Anyone who reads Jayne Duffy’s story would call her a hero. Jayne is a survivor; her courage and strength are contagious. I remember being a little nervous before picking up the phone to talk to Jayne. Sometimes my shy, still-an-intern side comes through and talking to these amazing women with incredible stories can be a little intimidating. Not more than a minute into the conversation, however, I found myself laughing and joking along with Jayne. She was so confident, so willing to share her story with others. Ten minutes after I hung up, my e-mail mailbox was filled with emails from Jayne giving me further links and other sources that I might find helpful. Jayne Duffy is more than a hero, she has the ability to connect with people, to gain the instant trust of others and use her skills to better the life of others.

 Jayne Duffy would have every right to be bitter and negative. Her abuser ran her over with his car and repeatedly smashed her face into the gravel. She was left paralyzed, unable to work, with serious tooth decay and facial scars. No one would have judged her had she sat back and lived the rest of her life as an angry victim. Jayne did nothing of the sort. Everyday Jayne looks to find others like herself. Jayne told me that she can look a young women in the eyes and know if she has been abused. She can see their fear and their distrust; it is these women that Jayne to whom reaches out. Jayne has kept up her licenses as both a paralegal and a notary. She helps other women make sure they have the resources they need in order to keep their home and move on with their lives.

 An advocate recommended the ROSE Fund to Jayne and Jayne could not have given higher praise for the people she has worked with and the doctors who have helped Jayne piece back the segments of her life. Jayne speaks very highly of the dentist that helped her with her decaying teeth saying, “I cannot sing her praises loudly enough. It was the first time I went to a dentist and didn’t feel humiliated.  She was patient, kind, funny, and an incredibly great dentist. I have had at least six or seven visits and still have at least one or more to go.” Jayne continues to work with the ROSE Fund to help heal the physical reminder of abuse.

 Jayne continues to persevere even with the odds stacked against her. She volunteers for both NOVA and MOVA, running their Webinar. Jayne was the first women to receive a permanent restraining order in the commonwealth of Dedham and continues to fight for the justice of all victims while putting her children through college. I knew Jayne Duffy was a hero even before I picked up the phone. After talking with Jayne, I now know the true meaning of persevering.

‘The ROSE Fund 500’

A race to break the silence and the cycle of domestic and teen dating violence across New England.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 1, 2010: Boston, Ma.-

 

Today the ROSE Fund officially launched the ROSE Fund 500 (RF 500). In their estimation, an important race to break the silence and the cycle of domestic violence (DV) and teen dating violence (TDV) across New England. A key component of their plan is to convince you to get well trained on the issue, join the race and become an active part of the overall solution. This August 1st launch kicks off their quest to convince 500 concerned citizens to formalize their relationship with The ROSE Fund. Essentially, they’re encouraging individuals to join in ROSE’s mission to swiftly and profoundly increase DV/TDV education, intervention and prevention within their own home town. They’re looking for dedicated individuals to join this grass roots effort to transform New England, and each and every high school and community in it, from ‘Unaware and Unprepared’ to “Informed and Effective’ in understanding and addressing the issues of domestic and teen dating violence.

 For more than a year now, ROSE has been developing and perfecting a product (the ROSE Report Card) and a plan that they believe will allow them to Transform High Schools, Colleges and Communities across the region from ‘Unaware and Unprepared’ to “Informed and Effective’ . Phase One of their plan involves transforming high schools where, statistically, teen dating violence represents one of the most serious health issues facing students today. When speaking with Dan Walsh, Chairman and Executive Director of ROSE, about their plan and the launch of the RF 500 he shared, “We’re pleased to announce that the ROSE Report Card program and product are working. We’re really excited about the results so far in terms of the success we’ve had in rapidly driving change at the high school level. We’ve been incredibly encouraged by the response we’ve received from both concerned citizens and the high school principals we’ve approached”

Currently they have a dozen schools in New England committed to participate in the program, however their focus to date has been more on product development and testing, not on promotions. The launch of the RF 500 marks the first big push in terms of promoting this program. When asked about the program Walsh continued, “We’re working closely with the leadership teams at these high schools in helping them to better understand the prevalence and the severity of the TDV issue within their particular high schools. As a result of this approach we’ve been able to dramatically increase their commitment to the cause and accelerate the pace at which they implement effective TDV policies and programs. The importance of the RF 500 is that it will allow us to dramatically scale the program across the region. The product from day one was designed and built to scale. Now that we have proof that it works, we need concerned citizens everywhere to join the cause, leverage their personal network, and help us to bring this solution into their local high schools and communities.”

Teen dating violence is a cause that should warrant more attention than just a few sensational Hollywood stories and some episodic headlines. According to a Harvard University study, 1 in 5 girls in Massachusetts public high schools will be a victim of teen dating violence and abuse. Perhaps more disturbingly, is that the study further concluded that those girls that have been the targets and victims of this abuse were 6-9 times as likely to attempt or commit suicide, and 9 times as likely to abuse substances. The other unique element of this particular issue is the degree to which it is under  reported. The U.S. Department of Justice estimates that this issue is under reported anywhere from 65-95%.

When pressed to provide more specific details about the ROSE approach Walsh explained, ” really a very simple and basic plan. High school principals and health teachers have a really challenging and important role in determining how to strike the right balance between all of the competing health and wellness issues teenagers are faced  with today (i.e. bullying, substance abuse). Our attempt is to inform their decisions with local data to make sure that the teen dating violence issue is given the appropriate level of attention. To us it’s all about the local data. There are an overwhelming number of studies out there about just how bad TDV is across the country, the region and the state. However, because this issue thrives in silence, there is a well-established NIMBY myth (Not In My Backyard) that exists.

So most people, parents and principals amongst them, believe that these startling studies and statistics don’t apply to their local high school and community. Understandably, they tend not to have much in place in terms of TDV policies and programs (i.e. education and awareness). Our approach is to fully expose this issue by ‘localizing’ it. We go into the high schools and administer a simple and anonymous survey that plays a critical role in driving change. The survey breaks the silence that tends to be the source of why most high schools and communities don’t think they have an issue. Thus far it has been a powerful approach in increasing understanding and commitment around TDV. The best news is that there really are a great number of tremendously effective policies and prevention programs that already exist. We’re just trying to get folks to understand that, in many cases, they would greatly benefit from them…”

When asked about the future plans of the Report Card Program Walsh continued, “We believe that this issue is where the breast cancer issue was 25 years ago. There are a lot of parallels between the two issues, and to us that is a source of inspiration. Now that we’ve been in the field and have seen the success of the Report Card product and approach we’re even more convinced we can put the boots to this issue. It’s going to be fun and exciting for those that decide to join us. There’s nothing like bringing about big positive change to your own home town. We’re fired up about the opportunity to make a big difference in the safety and self-esteem of so many students. This really is an amazing  opportunity for all of us, and we look forward to growing our ranks of committed citizens in order to further fulfill our mission.”

Formalize your relationship with ROSE by joining the ROSE Fund 500

We need your help to transform your local high school and community.

There are four levels of participation in the ROSE Fund 500 ranging from Associate to Ambassador (see below). The basic commitment is to further understand both the DV/TDV issue and the ROSE Fund’s approach in solving it. It then involves spreading the word to others by reaching out to those in your network that you believe would be sympathetic and supportive to the cause. The ultimate goal is to broker a meeting with a high school principal so we can help them to answer 3 basic questions:

  • To what extent is teen dating violence and abuse (TDVA) an issue for your students?
  • How well prepared, in terms of policies and programs, is your school to effectively address this issue?
  •  If the prevalence of teen dating violence is higher than it should be, and the school is not as prepared as it could be, what measures could be taken to better address it?
Level # of email addresses provided for our mailing list Becoming More Educated and Aware of the Issue and Our plans to effectively address it Increasing the Education and Awareness of  other folks potentially sympathetic or supportive to our cause Promoting our cause by securing meetings/con calls with Principals/ Local High Schools
Ambassador 25+ Attend a 30 minute webinar Host a webinar for 10+ people Secure a meeting w the principal

at your local high school and participate in the Report Card Process

Activist 20+ Attend a 30 minute webinar Host a Webinar of 7-10 people Secure a meeting with the principal at your local high school
Advocate 15+ Attend a 30 minute Webinar Host a Webinar of  3-5+ people  

Secure a conference call with the principal at the local high school

Associate 10+ Attend a  30 minute Webinar    

“In my quest to save my daughter, I found myself. I know that other women can too.”

For thirty-one years, Jeanne Mahoney endured a life of abuse. At the age of fifty, she had spent more than half of her life with a man who told her over and over that she was worthless, unfit to raise her own children, and that she would never be able to survive on her own. She listened. Time and time again, she would try to leave, knowing that deep inside she had the potential to break the cycle of violence. However, like so many abusers, Jeanne’s husband knew what to do and say to draw her back. He isolated her from her family, made her financially dependent, and every time she tried to stand on her own, he would knock her right back down.

 Jeanne reached her breaking point on Mother’s Day 1995. During the holiday that is meant to be spent celebrating the hard work and selflessness that mother’s show, Jeanne’s thirteen-year-old daughter tried to commit suicide. Jeanne had had enough. She was able to take the hits, kicks, and punches from her husband but she was not about to let it ruin her daughter. She remembers, “I could not allow my abusive marriage to steal her life and her potential. I had to save her.” Jeanne took her six children to the courtroom and it was there she saw a flyer from Doorways for Women and Families. Jeanne never looked back.

 Jeanne was able to receive the help and support she needed from her new family at Doorways. That stepping-stone was a major turning point in her life. “I made friends of my very own in the group. We laughed and cried together. We were taught how to make a safety plan and to recognize the signs of an abusive personality. Most importantly, we learned that it was not our fault. We were victims. My abuser had taken away my power. But slowly, I was taking it back. I even started believing in myself.” Jeanne’s children found an advertisement for the ROSE Fund and before she knew it, Jeanne was on a plan sponsored by the Hynes Foundation ready to turn her life around.

 In 1996, Jeanne won the ROSE Award. Her spirit and dedication through years of hardship proved that Jeanne was a special woman. She took her six children out of a dangerous situation and they have grown to be successful, blossoming adults. Jeanne has pursued her interest in biking, triathlons, and most importantly being a mother and grandmother. Jeanne continues to give back to other women who are struggling to find the answers that Jeanne so desperately sought years ago. She is now a board member of Doorways for Women and Families. Jeanne is now a strong, confident woman enjoying life. “I am so proud of myself and my children, but I will never forget how much abuse hurts. That’s why I spend time encouraging women to find their power. I want to be their wake up call.”

A little over a year ago, newspapers across the country flashed pictures of her battered face. Shocked fans were outraged as morning after morning the headlines retold the story of Chris Brown physically attacking his then-girlfriend Rihanna. No one saw it coming; the young up-and-coming artists seemed to have a life of which most people could only dream. Now months later, another famous face has taken the spot light. Mel Gibson’s furious rants, racial comments, and allegations of physical violence against Oksana Grigorieva have become national news.

Statistically, these cases happen far more often than people are aware. In the United States alone, four to five million women will suffer from an abusive relationship each year. Along with this staggering number, domestic violence is said to be underreported 60 – 95%. Big time celebrities caught in a scandal often shed light on an issue that is grossly ignored. People are disgusted by the tapes of Mel Gibson, and shocked by Brown’s actions. Yet women across the country have to deal with their own Gibsons and Browns on a daily bases. According to a Harvard study, one in five high school girls in Massachusetts public schools have been hit, kicked, or punched. When will their stories be headline news?

“My friend was in a car with her boyfriend. They got in an argument and she tried to get out of the car. He grabbed her and hit her and held her in the car.” This is a quote from a high school student in Massachusetts, after being interviewed about dating violence in her high school. Her story scarily resembles Rihanna’s story. We know that domestic violence and dating violence span across the socioeconomic boundaries and can happen to almost anyone. So many times, people read the news articles, hear the stories, and yet, still think to themselves: not in my town, not here. The fact is that these girls are in your background, not just in inner cities or in untouchable Hollywood.

What happened to both Rihanna and Oksana is just as tragic as when it happens to average women all over the country. As we have seen, having celebrity status does not exclude one from the world of domestic violence. These stories are always complicated for foundation such as the ROSE Fund. While no woman deserves to endure any form of abuse, the issue finally becomes front-page material, where it should stay until there is no more news to report.

 

Dear Rose Fund Supporters and Investors,

My name is Meghan Cawley, I’m a junior at Boston College studying English, and this summer I’m working as an intern at The ROSE Fund. I wanted to share my perspective on my ROSE Fund experience, as well as a great story of a women’s courageous and successful fight for freedom and independence.

My Perspective–I had read the big stories in the news, followed the Rihanna and Chris Brown scandal and was shocked and appalled when I heard the devastating story about the death of the girl from UVA . Domestic violence: it was a word floating somewhere in the back of my mind, occasionally coming to the forefront when the Boston Globe flashed a headline across its front page. Four weeks ago, everything changed. I began my internship at the ROSE Fund where already I have learned a lot. One third of all emergency room visits for women between the ages of 18 – 44 are a direct and immediate result of domestic violence; one in five girls in MA public schools have been hit, kicked, or punched by a dating partner. I learned of all of these staggering statistics wondering just one thing: how could I have not known this? There is no way this happens in my town, not in my neighborhood.

While my internship deals with many aspects of the ROSE Fund, I am currently focusing on communications and outreach. I spend much of my time on the phone talking with the women who have had the courage to get away from their abuser and, based on your support,  have gone on to receive free reconstructive surgery from the ROSE Fund. Right away, all of my former assumptions about domestic violence were shattered. These women could have been anyone from my area; they could live right down the street. These aren’t weak women, rather women who, after their lives have been devastated, have the incredible strength to break both the silence and the powerful cycle of violence. Many of them go far beyond that, helping to advocate and fight for the freedom of other women.  Their stories have humbled me and inspired me .  Nothing I could write could ever be as powerful as hearing these women speak for themselves. So when asked to share a brief story about a ROSE recipient that had shown tremendous courage in a fight for her freedom, and the freedom of others, I had many stories to chose from.  But I felt that one woman’s story was  particularly fitting. Paula Lucas is a true model of hope and inspiration, someone who not only turned her own life around, but has been tireless in her fight for the freedom and independence of domestically abused and oppressed women  all over the world.

A story about fighting for independence and freedom
Every summer, people fire up their grills, break out the fruit salad, and lather up in 50 SPF to celebrate our country’s freedom. The real meaning of the Fourth of July lies somewhere underneath the red, white, and blue bathing suits and the family cookouts. It is a day to celebrate the opportunity and independence that was granted centuries ago.

For years, however, Paula Lucas was not able to partake in these celebrations, and  was not able to see the joy in her three sons’ faces as the sky lit up with fireworks. For a number of years Paula Lucas was living in the United Arab Emirates as a prisoner in her own home to her abusive husband and a male dominated judicial system. Even after her husband drove into a wall going 80 mph as he was hitting Paula, she was defenseless when he checked her out of the hospital against the doctor’s orders.

Paula needed a miracle. By chance, Paula’s husband was detained in Germany for three weeks after some missing paperwork forced him to stay away from his home. Paula seized this opportunity by reaching out to her family in the United States, who believed that Paula was living a privileged life with her wealthy husband. Waking her children up in the middle of the night, Paula was able to escape with her three boys and make it to NYC and then Oregon to live with her sister. After years of custody battles, restraining orders, and divorce hearings, Paula was finally able to experience the independence a strong, confident woman deserves.

In 2003, Paula was honored with  the ROSE Award because of her dedication to breaking the silence and the cycle of domestic violence for herself, her boys, and subsequently the many  other women she had advocated for. Your support for the ROSE Fund enabled Paula to further her work and mission. With the money Paula received from the ROSE Award, she was able to launch a non-profit company called America Overseas Domestic Violence Crisis Center (www.866uswomen.org). Her  organization, with a 24/7 international hotline, is dedicated to helping  other American women trapped in domestic situations abroad find both the assistance and the strength to leave.  The money that Paula received from the ROSE Fund over seven years ago has continued to expand and touch the lives of many women.  Since its inception, Paula and her organization have assisted hundreds of women in their fight for freedom in over 175 countries! Her amazing efforts have enabled a great number of women to fully understand, appreciate and celebrate the true meaning of the 4th of July celebration this Sunday.

__________________________________________

Friends commonly  ask me if, as part of my ROSE internship, I have a difficult time hearing the horrible stories of domestic violence.  It never gets easier.  Every woman I have talked to that has been hit, punched, stabbed, or even shot by her abuser is as difficult to hear as the first story. However, their stories have inspired me and taught me so much.   I have learned about the strength of the human spirit, the power of hope and that modest investments in the lives of women in need can pay significant dividends for years to come. Paula Lucas and hundreds of other women just like her have had the strength to break the cycle and fight for their freedom and independence. Every day I have the privilege to hear these great stories, the stories of the women who have made it through the worst. It is because of these stories that I feel so lucky to be a part of the ROSE Fund’s mission, and that the July 4th holiday will forever have a deeper meaning for me.

Thank you so much for your continued support, hopefully my perspective and Paula’s story gives you a sense of the impact that you’re contributions are having on these women’s lives.  Have a happy and peaceful Fourth of July celebration!

Warmest Regards,
Meghan Cawley
ROSE Fund Communications Intern

Boston College 2011

* Picture from: http://thepreppyprincess.files.wordpress.com/2008/07/liberty2.jpg

Rosetta grew up in Alabama as the youngest of ten children. Rosetta met a man, HC, and they began to date. For a whole year things seemed to be going well. However, after the honeymoon period of dating, HC began to change. In the second year of their relationship, he became violent and threatening towards Rosetta. One night, when HC did not like the way Rosetta was driving, he punched her in the face at a stop sign, breaking her eye socket and causing severe damage to her mouth. Rosetta found the help she needed in the hospital and left Alabama to recover with her sister in Boston.

Rosetta received surgery from MEEI to help mend her eye. One of Rosetta’s advocates connected her with the ROSE Fund and she was able to set up appointments with a dentist to get work done on her teeth and gums. Rosetta could not be more thankful for the doctors and the people she worked with at the ROSE Fund. She was touched by their kindness and felt blessed to have been given such an opportunity. Rosetta was able to go to all of her appointments because of the generosity of a ROSE volunteer who was willing to drive her to meet with the doctor. Rosetta keeps in touch with many people from the ROSE Fund and formed strong relationships with many people through this process.

Rosetta believes that the only way to stop domestic violence is by speaking out against the silence. Rosetta felt like going through a domestic violence situation was like having a bomb dropped on her life. She often felt slighted by the system but never gave up. She never let the system break her, she recalls, and she is now working towards breaking the system. She wants to be the voice of all domestic violence victims who are not confident to speak up for themselves. Rosetta emphasized the fact that many victims feel as though the abuse is in someway their fault. Rosetta is working towards reaching out to those women to ensure all victims know they did nothing wrong.

Rosetta will be moving back to Alabama in the next few months. She has dreams of starting her own non-profit organization one day, helping to stop the cycle of violence and reach out to others in need. When she returns to Alabama, she will begin volunteering at local shelters. Rosetta was able to get her certification in administrative assistance and in medical assistance. She had an internship and started to put her life back together. Rosetta wanted her story told because “you can’t reach people if you don’t talk about it. My heart is in helping domestic violence victims.” We are so proud of Rosetta and cannot wait to watch what she accomplishes!

At the age of sixteen, a time when most girls are thinking only of driver’s licenses and proms, Asia Graves, a young girl from Boston, was kicked her out of her house and forced onto the streets. Three years later, Asia became pregnant.  

The news of Asia’s pregnancy with a new man infuriated her ex-boyfriend. He kidnapped her and hit her in the head with an iron. She tried to contact the police but it only made things worse. “He saw me interacting with the police and sent nine girls to stomp my stomach out with Timberland boots to give me a miscarriage.” For Asia, this was a breaking point, and after a month long stay in the hospital, she decided to get help.

An FBI agent at the hospital helped Asia find a group home in NC. She had the courage to speak out and had her abusers arrested. Asia found a mentor who had previously worked with the ROSE Fund. Her mentor helped Asia fill out her surgery application for the ROSE Fund to help heal her physical wounds. Although Asia had escaped the cycle of domestic violence, it left her with a facial scare and chipped teeth, a constant reminder of the horrible pain she had endured.

Asia Graves’ message to all those currently suffering from domestic violence is, “Get out while you can! If you have the chance to do it, get away.” Asia is a shining example of how heart and perseverance, mixed with confidence and hope, can help break the cycle of domestic violence. Asia Graves is very thankful for the doctors she met through the ROSE Fund. They have made her feel like better person and have given her back some of the self-confidence she had lost. Asia specifically spoke of Dr. G., who was “very nice and considered her feelings.”

We commend Asia Graves for her truly inspirational story. She shares her incredible life with others in hopes of helping other women in her situation.

 Jeanne Decker has always had a passion for art. Growing up in the PA, she went to art school after high school.  She now runs an art program at a Women’s Resource Center.  However, Jeanne’s life was not always painted so beautifully. 

Jeanne was married to her abuser for ten years and recalls, “sometimes it was horrific and sometimes it wasn’t too bad.” She had the courage to divorce her husband, but unfortunately, the abuse continued.  Her ex-husband broke into her house and beat her with a crow bar as her son slept next to her in her bed.

Although her abuser went to jail for two-and-a-half years, her life was left in shambles. With the help of the Women’s Resource Center, Jeanne was able to move to transitional housing. At the age of thirty-nine Jeanne wanted to go back to school; she wanted to start over.  However, the growing number of meetings, court dates and a new home made finishing school too difficult.

Jeanne found the ROSE Fund as she was searching for a way to stay in the school. The Women’s Recourse Center nominated her for the award and she won in 2008! She was able to receive her master’s degree and intern at the Women’s Resource Center. With funds form the ROSE Fund, Jeanne was able to start an art program at the shelter. Jeanne is now Resident Manager at the Women’s Resource Center.

Jeanne wants to thank the ROSE Fund for helping her get her life where it is today. She continues to work on different projects, hoping to help victims of domestic violence and possibly even intervene before others have to go through what she went through. We commend Jeanne Decker for her amazing perseverance and dedication to helping break the cycle of silence and abuse!

From The R.O.S.E. Fund

 A very special day for us as 80% of our recipients are mothers
We wanted to provide you with a special Mother’s Day perspective from a former ROSE Award recipient as well as a brief operational update on our 2010 plans, progress and program impact.

 

In 2010, we remain ahead of our goal to deliver our services in a way that ensures that more than $3 of free reconstructive medical services are provided for every $1 of operational expense we incur (in 2009 we provided more than $2 of free medical services for every $1 of operational expense we incurred). 

 

We’re also happy to announce that our team of dedicated volunteers (many) and staff (of one) will be bolstered this summer and fall by an additional 6 college interns who are sure to increase our program impact and further ensure that your investments in ROSE continue to pay rich dividends to the population of courageous women we serve. 

  

ROSE Reconstructive Surgery Program-Our medical network of dentists, doctors and hospitals continues to expand and we are on pace to help more than 100 female survivors of domestic violence gain free access to several hundred reconstructive medical, dental and surgical services this year.  This program continues to have a profound impact on the lives of female survivors, enabling them to erase the physical reminders of their abusive past, rebuild their lives and regain their self-esteem.

 

2010 ROSE Award-Our quest continues to identify a courageous female survivor of domestic violence with an inspirational story to tell. We learn of several new nominations each week of women who have shown incredible strength and resolve in breaking the cycle of domestic violence and who serve as a powerful inspiration to others.  Follow us on Facebook to learn more regularly about these nominees and their journey into, through and out of domestic violence.  We’ll be announcing the 2010 ROSE Award winner later this fall.

 

ROSE Report Card-We are actively engaged in driving real change at high schools across the region helping them to break the silence associated with teen dating violence (TDV) on a local level.  Through a series of interviews and on-line surveys, we expose the prevalence and severity of the TDV issue within their high school.  Our thorough assessments also evaluate the high school’s current TDV policies and programs and are accompanied by an actionable set of recommendations around how best to improve the high school’s approach in addressing the TDV issue.  Our findings and recommendations serve as a powerful catalyst for affecting real change. This recently launched program has helped to transform high schools from ‘Unaware and Unprepared’ to ‘Informed and Effective’ in increasing domestic and teen dating violence education and prevention.  Our 2010 goal is to transform 25 high schools in New England, enabling more than 10,000 high school students to learn perhaps one of the most important lessons in life: how to identify, intervene and prevent unhealthy and abusive relationships for you, your family and your friends. 

    
Wonder how prevalent and severe teen dating violence is within your local high school?
(According to a Harvard University study, 1 in 5 girls in Massachusetts public high schools has been hit, kicked or punched by a dating partner.  It also found that those girls that have are 9 times as likely to attempt suicide)
 
Want to understand how well prepared your local high school is in preventing teen dating violence?

 

Call to learn more about how ROSE can transform your high school from an unwitting part of the problem, to an active part of the solution in breaking both the silence and the cycle of domestic and teen dating violence. 
 
Mother’s Day is a day to honor our mothers, to show them our care and warmth, and to celebrate the bond between mother and child.
 
Liz Meredith, a ROSE Award recipient in 1998, was recently thinking about just how special the bond is between she and her two daughters.  In catching up with Liz, she thinks back to Mother’s Day in 1994. Liz watched the pictures of her daughters faces flash across the news.  Her daughters were missing – taken out of the country by her abusive ex-husband.  Her children had given her the strength to break the cycle of domestic violence.  It was the day that her eldest daughter, then six years old, saw her husband strangling her that she decided she had to leave him. 

 

She divorced him, and won custody.  During an arranged visit, he picked them up from daycare and smuggled them to Greece.  Mother’s Day back then was not a special time to celebrate the bond and connection with her daughters, rather a tormented time wondering if she would ever see them again.  It took her 2 years, and thousands of dollars to find her children and bring them back to the US safely.  To owe so much money was just another way that he had control over her, another way that they as a family felt vulnerable and unable to move forward and rebuild their lives. 
 
In her own words:  “I recently pulled out my old video of the ROSE award dinner. It reminded me of how very much the award helped me put my life back together after dealing with so many years of abuse by my former husband.”
 
“Back then, I vowed to use the money to complete my graduate degree in psychology and write a memoir about my experiences of domestic violence and international child abduction.  In 2002, I completed my graduate degree“,  a degree that Liz soon put to work, as she secured an opportunity at a women’s resource center where she worked with other survivors for the next seven years.  She continued: “and now in 2010, I’ve nearly completed the third draft of my book ‘Summon the Rain’.   I’ve received some interest from literary agents, and am seriously pursuing publication now.”

 

Liz considers the ROSE Award to have played a critical and pivotal role in her life and that of her daughters.  “Not only did the award give me accountability to move beyond victimization and achieve the goals I set for myself, it (most importantly) gave my daughters and me hope to dream big, and faith that people cared. We were not alone after all.”
 
“My daughters are now 21 and 22 years old and are both in college.  I work as a probation supervisor.  Life has moved on for us all, and was filled with many residual struggles¸but we will never forget our experiences as survivors of domestic violence, and the wonderful opportunity you gave us to rebuild our lives.”
 
“To the ROSE Fund and its
supporters, thank you for playing such an important role in strengthening the bond between me and my daughters and for all of the amazing work that you do.  Happy Mother’s Day to all of you.”
 
Our ROSE recipients are all women – mothers, grandmothers, mothers-to-be or daughters. 

 

Help celebrate Mother’s Day this year by honoring your Mother and all mothers.

 
 

– To enable female survivors of domestic violence to rebuild their lives and regain their self-esteem

 
– To transform high schools, colleges and communities from ‘Unaware and Unprepared’ to ‘Informed and Effective’ in addressing the issues of domestic and teen dating violence.
 
Thanks again for your continued support.
 
Sincerely,
                                                                                                                                              
Dan Walsh
 

Chairman and Executive Director
The ROSE Fund
http://www.rosefund.org
781-929-1818
 

 
 
About ROSE >>>>>

 

Pick up next week’s copy of STUFF Magazine and read about ROSE reconstructive surgery recipient MaryBeth.  She shares her journey from victim to owning her own business. 

Today, MaryBeth McLeod has her own business making recycled handbags. She hires women who have gone through similar situations of escaping domestic violent relationships.  She helps them get free from domestic violence and get their own apartments. Making sure they have jobs and independence gives her more incentive to keep the business going. 

While MaryBeth is doing quite well today, it was not always that way.  She grew up in Quincy MA where she met her husband and abuser at a dance at the Mission Hill Church. According to McLeod, “Lots of people did not believe that he was hitting me.  He was found not guilty for attempted murder.”

To escape, she had to change her name and social security number and run. She says of the local social security office that helped her, “They let me go on with my life.  Today I’m safe but that’s what I had to do.  That takes courage.  Some women have to do that you know.  The social security office does have domestic violence cases.” 

McLeod says of the women she works with,”They are away from their abusers, independently living, paying market rent.  Judy, one of the girls that works with me, was with an abuser at first, now she’s not.  She goes to therapy, received a restraining order.  It’s good to see women want it more than life.  You have to start with your little broken self.  Then, one day, your depression is gone and you are okay.” 

When asked for advice on how to help other victims of abuse, she says, “Try to tell them they’re beautiful; they’re a rose that’s going to bloom, you have to water it and it will bloom. … Do it, you can do it alone, you can love yourself. [You] can make it along as I have, start as yourself and just build.  It took 30 seconds or less to put those scars on my face, and takes so long to take them off.”

The ROSE Fund helped MaryBeth by providing her with three free surgeries remove scar tissue around her eyes. She says of the Fund, “The ROSE Fund, you are taking away the scars on the outer side but it’s up to me to take the inner scars out. I really thank God for the ROSE Fund.  You guys are there to do the final touches on my face.  The ROSE Fund is fabulous; we need more programs like that. Thank God we have come a long way; thank God the ROSE Fund is here.”

On taking care of herself, McLeod says, “If I didn’t take care of myself I wouldn’t be in a position to help anybody.”” Truer words were never spoken.