Editor:

During October, SARC takes the time to recognize Domestic Violence Awareness month and reflect upon why the work we do is so important to the community. Renee, a lifetime advocate and an employee with SARC, shares what this month and the work SARC does, means to her.

As a child, I witnessed my mother's physical abuse at the hands of my step-father over and over again. As I graduated from high school and headed off to college in 1994, my mother finally left; after suffering over 15 years of physical and emotional abuse. Unbeknownst to me, my mother had ended her marriage only to enter into another physically abusive relationship. In the year 2000, 1,247 women were killed by an intimate partner (Bureau of Justice Statistics); my mother was 1 of the 1,247 women brutally murdered that year.

The violent loss of my mother inspired me to reach out to women who are in physically, mentally, emotionally and economically abusive relationships. I truly believe that if my mother had someone to confide in about the domestic violence she silently suffered, she may have broken her cycle of abusive relationships that spanned so many years. Instead of giving up on life as would have been so easy for me to do at that time, I chose to turn my mother's tragedy into triumph through my own strength and motivation.

My vow to turn victims into survivors, one person at a time, in honor of my mother is the driving force behind my passion as a Domestic Violence Advocate and the reason why, October (as every other month) is important to me.

Beth League

SARC of Harford County Program Assistant