My name is Paula Walters, the founder of Standing Courageous, INC. I am a 9-year survivor of domestic violence with strangulation. My abuser was originally charged with domestic violence and assault. Due to the extent of my injuries that developed over the next few days from the strangulation those charges were dismissed and felony assault was the new charge.
The officers that took pictures of me after the incident took three pictures of my injuries in the ER. The SANE nurse took twenty-six pictures of my injuries during that same visit. Due to a loophole that was discovered by the defense in the policy and procedures for domestic violence, the pictures taken by the SANE nurse were unable to be used in my case. My case never made it to trial and my abuser was convicted of attempted aggravated menacing after a plea deal from the prosecutor. He spent no time in jail for what he did to me and to this day is still allowed to carry a weapon.
It has been a long road to recovery for me. I have battled with binge drinking as well as a suicide attempt. For the last several years, I have felt let down by the legal system. I work in the medical field and I am frequently reminded of all the gaps in policies, understanding, education, and training that fail victims, survivors, and the prosecution of their abusers.
In September of 2015, I attended the World EMS Expo in Las Vegas. There, I sat in on a lecture about life’s choices and being a thermostat or a thermometer. It was then that I decided to come back and work to bridge the gaps between prehospital agencies and get hospitals to add policies to better protect and assist victims. It was October 1st, 2015, that Standing Courageous, INC. was born. On December 3rd, 2015, Standing Courageous, INC. held its first official board meeting.
Be on your guard; STAND firm in the faith; be COURAGEOUS; be strong.
- 1 Corinthians 16:13 NIV
The name Standing Courageous is from the above bible verse. The Founder of Standing Courageous, INC. as well as many victims and survivors become strong in their faith to help them with the recovery process. The above verse has become a very important part of Paula’s life. She formed the name of this non profit from that verse.
I am Paula Walters and I will courageously stand for all victims so that they may, too, stand strong and say, “I am a victim no longer, I am a survivor.”