Several years ago, a local young man, whose identity will remain confidential for this article, sought services with A New Direction (AND).
At that time, he was around the age of 16. He was a child witness to domestic violence and had experienced and witnessed things no child should ever have to see or experience.
The statistics on domestic violence, according to womenshealth.gov, are staggering.
“More than 15 million children in the United States live in homes in which domestic violence has happened at least once. These children are at greater risk for repeating the cycle as adults by entering into abusive relationships or becoming abusers themselves.
“Children who witness or are victims of emotional, physical or sexual abuse are at higher risk for health problems as adults. These can include mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety. They may also include diabetes, obesity, heart disease, poor self-esteem and other problems.”
The local young man was dedicated to the healing process and attended his AND appointments regularly. He developed a strong bond with the AND children’s therapist, which continues to this day. At times, he would walk miles in the snow just to get to his appointment.
As time passed, the young man began to heal and grow, and as a result, he became stronger and more independent. He enrolled in the military.
Upon his return from the military, he re-engaged in services with AND. He needed to further heal from the trauma he experienced. He wanted to ensure that he had the tools to stop the cycle of violence and prevent it from happening in his own relationships.
AND officials are so proud of this young man and how far he has come. He has a full-time job and is also attending school part-time. He recently purchased his own home and is not only supporting himself, but others as well. He is a remarkable example of strength and determination.
For everyone, the past few months have been challenging. For victims of domestic violence, finding ways to take that first step, or continued steps, toward healing can be especially hard during a pandemic.
For some, they are not safe in their own homes. Stay-at-home mandates and lock-down orders across the country, and the world, have contributed to an increase in domestic violence.
AND, the local domestic violence agency, has been steadfastly serving the needs of those in our community who need help for the last nine years. Many in our communities need help now more than ever.
The mission of AND is to provide counseling, education, advocacy and support to families affected by domestic violence.
Like many other nonprofits around the country, AND is struggling right now to meet its financial goals while still continuing to provide much-needed services.
Due to the ongoing pandemic, AND will be unable to hold its annual fundraiser this October.
AND needs your support! Please consider donating through a sponsorship, by purchasing a “Doors of Beverly” poster, or by sending a donation—and, remember to follow AND on social media.
Help AND help others break the cycle of violence. People deserve to be safe in their own home.