As a 19-year-old single mom of a young son, Julia heard repeatedly that she was “limiting herself” and would “never find a husband.” With those messages taken to heart, when she met a man who seemed relationship material, she embraced the opportunity.
What that meant was an isolated home in rural Washington with a man whose personality quickly changed once they were away from her family and friends. After “28 days of hell,” Julia had the personal strength and family support to free herself from the situation. Once he began turning his anger toward her son, “I knew I had to get out, and had to get out right away,” she says.
“When he went to work the next morning, I packed up everything I could carry and walked the 45 minutes to call my sister.”
Refuse To Abuse
Through the healing that followed, Julia committed herself to supporting others in similar situations and preventing domestic violence, through events like July 21’s Refuse To Abuse 5k, a joint event from the Seattle Mariners and the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
“This is how I can give back for the support I received from family, friends and my community,” Julia reflects, sharing a message of strength with women and men who might find themselves in a similar situation. “It’s important to build a sense of self-worth. You don’t need someone ‘to complete you,’ as the movie says. It’s OK to be who you are.”
Today, Julia is a happy, healthy grandmother of four amazing grandchildren. Looking forward to her sixth annual Refuse To Abuse 5K – a unique run/walk through every level of Safeco Field, from the players’ tunnel to the final lap around the field – Julia aims to raise $5,000 to support the Coalition’s work to engage teens and young people about healthy relationships, promote better laws, and create programming for survivors of abuse.
Alongside fundraising – Julia was third in individual fundraising last year! – she reflects on connections that happen each year.
“You’re at this event with people sharing their experiences – it’s part of the healing. It’s powerful,” she says, commending WSCADV for providing information and resources supporting a world without domestic violence, and tools to speak with children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews about healthy relationships.
Domestic Violence is Preventable
“The more people talk about domestic violence, the more we’ll share the message that it is preventable,” says Kelly Starr, WSCADV Director of Public Affairs, noting that 43 per cent of Washington women and 28 per cent of men have experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner.
To find the domestic violence program in your community, visit wscadv.org or call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or 1-800- 787-3224 (TTY).
Register today for the Refuse To Abuse 5K at refusetoabuse5k.org.