During each season of my life, my love for fabulous clothes, shoes and accessories hasn’t changed. Trust me — it’s been like this for decades.
But during one of the darkest seasons, generosity from strangers who donated their beautiful clothes to thrift stores brought a glimmer of hope as I boldly and confidently started a new life. My new life meant no longer being in an abusive relationship. Steps away from comfortably spreading my wings as a new butterfly, a few new beautiful outfits helped me soar a little bit higher. A new wardrobe helped for job interviews, hang-outs with friends, you name it.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and I’d like to see how we as Haute Grey Foxes can support our friends who are courageously fighting a battle to leave an abusive partner, start a new life, or lead organizations that empower women.
I write this today thanking other women who empowered, encouraged, and embraced me. Women in abusive relationships haven’t done anything wrong, and it’s our job to reassure them of this truth. It’s our job to help them look in the mirror and see their inner and outer beauty. Their strength cannot be put into words.
While October is the month in which we highlight domestic violence, let’s not forget this dose of reality: On average, 24 people per minute are victims of rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner in the United States.
Here are some simple ways to encourage our sisters who are courageously seeking the healthy relationships that they deserve.
Give your best
Starting over can be a bit challenging for these courageous women, and resources — as well as self-esteem — may be limited. Let’s help check one item off their list by donating great pieces. I encourage you to donate what makes you feel fabulous, and to give your best. Wash or dry-clean before donating, check for missing buttons or broken zippers, and make sure it’s ready-to-wear. It’s amazing to know what a difference it can make when you look and feel great.
You may have questions about a woman’s situation, but I challenge you to be kind, gentle and thoughtful with your words. Sadly, the conversation can shift to create a lot of guilt for domestic violence survivors, and this is not the message we want to champion. Instead of asking questions, listen. Perhaps you’ll hear about her favorite restaurant or how she hasn’t had a pedicure in years. Surprise her with a gift card. Spread kindness — not shame.
Be an advocate
There is so much to learn about domestic violence, from the signs to support. Get to know more about an issue that impacts all of us, and learn how to speak up for women whose voices may not be as loud right now. Check out www.thehotline.org. If you are afraid that your computer usage may be monitored, please call 1-800-799-7233 to speak with someone directly.