Stronger Together: Highlighting Fellow Survivors
August has been a month filled with positive affirmations. When I launched by Empowerment Video Series on YouTube about a month ago, I prayed desperately asking God to bring people along my path so I don't have to do this alone. Sure enough, individuals came alongside me and encouraged me to keep pursuing my mission of supporting fellow Domestic Violence Survivors in this unique way as a storyteller. I've received random emails, social media comments and text messages validating the efforts I've poured into making these videos. And I even received a Reporting Relief Fund from the Asian American Journalist Association's Los Angeles Chapter to create this type of content. I want to feature three individuals I've gotten to know better during this month:
Alisa and I met a few years ago when she became one of my first clients. I created a couple of videos for her nonprofit called GIVA - Giving is Getting. We reconnected during the pandemic, and I made a video for her and her husband's custom printing business called Reef Point Studios.
Alisa and I are both Christians, and this month we both felt compelled to do more with our survivor stories. We both experienced and overcame abuse, and we are trying to figure out how to use our voices to help others in a big way. We started by creating this video.
ArDenay Garner found my empowerment videos via LinkedIn. Thank goodness for hashtags! :) She commented on one of my YouTube videos, and we got to know each other via email and phone. ArDenay lives in Syracuse, NY and spent the past seven years writing a book that helped her to heal as a Domestic Violence Survivor. She recently quit her full-time job so that she can dedicate 100% of her time promoting her new book, "Divine Invitations: The 7 Spiritual Lessons of Relationships" when it comes out on her birthday this October. I have the privilege of writing the forward, and I'm so thankful that my new video series brought us together.
Juan Young is a Suicide Survivor. He celebrated 10 years since that day when he almost took his own life. We were introduced by a mutual friend, and I loved hearing about his perspective on life as well about his passion for helping others who may be feeling hopeless, especially during COVID-19.
A couple of K-Pop stars I admired recently took their own lives, and I know one of them was a fellow Domestic Violence Survivor. She tried to fight her abuser in court, but the justice system failed her. During the process, her name was muddled and her reputation became tainted.
Although I never wished to cause harm to myself, my therapist noted that I fixated on the topic of suicide in an unhealthy way, especially when major celebrities like the K-Pop stars I mentioned as well as Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade made the headlines.
I hoped that Juan's testimony could help shed light to those who may also be fixated on this issue and even be considering the possibility of taking their own lives. Juan's catch phrase is “Keep Hope Alive Your Later Is Greater” and I truly believe that it is.