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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The R.O.S.E. Fund Chairman Dan Walsh to be Recognized as a Jane Doe Inc. White Ribbon Day Ambassador
Advocacy programs partner to speak out against domestic violence
WAKEFIELD, MA – March 1, 2010 – The R.O.S.E. Fund (www.rosefund.org) chairman Dan Walsh will be recognized tomorrow by domestic violence and sexual assault prevention organization Jane Doe Inc. (www.janedoe.org) as a White Ribbon Ambassador during a ceremony at the Massachusetts State House.
The ceremony honors the 3rd Annual Massachusetts White Ribbon Day, part of the Men’s Initiative for Jane Doe (MIJD) to raise awareness and participation in anti-violence efforts among men and boys. Walsh has been a longtime advocate of domestic violence survivors, primarily through the R.O.S.E. Fund, where he leads efforts to help women regain their self-esteem after harrowing episodes of violence.
“I am thrilled and greatly humbled to be a part of this ceremony and what it represents,” says Walsh. “By becoming a White Ribbon Ambassador, I hope to give a louder voice to both those who have had the strength to break the cycle of domestic violence and victims who are too afraid to speak out.”
The 3rd Annual White Ribbon Day celebration will take place Tuesday, March 2, in the State House Gardner Auditorium at 1:00 P.M. For more information regarding this event and others related to the White Ribbon Campaign, please visit http://www.janedoe.org/whiteribbonday.
About Jane Doe Inc.
Jane Doe Inc. (JDI), The Massachusetts Coalition Against Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence, brings together organizations and people committed to ending domestic violence and sexual assault. The organization creates social change by addressing the root causes of this violence and by promoting justice, safety and healing for survivors. JDI advocates for responsive public policy, promotes collaboration, raises public awareness and supports member organizations to provide comprehensive prevention and intervention services.
About the R.O.S.E. Fund
The R.O.S.E. (Regaining One’s Self-Esteem) Fund was established in 1992 as an umbrella organization chartered to raise funds for and awareness of women who have had the extraordinary strength and courage to break the cycle of domestic violence. Through the dedication of staff and volunteers, the leadership of the board and with the unwavering support of sponsors, The R.O.S.E. Fund has been transforming and profoundly improving the lives of women survivors ever since.
The R.O.S.E Fund is recognized in the greater Boston community, as well as the nation, as a leader in the movement to end violence against women. Increasing the self-esteem of the population of women we serve is the thread that runs through all of the organization’s efforts and programs.
Visit The R.O.S.E. Fund online at:
Happy Valentine’s Day from The ROSE Fund!
As a brief update on your prior investments in The ROSE Fund and the female survivors we serve, in 2009 for every $1 of expense we incurred more than $2 of value was delivered to these courageous women in the form of much needed reconstructive medical services and scholarship monies!
This has been achieved in large part due to the generosity of our medical partners and the tireless efforts of our staff (of 1) and volunteers (many).
As a result of the growth and strength of our expanding network of medical providers, our 2010 plan projects that we will be able to deliver more than 300 units of medical service (i.e. a medical, surgical or dental procedure). Based on that, for every $1 of expense we incur in 2010 more than $4 of medical services will be delivered to a female survivor of domestic violence who could otherwise not afford to erase the phsical reminders of her abusive past.
With your help, we will continue to help these brave women to re-build their lives and regain their self-esteem.
Below is a simple love story from a recent ROSE recipient ….
February 14th 2010 is sure to be another day full of fulfillment, love and laughter for ROSE recipient Mary Mandolin*. But this wasn’t always the case for this proud mother living just north of Boston. In fact for more than 10 years that was far from the case as she lived through an abusive relationship. In Mary’s* own words…
“He gave me black eyes so that I had to stay home or else wear sunglasses when I left the house. He broke my nose. He would call me unspeakable names. It was an every six weeks cycle. He was always saying it would never happen again. I would forgive him. Six weeks later it would happen all over again.
Along the way I became a changed person. I believed it when he told me that nobody else would want me, that I was an unattractive loser. I also believed I loved him. I handed myself over to him completely and lost myself in the process.
I stayed and I stayed and I stayed. I stayed because Christmas was coming. I stayed because the kids needed school clothes. I stayed because we had bills to pay. Before I knew it, ten or fifteen years were gone. Finally an inner voice, the real me buried deep inside, said: “You’ve got to get out.” And finally I did get out. And it was like a whole new world, a wonderful world.
Therapy saved my life. It taught me the basics all over again: what’s right and what’s wrong, how to love and appreciate myself. Every day I do something nice for myself. Can you believe it — I didn’t even know what my favorite color was – what color blouse or dress I liked. I would only dress for him, for what he liked.
My therapist told me about the ROSE Fund and the work they do to help survivors like me erase the physical reminders of our abusive past. Soon thereafter I was at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary meeting with Dr Jaimie DeRosa. I shared with her how with every glance in a mirror I saw myself disfigured. How the horror of the attacks would come back, and of the humiliation I suffered. She was so nice. She comforted me and said that she had seen worse and that she and her staff were going to take great care of me. You have no idea what that was like to hear.
After the surgery, when she took the bandages off my nose, I couldn’t stop crying. For the first time in many years I could see the real me. Now I wake up every morning, brush my teeth and I say out loud, “Well, good morning, Sunshine!”
With that surgery, everything feels new again. I can’t say enough about The R.O.S.E. Fund. It saved my life. My kids have seen the dramatic change in me. I look like and I feel like the woman I’m supposed to be. I can go out of the house. I can look people in the eye and I can smile.
To victims who haven’t yet broken the cycle, I can completely understand. You think it’s love but it’s not love. You have to love yourself more than that. You can change your life. It’s about letting go, starting over and learning to love yourself again. I have, and it’s truly wonderful.
By the way, I think I look great in purple. As it turns out, it’s my favorite color.
To those who continue to support ROSE, thank you so much for what you have given me and my family and Happy Valentine’s Day!”
* Name has been changed to ensure the safety and privacy of our recipient
Cheers to Love, in all its forms!
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Thanks for your continued support!
Have a Heart this Valentine’s Day and donate to help other victims of domestic violence love themselves first.
Hello there, 2010. A new year, a new decade. What are your resolutions?
We’ve heard a lot of people say that they’ve resolved to help others and we couldn’t be more thrilled. To help you get a leg-up on your resolution, we’re letting you know that the R.O.S.E. Fund is always accepting donations…no matter how small the amount.
Of course, we accept other forms of support. You can help by recruiting your friends to our Cause, or by asking them to make a donation if you cannot afford to do so yourself.
Volunteers are always welcome. For more information on how you can lend time to the R.O.S.E. Fund, visit our Web site.
Or, if you’d just like to know what we’re up to, sign up for our newsletter.
Thank you for all those who contributed in 2009. We hope you’re all as excited as we are for what 2010 beholds!
The R.O.S.E. Fund team
To our supporters:
Thank you for the priceless gifts you have given.
Your continued support of the R.O.S.E. Fund has helped many female survivors of domestic violence receive priceless gifts this year.
Holidays are a time for family and friends to get together and celebrate. While it seems natural to go home, attend family functions or even travel to see our loved ones, many women who have been a victim of domestic violence have lasting scars or cracked teeth that prevent them from wanting to show their faces around the holidays. It reminds them of what they went through and it is too painful to explain this to even the closest of family members.
Your support not only helps these women rejoice this holiday season, but it also lets them re-connect with their friends and family with a new sense of self-esteem.
This year alone dozens of women have received more than a hundred medical services associated with dental and facial reconstructive surgeries. Many have completed the process and countless others are still receiving treatment. What a priceless gift!
‘All I want for Christmas is my Two Front Teeth’
Year round, the R.O.S.E. Fund receives innumerable requests for medical and dental services that will help these survivors erase the physical reminders of their abusive past.
For Christmas 2009, the big gift on Sharon’s list was “her two front teeth”. In 2008, Sharon was disfigured by her abuser, resulting in numerous head and neck injuries including getting her teeth knocked out. Sharon overcame the cycle of domestic violence by recognizing that if she did not leave, she might end up like her close friend, who was killed by her abuser. As a mother and soon to be grandmother, she called for help.
She entered into a transitional living program and eventually went to a dentist who, based on her condition, had to pull out the rest of her teeth. She was then directed to other dental specialists for additional care but she did not have the financial means to remedy this uncomfortable and upsetting injury. Sharon was left without teeth, in pain and unable to chew or eat properly.
With the help of the R.O.S.E. Fund, Dr. Corbett, who is a participating R.O.S.E. dentist, was able to give Sharon the treatment she needed to include a complete set of dentures. Dr. Corbett and his dedicated staff gave Sharon her smile back, going so far as to keep his office open on Dec 22nd to meet the Christmas deadline. Sharon is thankful for your gifts this year and for Dr. Corbett and his staff’s dedication and compassion.
“Dr. Corbett’s staff is wonderful! They are very kind and I have had a number of pleasant experiences with them. They always go overboard.”
In Sharon’s words; “After I get my teeth I will walk with my head up and smile a lot. I will have more confidence when I go for job interviews. More than ever, I would like to be able to speak to other female survivors of domestic violence and let them know there is a light at the end of all the madness. Just keep the faith.”
Keeping the Faith
At the R.O.S.E. Fund, from survivors to supporters, we are keeping the faith this holiday season. Our hope is to continue to provide the light at the end of the madness for the many other applicants in need of our services.
Below is a partial list of current R.O.S.E. applicants who are in a similar state of need as Sharon was before her treatments. With them we are keeping the faith, in waiting for their ‘two front teeth’ to regain their smiles, to build their self-esteem and to celebrate for the holiday:
Lizbet, CA – broken teeth
Ruth, MA – 2 front teeth missing
Frieda, MA – all teeth missing
Maria, MA – missing front teeth
Lydia, MA – broken, missing teeth
Carrie, MA – broken teeth
Renee, NJ – missing and loose teeth
Angel, NM – cracked front tooth
‘Tis the season of giving. We hope that you enjoy spending time this holiday season with your friends and family, and we hope that you continue to help R.O.S.E. Fund recipients reconnect with theirs.
Have a happy, healthy and safe holiday this year!
Dan Walsh, Chairman
The R.O.S.E. Fund
As indicated in previous posts, many individuals of note are lending their support to the R.O.S.E. Fund for tomorrow night’s 14th Annual Awards Gala. In addition to the phenomenal women receiving awards this year, we are honored to have two fantastic hosts for the evening: Local television personality Anne Allred and actor Mike O’Malley.
Anne Allred is an anchor on “7NEWS Today” in New England (M-F, 5-7 a.m.) and “7NEWS at Noon,” as well as a general assignment reporter. She also anchors 7NEWS newsbreaks during the TODAY Show.
Anne joined 7NEWS in December 2006. She is a three-time regional Emmy Award nominee for general news reporting. During her time at 7NEWS, Anne has covered stories from the Virginia Tech massacre to the Beijing Olympics. She comes to 7NEWS from WSYX/WTTE in Columbus, Ohio. While in Columbus, her local coverage earned her the Society of Professional Journalists Award for news writing.
Anne was also a reporter for National Public Radio, as well as a reporter at WCTI in the Outer Banks of New Bern, North Carolina.
Outside of work, Anne loves to root on her alma mater, the Ohio State Buckeyes and dedicates her time to local charities. She works with the Semper Fidelis Society, Fisher House Boston, and Angel Flight Northeast.
Anne currently resides in Boston.
Born in Boston, Mike O’Malley’s initial claim to fame was serving as a host for game shows “Get the Picture” and “GUTS” on children’s television network Nickelodeon. He eventually went on to make his major motion picture debut, most notably as Mike Perry in Deep Impact, for which he was billed alongside Robert Duvalll, Morgan Freeman and Vanessa Redgrave. Mike’s film credits also include Oliver in 28 Days and Lenny Horton in The Perfect Man.
Most recently, Mike’s major credits have been for television, beginning with his role as Jimmy Hughes in “Yes, Dear.” Since the series’ finale in 2006, he has also played recurring character Stuart on “My Name is Earl.” On September 23, he appeared on the up-and-coming series “Glee” as Burt Hummel, the father of a high school glee club performer.
In reality, Mike is known for his dedication to Boston sports teams and appeared in ESPN commercials as a very true-to-life character, “The Rick,” a fervent Boston sports fan. (Watch him as “The Rick” here.) He’s also known for his devotion to the Boston Red Sox and threw out the ceremonial first pitch at a May 2006 game.
In addition to his involvement with the Red Sox as a fan, Mike has dedicated significant time and energy to the Red Sox Foundation, for whom he hosted a benefit in April 2009.
Mike and his wife, Lisa, have two children: Fiona, 6, and Seamus, 4.
Each year, the R.O.S.E. Fund receives numerous applications for our awards. These applicants tell stories that are, at once, poignant, heartbreaking and awe-inspiring.
The stories we hear from these remarkable women are constant reminders of the tremendous support we receive from our donors and volunteers. Because of this continued support, we are able, proud and extremely humbled to announce the 2009 recipient of the R.O.S.E. Fund Award; a woman of extraordinary spirit and strength of character: Nadine Walker Mooney.
Nadine’s story greatly moved and encouraged all of us at the R.O.S.E. Fund; now, we would like to share some excerpts from her incredible story of transforming from a victim of brutal abuse to the epitome of an astonishingly courageous survivor.
“In spite of our mutual reason for coming together, I am happy that the R.O.S.E. Fund has made it possible for the opportunity to connect with all of you. I am certain that the sharing of our respective stories will ease some of our pain. In addition, I am hopeful that our stories will empower our lives for the better.
My new life is more challenging than anything I have dealt with. I am legally blind. I have been this way since March 20, 2006. On that day, I became the victim of an attempted murder/ suicide.
I was involved in a relationship that I tried to end. He would not let me. What he did to me then, to him[self] and our families, was horrific, sad and completely unnecessary. I made every effort to end the relationship in an amicable manner. But, he was very possessive, obsessive and destructive.
Knowledge of these things prompted me to put a quick end to this relationship. I was faced with the fear that he might kill himself and take me with him. In the end, my fears were confirmed. That is exactly what he tried to do, on that fateful morning in March. I survived. He did not.
Besides losing my vision, my hearing has been somewhat reduced. The doctors expected me to have very little hearing left. But, because I took such good care of my health and body, I was able to make what the doctors called “an amazing recovery.” I no longer have any sense of smell and my taste buds have been drastically reduced. I have just enough to enjoy the food I eat. Thank God for that.
But, I can walk and talk and think and move and hug and kiss and smile and breathe and dance and sing and so much more.
My children are grown. I have four: three girls and a son. They are wonderful and productive and strong and kind and loving and intelligent. Three of them have children; I have six grandchildren: Five girls and one boy. They are all incredibly funny, smart and beautiful. [They] could not have asked for better parents.
Prior to the ‘incident’ that left me blind, life was good. I had a wonderful career as a medical skincare professional. I had a nice apartment in Boston’s upscale South End. I had an active social life and lots of fun times. I was applying to Northeastern University for a degree as a Physician Assistant. This is one level below an M.D. My new ambitions were to work in the operating room of one of Boston’s top hospitals, specializing in plastic surgery.
These dreams have come to a screeching halt.
This relationship was a short one. We had been together for only eleven months. On a Monday night, April 18, 2005, the man who would forever change the direction of my life walked through the door of a Boston jazz club I often frequented. Ron approached me and started up a conversation. He was physically attractive. I found him somewhat interesting, funny and sure of himself. Before I left, he asked for my phone number. I took his but did not give him mine. When I finally called him, he was more than ready to see me again. During our first date, he told me that if I had not called him, he would have returned to the club, every Monday night, until he saw me again. In hindsight, I should have suspected certain things about his character that could be a problem. But, I did not. Like most women, I was flattered by his admission.
Our relationship started [well]. He was very considerate, funny and very protective of me. But, by the eighth month, things rapidly began to change. He started showing parts of his character that were going to be a problem: he became easily angered, very jealous and hit and hurt me on two different occasions as a result of his own insecurities. He was likely an alcoholic. His bouts with depression returned after I told him I wanted to end our relationship. Then, he became threatening and began stalking me when I refused to see him. By now, though, it would be too late to get out of this unscathed. Making matters worst, he practically lived at my place. I made the terrible mistake of giving him a key to my apartment. In the end, I had to change the locks on the main hallway and my apartment doors. As a result, I also had to pay for eight additional hallway keys made for the other tenants in my building. Consequently, my landlord threatened to evict me if he was seen visiting me. I was OK with that. This threat of eviction would allow me to tell him, in the hope that this would make him stay away.
But, neither the changing of the locks, nor the threat of eviction, kept him away. He told me that a restraining order would not keep him away, either. He admitted to having received those in the past. So, rather than staying away, he began stalking me in the mornings, on my way to catch the train for work.
It was on one of those mornings when he attacked me. It was shortly after I left my home for work, between 6:10 and 6:15 in the morning.
Through God’s mercy, I have no recollection of the attack. But, what I do know is that his possessive, obsessive and jealous personality would not allow him to let me find happiness elsewhere.
I awoke one day in Boston Medical Center to the sound of familiar voices of family members, engaged in conversation with each other. I had no idea where I was, or what had happened. I knew that whatever was wrong with me, he had done it.
Upon awakening, I saw only blackness. Then, I raised my hand to touch my face. My eyes were covered with heavy gauze bandages. I found a long stitched incision along the left side of my jaw. My mouth was wired shut. I discovered later that my right eye had been reconstructed then stitched shut; I no longer had an eyeball in there. I ran my hand over my head to discover that most of my hair had been shaved off. I had metal staples running across my head, from one ear to the other. This incision was done so that, whenever the surgeons had to perform another surgery, they could cut and fold down the skin from this scalp incision while unfolding the skin down over my face. This surgical approach would avoid leaving scars over the surface of my face, and saved me from looking like Frankenstein’s daughter.
These very skilled doctors did an incredible job of putting me back together. My daughters made sure of that by providing them with photos of me, before the ‘incident.’
Beyond my obvious physical scars, I had the emotional ones to deal with. I will never see again. I will never be able to look upon the faces of my children or grandchildren, my mother or that I know and love. I will never see the sunrise or set. I will never smell the aromas of life or of nature. I will never again see or smell those things in life that we take for granted. Instead, I live and move in total darkness all day every day. No matter where I go or what I do, I will see only darkness and smell nothing. My hearing has been reduced, in part, to the constant non-stop sound of electrical currents that I hear. Cover your own ears and you will hear what I hear, all day everyday. Except, I hear it louder.
I began a residential program at the Carroll Center for the Blind, where I lived for three months. Here, I received training in independent living: how to cook, clean my home, use a talking computer, mobility training with a cane, iron and use a washing machine and dryer, use of a vacuum cleaner, etc. One-on-one counseling services were also part of my training in independent living, as well as one class per week of group counseling. We lived in a mansion that had been converted into a dormitory. Upon completion of this program, I returned to Boston Medical Center for my final major facial surgery.
I began seeing a therapist once a week. Now, I attend my sessions only once or twice a month, as needed. I have never taken medication for depression, and hope I never will need to.
In March of 2007, I moved into my new apartment. Thanks to my training at the Carroll Center for the Blind, I am able to live alone. It is easier that way. I do not have to worry about anyone leaving shoes or things on the floor for me to fall over, or, things on or near the stove for me to set on fire. I no longer have any sense of smell; by the time the smoke detectors go off, the house could be engulfed in fire.
Due to the loss of my vision, I am currently living on social security disability income. I must be retrained in another field before I can hope to find a job. In this current recession, with so many skilled workers unemployed, I have no idea when I’ll be able to return to work. But, rather than worry about it, I am making plans to attend school for a degree in political law and advocacy. I am planning on a career in public policy, researching different degree and certificate programs offered at local universities and colleges. My goal is to become a political advocate, in order to help change or create laws / policies that help battered women, the disabled and the elderly.
I’m interested in training as a motivational speaker in order to inspire others to control the destiny and outcomes of their lives. I am currently engaged in talks with various women’s centers and organizations for speaking assignments, as well as other volunteer opportunities that will be helpful to many.
I do not want this tragic thing that has happened to me to be swept under the rug. I want to turn this tragedy into a triumph for helping others avoid, or get away from abuse in their lives.”
With great excitement, the R.O.S.E. Fund announces another name from its roster of supporters and honorees. Highly accomplished lawyer and professor Sarah Buel will receive the Sterling R.O.S.E. Award of Excellence at the Annual Awards Gala in October.
Buel, originally from Chicago, Illinois, has long been an advocate of domestic violence (DV) prevention and support to its victims. Her dedication to the issue stems largely from her own history as a DV survivor, as she married into an abusive relationship at the age of twenty.
Born in 1953, Buel was very ambitious even as a child, despite her familial background. Her mother had married an abusive man and her siblings were frequently in trouble; it was expected that she would follow in their footsteps. However, Buel had higher hopes for herself and moved to New York after the 8th grade to continue her education. From that day forward, she was the epitome of self-sufficiency: She worked her way through high school and college for several years until she earned her undergraduate degree from Harvard in 1987; for many of those latter years, she was a single mother.
Buel then went on to study at Harvard Law School, eventually graduating cum laude in 1990. During her time there, she was very committed to the the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau and also founded the Harvard Battered Women’s Advocacy Project, the Harvard Women in Prison Project, as well as the Harvard Children and Family Rights Project.
Since then, Buel has worked tirelessly to raise awareness of DV. Following her days in law school, she worked as a state policy coordinator and legal aid paralegal. Eventually, she became a prosecutor with the Norfolk County District Attorney’s Office in Quincy, Massachusetts, where she contributed to the formation of many esteemed DV and juvenile programs.
For over 30 years, Buel has continued to focus on the deterrence of DV, in addition to support of its victims. Today, she is a Clinical Professor at the University of Texas School of Law, teaching Domestic Violence and the Law, criminal law and torts courses. She founded and still directs many of the school’s advocacy programs, including the Domestic Violence Clinic, Voices Against Violence and the interdisciplinary University of Texas Institute on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault.
Though she carries her own list of accomplishments far too long to be recited in one sitting, Buel frequently notes that she carries no greater pride than that for her son, Jacey, who also graduated from law school after working with at-risk teens in Boston for five years.
The 14th Annual R.O.S.E. Fund Awards Gala will take place on October 13, 2009 at the Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel. For tickets and more information, please visit: http://rosefund.org/events.html
It is with great pride that the R.O.S.E. Fund announces actress Olympia Dukakis will be honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award at its annual Awards Gala in October.
Dukakis, a Lowell, MA native, has long been acclaimed for her candid advocacy of women’s rights. With her unparalleled command of the spoken word, she has raised both funds and awareness of domestic violence, giving a voice to many victims who cannot or are afraid to speak for themselves.
In a 2007 interview with BroadwayWorld.com, Dukakis described domestic violence as a “pandemic in this country,” noting the importance of performance as a method for raising consciousness of what can be hidden issues.
“As artists,” she said, “we are out there, forward, visible, and we can … have an influence.”
Dukakis has donated time to numerous organizations benefiting domestic violence victims, survivors and prevention programs, including the Women’s Center, Western New York Women’s Fund, University of New Hampshire’s Sexual Harassment and Rape Prevention Program, and the National Domestic Violence Project.
Born in 1931, Dukakis won the 1988 Oscar for Best Actress in a Supporting Role as Rose Castorini in Moonstruck, as well as a Golden Globe and a BAFTA Film Award. Her career highlights also include roles in Steel Magnolias, Mr. Holland’s Opus and appearances on such popular TV shows as “The Simpsons” and “Frasier.”
This year’s additional honorees include Massachusetts First Lady Diane Patrick and Sarah Buel, UT law professor and co-founder of the National Training Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence.
The 14th Annual R.O.S.E. Fund Awards Gala will take place on October 13, 2009 at the Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel.
About the R.O.S.E. Fund
The R.O.S.E. Fund (Regaining One’s Self Esteem) provides female survivors of domestic violence with free medical and dental procedures, facial reconstructive surgeries, cash awards and scholarship monies. Since it was founded 1992, the R.O.S.E. Fund has invested more than $1 million in these women, their families and their futures, enabling them to re-build their lives and regain their self-esteem. For more information or to purchase tickets, please visit www.rosefund.org or contact Kait at (415) 216-8494 or Kait@redarrowcomm.com.
The last several weeks have been particularly busy ones here at the R.O.S.E. Fund, as we’ve been working diligently with our medical partners to get treatment for as many women as we could prior to the July 4th holiday. The effort has been a huge and satisfying success.
A number of these women haven’t attended traditional July 4th celebrations with their family and friends for a few years or more. They’ve avoided these gatherings because they are too embarrassed by the facial scars and dental injuries that they live with as a result of an abusive relationship. They’re too ashamed to have to explain what happened to them, too tired to talk about it and answer all of the unavoidable questions.
“How could you let that happen to you?”
“Why didn’t you leave sooner?”
It’s no way to relax over a holiday.
However, thanks to the support of the R.O.S.E. Fund friends and family, these were able to celebrate their own freedom, pride and independence over the holiday weekend. Below is the story of a recent R.O.S.E. Award recipient who will be seeing her family and celebrating with them at their annual July 4th cookout … for the first time in 2 years.
Tamara* has suffered from bouts of depression and been particularly reclusive for the past few years. Her melancholy outlook stems from the abuse she suffered in her last relationship and the embarrassment she experiences from the resulting scars. The abusive relationship left her with low self-esteem, as well as facial scars and a range of dental issues; most notably, Tamara is missing her front tooth. Her dreams of reuniting with her extended family at their annual 4th of July cookout have finally come true since the onset of her injuries.
I grew up in Boston; Jamaica Plain. There were two of us: Mom and me and, later, my little sister. Mom was a nurse.
Now I’m 38, my sister is 24. I have two boys, ages 20 and 12. My oldest boy graduated high school and is through one year of college. He’s [hoping to become] a Medical Assistant. My youngest will be in seventh grade in September. They’re good boys.
My [passion] is helping the elderly; I [was] a nurse’s aide and I want to get back to that. I want to take good care of my Mom, as she needs it. I want to make enough [of a] salary for her to come and live with me.
There were some fun times with my husband, especially in our first few years. Abuse happened slowly and there we’re definitely warning signs. I overlooked them.
It started with verbal abuse. I was “good for nothing,” et cetera. I should have caught the warning signs; I should have [left] then, but a lot of women stay in a relationship for the children or financial issues. That was me. I took his “sorry”s and “I love you'”s, but it became physical.
One of the last times, he cut my face with a knife and punched me so hard that his fist broke my front tooth, resulting with me going to the hospital. I had been with him for eight years, but I had enough. I knew I had to pack up my kids and go. I had to wake up before he killed me.
I packed myself up and a lady, [my advocate,] took me in. When I first met her, I was in no condition to talk about all that pain again. She told me, “I’m here to help YOU! You’re the one will have to go back out into the world again. Your kids need you.”
I started opening up and the talk was good. She told me about The R.O.S.E. Fund and said, “There’s help for you – right here in Boston!” I really didn’t believe it. Why would people want to help me?
The first time I went to Dr. Corbett’s office with the other R.O.S.E. Fund ladies, he and his staff were so welcoming. He had a choice of coffees and teas that you’d like to have in the morning. He took x-rays, made us feel so at home and even said I had beautiful teeth. That was wonderful to hear. Then, he measured me for an oral implant and matched my teeth up with it.
Dr. Corbett is a very patient, kind man. He said, “It’s okay. I’m going to make you beautiful again.” That just melted my heart away! Having my teeth fixed by Dr. Corbett and The R.O.S.E. Fund just shoots my self esteem right up! At first, I was embarrassed and still can’t smile, [since I feel like] people are staring at me. But keeping in touch with The R.O.S.E. Fund reminds me: This is all going to change.
Through The R.O.S.E. Fund, I received dental work and a tooth implant from Dr. Corbett; he and his staff used FedEx so the implant would make it in time for the holiday. I have also started treatment for the scar removal with Dr. Mack Cheney at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary. I can’t believe the treatment I have received. I will soon look like I’m sixteen again: Beautiful and unmarked! And this weekend, like everybody else, I’ll be at a cookout in the ‘burbs with my friends and family.
To the R.O.S.E. Fund supporters, partners and staff: I LOVE YOU SO MUCH! Getting my teeth fixed and scars removed has changed my life! You have no idea how much it helps me every day of my life. Please keep up the good work for those of us who so desperately need it.
*Names have been changed for the purpose of safety and confidentiality