiring story. With that I felt a renewed sense of hope and determination. We are making a difference.

We were then addressed by President Clinton. He encouraged us to keep fighting the fight, to keep doing what we are doing because people are depending on us. If we can’t be there for these victims, then who will? He said we were making a difference in the lives of women and children all around the world, and that women simply deserve the right to chart their own futures and live their lives.

With that, I felt energized and ready to come back to help all those impacted by domestic violence. There has been so much progress, and there will be more to come. We will bring an end to the violence. Thank you for helping me work towards that goal.

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