Can You Imagine

Karen Atkins
PADV Board Member

Can you imagine? That the person you fell in love with and thought would be your “always and forever” would be the one to hurt you the most? Shockingly, one in four women will experience this very situation in their lifetime and it’s highly likely you know someone who is affected..

Many consider domestic violence a taboo topic, but to me it’s an issue we need to pull out of the shadows. Far too many people think “Oh that wouldn’t happen to me” or “This only happens to low income, underprivileged and poorly educated people.” I am a living example that domestic violence does not discriminate. There are also people I consider friends who are highly educated women with well-paying jobs and come from “good families” who have been victims of intimate partner violence. Domestic violence truly affects all races, religions and socioeconomic backgrounds - and that’s why it demands not only my attention, but everyone’s.

Today I’m not only surviving, I’m thriving! During the years I lived in an abusive marriage, people thought of me as a highly successful executive that was happily married and passionately engaged in life. Like many survivors I shined at portraying this image at work and in public, but behind closed doors it was a tale of two cities. My husband was psychologically and emotionally abusive, and an incredible manipulator. For years I lived in fear and self-denial, but when the mistreatment became physically abusive to our children, I knew I had to escape. With nothing but guts and the few possessions I could pack in my old Honda, I escaped with the help and support of friends, and a strong will to survive.

Today, I wish Partnership Against Domestic Violence had been in my life during that time. I found PADV about a decade later through a dear friend and have embraced its mission with everything I have. PADV provides a variety of services including helping victims escape the hopelessness of their circumstances, educating teens on the warning signs of an abusive dating relationship, answering thousands of calls from victims who need help, providing legal advocacy, and counseling and advice on job placement.  Most importantly the organization gives HOPE – a vision of a better way of life and a structured path to get there.

This year, I am honored to serve as the chairperson for PADV’s annual Hearts with Hope Gala, an event that raises more than 20 percent of PADV’s annual operating budget. As chair, I’m raising my hand high to proclaim, “I’m supporting PADV and the mission it embraces.” Please join me in raising your hand and donating your gifts, both financial and at auction, for a cause that affects so many. Trust me, you have people in your life right now who have been affected by or are currently living in an abusive relationship. 

Your help will change someone’s life forever. If you would like to attend our gala or support it in any way Click Here.  You can sponsor a table, give an auction item or simply donate.  For more information about PADV or the gala you can visit our website HERE.


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