DVRP is a non-profit organization striving to end violence against women in the Asian/Pacific Islander community.
"My marriage was supposed to be the perfect marriage. We were two people born in the same country, raised in the U.S., with graduate degrees and prestigious jobs. Still, I had to reach out for help to save myself.
I met with two people from DVRP over coffee. During that conversation, they did not tell me what I should do with my life but instead discussed a safety plan with me – a plan for me to get away if I ever felt threatened. They also discussed the cycle of violence – a violent incident followed by apologies and loving attention only to be followed by increasing tension and then violence again.
Even knowing this, I returned to my husband days later. He got rid of his gun and promised to be better. He still refused to go to counseling, but it was easier for me to believe that he would change on his own than to go through the uncertainty and stigma of a divorce. Even though I returned to my husband, I remembered the DVRP safety plan and prepared myself, just in case. Unfortunately, I had to use that plan one evening when my husband threatened me again.
In the year following the last incident, I divorced my husband, preferring to deal with the stigma of divorce than to be scared for the rest of my life. The stigma wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. The stigma that I did feel was countered by the support of friends, family, DVRP and survivor support groups.
Today, I’m living a happier and healthier life. The energy I spent being afraid and trying to save my marriage, I now use to travel, pursue my hobbies, spend time with friends and volunteer in the community. After taking time to heal, I started dating again and am now in a warm and loving relationship. Working with DVRP saved my sanity, if not my life."
When I first joined DVRP as a bilingual advocate two and a half years ago, I'll admit that I did not really have more than a precursory understanding of domestic violence and its impacts.
Since then, I have had the fortunate experience of working with and getting to know several immigrant Asian survivors of domestic violence. I say fortunate because they have all opened my eyes to the complexity of challenges that they face navigating a system and a language that is often more foreign than familiar. Yet they, like countless others, continue to make the most of what they have to break free of the cycle of violence forced upon them by their abusers.
This journey is not easy to do by themselves. For more than 15 years, DVRP has been helping survivors to navigate the legal system and other services, as well as providing them with an understanding ear in their own language.
Ultimately, their success is their own, but they do not have to walk the path alone. It's time to make sure that no survivor of domestic violence has to suffer in isolation.
Thai/Lao Bilingual Advocate
DVRP Board Member