Local Matters

Community Sponsors

abuse

July 18, 2008 - 9:10am
posted by Philip Anselmo in GCC, video, abuse, domestic violence.

Cheryl Lewis of Bliss was recently awarded the Jeanette Rankin Foundation Scholarship of $2,000, which will permit her to switch from part-time to full-time studies to obtain a degree in paralegal studies at Genesee Community College. The Batavian sat down with Cheryl earlier this week to talk about her studies, her struggle to escape an abusive relationship and her plans to give back. Cheryl was kind enough to put that experience in her own words in a follow-up letter, and since I can do no better at expressing her intentions, I've included that complete letter (see below).

"My name is Cheryl. It’s been more than twenty years since I graduated from high school. I would never have dreamed that I’d be in college today. At one time, I was filled with such dreams, such goals. I wanted to make a difference; I wanted to be successful; I wanted to be rich… I wanted it all.

"I thought I had met the man of my dreams, but I was so very wrong. I chose to be with him rather than go to college. The day I made that decision was the day I lost me. I just didn’t know it yet. I am a survivor of domestic violence. After suffering years of emotional and physical abuse I was finally able to escape. I still have the scars, but I also have my freedom.

"My daughter and I had to live in a shelter for battered women and children for a while, but it was there that I suddenly realized that I still do have dreams. Gone was the feeling in the pit of my stomach, the kind that makes you want to cry in self-pity. I looked around me and I saw other women with not only bruises on their bodies, but also on their souls. I knew at that moment that I wanted to make a difference in the lives of these women and others like them.

"Going through the court system with all the legal formalities, I was scared and very confused. There was a lot that had to be done to obtain a restraining order. I knew others had to be just as afraid. Thus, it was my ordeal through the system that gave me the idea to attend college for the purpose of becoming a paralegal. Then I will have the resources to offer assistance to other abused women.

"My ultimate goal is to someday reopen a shelter for domestic violence victims in Wyoming County that was closed due to lack of funds. Within this shelter women and their children will be provided with a safe environment in which they can try to piece together their shattered lives. I hope to provide legal assistance, counseling, resources for finding a new place to live, and a second chance at happiness.

"Over the past two years, I have gone through a tremendous transformation. I no longer feel I am worthless and I am so very proud of getting myself and my daughter out of a dangerous situation. And I do make a difference – in the life of my child. I have an awesome responsibility in making decisions that will shape the life of a precious individual. And I am rich – in love and family. I do have it all. Or at least all I need to have.

"There have been many wonderful people who have helped me along the way. I wouldn’t be where I am now without them. Those individuals have inspired me greatly and I want to emulate them and hopefully make a difference even to just one person."

HERE ARE SOME FACTS AND STATISTICS ABOUT DOMESTIC VIOLENCE:

The most common response to domestic violence – “Why doesn’t she just leave?”

Answer: Shelters are often full, and family, friends, and workplace are frequently less than supportive. Faced with rent and utility deposits, day care, health insurance, and other basic expenses, the woman may feel that she cannot support herself and her children. Moreover, in some instances, the woman may be increasing the chance of physical harm or even death if she leaves an abusive spouse.

A few statistics:
• 85-95% of all domestic violence victims are female.
• Over 500,000 women are stalked by an intimate partner each year.
• 1,232 women are killed each year by an intimate partner.

Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women. What can each of us do?
• Call the police if you see or hear evidence of domestic violence.
• Speak out publicly against domestic violence.
• Take action personally when a neighbor, co-worker, a friend, or a family member is involved or being abused.
• Reach out to support someone whom you believe is a victim of domestic violence.
• Help others become informed, by inviting speakers to your church, professional organization, civic group, or workplace.
• Support domestic violence counseling programs and shelters.

If you or someone you know needs help: National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE

All of the above information and statistics were provided by Cheryl Lewis.

July 14, 2008 - 6:16pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in church, religion, abuse.

Before the year is out, Batavian Rindy Walton will quit her job as a physical therapist, get rid of almost everything she owns and move with her three young sons to a suburb of Cincinnati with no financial prospects to found an itinerant church and minister to the disenfranchised.

"We're leaving the only place we know," she says, seeming to measure the gravity of the statement. "There's not a doubt."

It was the right decision, she says. She was called to it. It had to happen. Not everyone in her life, however, was able to match her conviction. Her family rejected her. Others have said she is stupid or crazy. They ask her how she could give up everything for... for what?

"It is a leap of faith, absolutely," she says. "I've had a lot of people support this. But I've also had a lot of people criticize."

Rindy talks unflinchingly of her past. She has been through "a lot of brokenness and abuse," she says. "And a lot of other people have been through that. I can use what I've been through to help other people."

Rindy lives in Batavia where she has worked as a physical therapist for BOCES for 21 years and raised three sons, doing it mostly on her own for the past ten years. For a long time, she hid her hurt out of shame, she says. She was like so many others who felt that private pain ought to be kept private.

No longer.

"There are people who say family secrets should remain secret," she says. "But there are too many families struggling. People are suffering and it's not OK to keep things secret. People dont deserve that."

Ministry is Rindy's way of changing that. Paul Peterson, the former pastor of her church, Northgate Free Methodist, is right now in Georgia attending a "church planning registry," explains Rindy.

"He felt the call to start a new church," she says. "We want to reach people who don't attend church, people who just don't feel that they'd fit the mold."

Peterson will pastor the church that the two of them will found in Maineville, Ohio, just north of Cincinnati. Walls Down Church, as it will be known, will be exactly that: they will build up and tear down the church every week in a new venue out in the community, at schools, theaters, generally anywhere with an auditorium, bringing the church to the people, explains Rindy, rather than insisting that the people come to the church.

"That way we can go to the people," she says. "We can go where the need is. Especially for the people who are not attending church, to walk into a strange building is foreign to them. It's going to be a place where you feel comfortable, familiar."

Officially, Rindy will oversee family ministries for the church, which really means that she will work to make the church best suit the needs of its parishioners and do the most for them. She also plans to use her training as a physical therapist to accomodate families and children with special needs.

"From where I was to where I am now — there was someone who was hiding a lot of stuff, a lot of abuse, a lot embarrassment, shame," she says. "Now it's open. What's really cool is that I get to spend the rest of my life helping people who are where I was to get to where I am. That's just so cool."

If you want to donate to the Walls Down Church, send a check to Mountain Lake Church, 3105 Dahlonega Highway, Cumming, GA 30040. Indicate Rindy Walton or Walls Down Church in the Memo line. All donations are tax deductible, and Walls Down will receive 100 percent of the money.

Subscribe to

Calendar

S M T W T F S
 
 
 
 
1
 
2
 
3
 
4
 
5
 
6
 
7
 
8
 
9
 
10
 
11
 
12
 
13
 
14
 
15
 
16
 
17
 
18
 
19
 
20
 
21
 
22
 
23
 
24
 
25
 
26
 
27
 
28
 
29
 
30
 
31
 

Copyright © 2008-2019 The Batavian. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy | Terms of Service
 

blue button