Why I Do This Work

May 17, 2017

by Emmie C., Bilingual Community Counselor, Safe Harbor

It was at David was regularly absent, his uniform often looked like it hadn’t been washed and he appeared distracted during classroom activities. One day after class David’s teacher told me that his father was abusive. I realized that playing soccer was David’s escape and that sometimes what was going on at home made coming to school a challenge or not possible at all.

David’s story taught me what it means to be trauma-informed and sparked a question that has been in the forefront of my mind as a counselor and advocate ever since: not the question “What is wrong with you?” but “What has happened to you?” David’s story also is a testament to the impact of domestic abuse on families and communities and the importance of breaking the cycle of violence.

I returned from Costa Rica and have worked in advocacy for survivors of domestic and sexual violence ever since. I am proud to work at Safe Harbor that continuously strives to integrate the principles of trauma-informed care into all areas of the agency. It is my privilege to work with a passionate and dedicated staff that work together to help empower survivors on their journey of healing after an abusive relationship.

I am a survivor of domestic violence.


“I didn’t know that I was being abused...

I am a survivor of domestic violence.


“I didn’t know that I was being abused because my definition of abuse looked different. My husband pushed me, but most of my suffering was verbal and psychological. I left my husband to protect our young daughter. Almost immediately I felt the weight of his oppression begin to lift. I could see a difference in my daughter as well. Then he broke into my home and assaulted me in-front of her.

I sought help and was led to Safe Harbor. My daughter and I are in counseling now. I am sorting out the mess that abuse has caused. I am finding my voice and seeking opportunities to grow and better my life as well as my daughter's. She will gauge her self-worth from my own self-worth. I must show her that she deserves the best, by expecting the best for myself.

Many years I suffered in silence. By telling my story and being honest with friends and family, I am taking control of my life again.”

- Beth

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