October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The Series understands the importance of healthy relationships. We support any event or activity bringing awareness to this topic, especially during the month of October. The S.U.A.V.E (Students United Against Violence Everywhere) group at Marian University recently coordinated a program for National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. We are so proud of our two series graduates who were asked to share their stories for this event.

Over the last 18 months, first series graduate (and current WES volunteer) Carrie has had several opportunities to speak publicly about her life and her candor, determination, and sense of humor make her an incredibly impactful speaker. Learning of the progress she has made and the ways in which she now supports others is both impressive and encouraging.

Jacara was also a graduate of the first series and she chose to write a poem about her experiences with domestic violence and present it during the program. Her words were incredibly moving and we could hardly believe this was the very first time she shared her poem for an audience. Jacara joked a bit about being nervous before she began her reading, but she had nothing to worry about: she was wonderful.

After Carrie and Jacara finished up, they ran a Question & Answer session for everyone in attendance. They offered words of encouragement and advice on how to best support a friend or family member who may be living through experiences similar to their own. The evening wrapped up with a short candlelit vigil to honor those who have lost their lives to domestic violence.

Survivors of domestic violence who are willing to open up about some of the most painful parts of their lives are doing a much needed service. They are working to get rid of the stigma surrounding domestic violence and to prove to people currently living in violent situations that there is a way out and they can work for a brighter future – just like Carrie and Jacara have.

***Trigger Warning*** This video contains elements of domestic violence.