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A Willing Vessel by Shakirie Simmons

My experience working against domestic violence is bittersweet. Working as a counselor, you see the difficulties of clients trying to get away from and stop the abuse; while also trying to be fair and empathetic with the person whom is harming them. The culture of our society believes that the fight against domestic violence ends once the victims leave the relationship. This complicates the ability for my clients to see the growth and change that takes place when implementing new behavior changes in the fight against their partner. The sweet part is seeing that change even when they can’t see it themselves. Helping clients to find their self-worth and self-love is my goal each day. I truly believe that once we know our worth and believe in it, we can stand firm in what we deserve.

Being a black woman working against domestic violence is WONDERFUL! Unfortunately, research has shown that black women are the most to be killed in domestic violence incidents. Although it hurts to know that so many black women have lost their lives to these issues, it furthers my duty as an advocate for victims to make sure that the women who look like me get educated on these topics. Working for Safe Harbor has allowed for me to not only be a face for other black women who are afraid to speak out about their experiences, but to also change the conversations about domestic violence in my personal life. I believe knowledge is power and to be able to be a voice in a community that misunderstands domestic violence is an honor. I’m willing to be a vessel for my community. It is so important for girls, more specifically black girls, to see role models and people who have overcome things they may be facing themselves.

Black HerStory means uplifting our black queens. It means setting trends. It means challenging the stereotypes. It means loving our hair that rises to the sun, our curves that are artificially mimicked and skin that soaks up the sun. It means setting ourselves apart from the misconceptions. It means tearing down the statistics. It means walking tall. It means recognizing that we have carried generations of hurt, pain and inequality on our backs. It means not focusing on the pain, but identifying the strengths. It means taking those strengths to plant the seeds of healing. It means….. being authentically, unapologetically BLACK!

My ancestors….. you endured the ultimate forms of violence. You stood strong. You persevered. I honor you.

Happy Black History Month! #BlackGirlMagic

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