I started Standing Courageous on October 1st, 2015. I was raised by parents who taught me that if you don’t like something, you always have the option to change it. What is happening in our County with interpersonal violence is out of control. I know from personal experience how much damage domestic violence can do to a person, their family and friends, and their coworkers. I decided I needed to help others not go down the very dark path I walked.
On December 3rd 2015, Standing Courageous held its first board meeting. I stood in front of an amazing group of people who joined me in this journey. The purpose of our organization is to train all those who work with victims of domestic violence to be better educated and aware of all aspects of domestic violence. We educate people on how the malignant narcissist and the web of control and isolation they spin around their prey. We train them on how a man/woman becomes a “conditioned victim” and how to better approach them to not isolate them further. More importantly, we educate on the domestic violence incident itself. We educate our attendees on the scene safety aspects. Statics show that domestic violence scenes are volatile to fire, ems, and law enforcement. We educate fire fighters, law enforcement, nursing staff, and advocates about proper documentation, taking photos and the importance of follow up pictures, and how to properly asses and document a strangulation incident. We discuss the importance of taking details from the callers with dispatchers. Standing Courageous is working to bring all agencies that work with victims in each County together so they have a well informed and aware group that is all working together and not leaving gaps for victims to fall through. We also speak to the general public to make them better aware of all the dynamics about domestic violence and how they may help a victim in need. We have also created domestic violence and strangulation policies as well as a strangulation questioner with body gram that can be adapted by agencies to use for their own.
Today is June 5, 2016 and to date we have worked in three Counties (Henry, Wood, and Erie), spoke at Bowling Green State University, Life Flight Conference, St Vincent’s Mercy Trauma Update, and a few small group lectures. To date we have trained approximately 18 Dispatchers, 150 Fire/EMS, Law Enforcement, 40 ER/hospital medical staff members, 10 Advocates, and a few prosecutors. When speaking at BGSU we reached about 50-60 of the student leaders at the campus. Tomorrow, June 6th, 2016, we will be speaking at a block watch meeting that usually has about 65-80 people in attendance. I have personally been down to the State House to help advocate for Monica’s Law as well as working to gather support on more training and education for first responders about domestic violence.
Standing Courageous has trained all of these people for free. That is the purpose of our nonprofit. I wanted to make these changes and provide this education because there are gaps in our education and training for first responders. There are lack of policies that provide better treatment for victims. I have opened up the very private details of my case, treatments, and my abuse so others can learn from it. I think it is important for first responders, nurses, doctors, advocates, and prosecutors to see a survivors’ journey and how the system let me down.
We have received incredible feedback on our trainings. We even received a thank you letter from an advocate who was able to recognize the signs of strangulation. This victim would have been sent home because of the lack of evidence that the strangulation took place but the advocate was able to recognize it and send her for treatment. We will continue to work throughout Northwest Ohio. We appreciate the support of those who have helped us because as a nonprofit we rely on those who support what we are doing. Domestic violence affects 1 in every 3 women and 1 in every 6 men. Chances are you know someone who this is happening to, please keep yourself informed. The life you save could be someone more close to home than you ever thought.