After over a year spent in the Becky’s Fund office, I have so many wonderful experiences and memories. I began this internship not knowing much about domestic violence except that it’s bad and people are generally against it. Beyond learning all of the statistics, sad truths, and controversies surrounding dating and domestic violence, I’ve been completely surprised at the alternative ways to protect one’s self from the cycle of violence.
Family: Yes, it’s obvious and cheesy, but it’s too easy to take for granted having good relationships with family members. These are generally the people who know you best and have to stand by you no matter what. Family members are also the best resource for detecting when your moods and behaviors have significantly altered, which can be difficult to recognize about yourself.
Friends: Friends are yet another group of people that can be neglected when you have an intimate partner that takes over a large portion of your life. Take the time to keep up and maintain your friendships because these are the individuals who are most likely to tell you that they see a problem in your relationship. Friendships improve mental health and give you an outlet to air your relationship grievances in a safe space, whether or not there is dating or domestic violence in your life.
Love: A college friend once remarked on a burgeoning relationship that “relationships should be easy in the beginning,” which has inspired me ever since. We’ve all heard the saying that relationships take work, but the work should start later. If a relationship is that volatile early on, it’s unlikely to suddenly get better. There is enough drama in all other aspects of life; I want love to improve the quality of my life and not make it harder.
Acceptance: Acceptance isn’t about just accepting someone’s flaws, but also accepting when something is or is not going to work out. At Becky’s Fund, we talk all the time about the warning signs of domestic violence and how people always seem to miss them. I believe sometimes we do see the warning signs but choose not to accept that they are enough of a reason to let go of a relationship.
Occupation: The more you keep yourself well-rounded and occupied with various activities, jobs, and hobbies, the more satisfied you are likely to feel about your life. Isolation from family and friends by an intimate partner is the easiest way for a perpetrator to get away with abuse, especially if there is physical evidence. As a friend recently told me (filled with sarcasm), “Guys love it when the girl they date drops everything that made her interesting and becomes a shell of her former self.” You start a relationship because you find a person interesting and stimulating; those are traits that should never change.
I’ve learned so much this year from Becky, all the interns with whom I worked, the friends I made, and the volunteers, participants, and attendees with whom I spoke. I leave this organization feeling more than adequately prepared for life and feeling secure that I have a place to turn if I ever need assistance.
So thank you all for the many wonderful memories,