|Posted by MASO on December 28, 2012 at 12:35 AM|
Wow it is amazing how fast this year flew by. We are so focused on where we want to be as an organization, we sometimes forget how far we have come.
Our organization started out by accident in the attempts by a few mothers trying to solve their own challenges with domestic abuse issues in Massachusetts. In our search for answers and solutions, we began helping other parents in healing and advocacy. As time went on we began realizing there is abigger picture to the problem and began collecting data for statistics and writing about healing, publishing research articles on health consequences to abuse, and before we knew it, the organization took on a life of its own without any agenda except to figure out “why me”. We began to hear and see the evidence of countless cases of mothers losing custody to “documented” abusers. Some of these abusers were on the sex offender registry and some had countless medical documentations of child sex abuse that was ignored by the family courts.
In searching for answers to our own cases, we began seeing a biggercalling into finding the solutions to this epidemic. Yes epidemic. Until we went through our own cases, we were blinded to the severity of the injustices victims faced every day as well as blinded by the falsity that the current laws on the books would protect us and our children and failed.
The year is 2006, and our founders were faced with the scary decision to finally leave an abuser and to protect their children. The amount of courage it took to first admit that you are not to blame for everything wrong … admit you are a victim of abuse … to admit you did not deserve the abuse … was quite scary. Some of us even begged the police departments to not prosecute our abusers. One didn’t for several reasons at the time … Fear of financial ability to support the children if convicted and secondly a statement that was said that may sound familiar to victims currently being abused or victims who may have recently left … “He is gone. I do not want to prosecute, because I do not want to hurt him.” Completely disregarding the abuser not only physically, emotionally, psychologically, and financially hurt you but the children. It is a statement, many victims make whether to themselves or out loud. This is because of the gaslighting tactics many abusers do to strip the victim of any confidence, clarity, and free thinking. It takes time, with lots of support, help and healing to see the truth. However, in all these cases of abuse, the system failed to protect.
Here are some troubling statistics/facts in Massachusetts:
- Just in the last ten years alone, child abuse has doubled in the State of Massachusetts while funding to services and protections to victims of abuse have been slashed.
- The cost of intimate partner violence exceeds $5.8 billion each year, $4.1 billion of which is for direct medical and mental health services.
- There were fifteen victims of domestic homicide in only the first half of 2006, which was equal to the total killed in 2005
- One in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime.
- One in 33 men have experienced an attempted or completed rape.
- Batterers will gain custody of the children 70% of the time in Family Court. (Ass. Of Judges)
- 2004 Study by Harvard University states, Family Courts in Massachusetts are failing victims of abuse and their children.
- Judge James Menno of Plymouth/Brockton Family Court has rendered some very troubling custody decisions in abuse cases and yet, he was the key note speaker the Fatherhood Coalition for incarcerated fathers on how to gain visitation and custody of their children in 2007.
Learning about the severity of the problem in Massachusetts when we have young children at stake, empowered these parents to want to do more.
In an indirect approach, by focusing on the “other” cases for the answers, we were contacted by a local movie producer and a 20/20 reporter. At the time we were working with 13 cases that had too many coincidences in regards to the injustices to victims of abuse.
Even though nothing has yet to materialize as a result of those contacts, it gave us the direction we needed. By talking about our own personal cases, we were talking on deaf ears, but talking about numerous cases, now over 20, we solicited a response. We knew we were on the right path. To this day, we continue to march on with the research we are doing in this area and learning patience along the way.
The healing process also took on a life of its own. In searching for healing from abuse, these parents found ourselves healing others. One of them even discovered holistic methods of healing that helped escalate the healing process. This drove the need to look into “why” “how” and ultimately over time began doing various sessions for various domestic abuse groups with positive affirmations the impact these modalities can have in healing trauma or abuse.
One of our volunteers even wrote about the ABC’s of healing from abuse and trauma. We grew so big, but no place to call home, became a little scary, but knew those we are trying to help needed us and their need for us to help them gave us a motivation and calling.
In Jan 2011, we decided to offer our first meeting and were grateful to have renowned legal expert Wendy Murphy as our key note speaker for the evening talking about the legal system and abuse. We had advocates from various organizations,victims of abuse, and lawyers. It was a huge success. Wendy was amazing as usual and she also loved what we were trying to accomplish in our research and healing. With kind words of encouragement and wisdom, we took the leap of faith and moved the next step forward into forming into an official organization. We are grateful to Wendy for giving us the courage to move ahead.
We moved into our office space in June 2012 and started out of the gate with twelve interns with backgrounds ranging from business, economics, web,design, women and gender studies, psychology, sociology and law.
We became listed as a non-profit in Massachusetts. We created our mission statement and other organization formalities including a logo and branding. We created a https://www.facebook.com/MassachusettsSurvivorsOutreach" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">facebook and https://twitter.com/M_A_S_O" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">twitter accounts and set up a website.
We partook in the legislative processes and rally surrounding Melissa’s Bill in July 2012 as well as several other pending bills with seven other non-profit organizations, lawyers, and legislatures.
We continued our research in the injustices victims of abuse are faced with in the state of Massachusetts and still working on this data as we speak.
We resumed our healing services in September offering a variety of healing services and classes including coaching, meditation, energy medicine, stress reduction, reiki, holistic health counseling.
In October, we launched a community awareness initiative in support of Domestic Violence Awareness Month and held three seminars on Gaslighting abuse, Recognizing whether it is abuse or just an argument, and Holistic healing for victims of abuse.
We have partnered and collaborated with other organizations of issues. We have engaged local leadership and other local organizations for support and allegiance. We have written about reiki on “Reiki can do no harm or can it”, regarding the election process, Commentary on Sandy Hook Tragedy, and we have a few more pending that we are working on.
Considering where we were six months ago and what we have accomplished, we have done so much and have come a far way.
We are an organization of action as we believe that actions speak much louder than words. We still have a long way to go, and we are extremely grateful to all our supporters who have helped us get to where we are today. Our plea to you, is to help us get to the next phase in our journey of helping others, especially all our children who rarely have a voice in issues around abuse.
Please take a look at our 2013 Pending projects to see if you can helpout, or volunteer and as always donations are greatly needed and appreciated.