Thursday, October 16, 2008

A Day of Heroes

I met a lot of heroes yesterday.

One of them is a survivor. She left her batterer before he killed her. She just bought her first house. She is making a new, good life for her children. She is speaking out – even though it is hard – because she believes that the more you speak out, the more you heal. And she wants to help someone else know they can make it, too. Because she did.

One of them was a 911 dispatch officer. He takes domestic violence and sexual assault calls on a regular basis. But never becomes jaded. And is always worried about what happens to the people afterwards.

One of them is a police detective who investigates child abuse. He makes sure everyone knows that the most important thing is not what the police need or what the state’s attorney needs or what child protective services needs. . . but what the child needs. Someone asked him how he copes with his job. . .he said he cannot watch the “child drama” movies on t.v.

One of them was a SANE (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner) Nurse. She was so compassionate and kind and passionate in her presentation, and so wonderful in explaining to people who have never considered a rape kit – or what happens when a victim of sexual assault comes into the hospital. She cares deeply for the hurting women that she helps. She tells every woman who comes into the ER to see her how incredibly brave she is.

One of them is an assistant state’s attorney. She often has to prosecute domestic violence cases when a victim does not want her to. But she understands why. . .who would want to testify against someone sitting 10 feet away from you who has just beaten you up . . .and can do it again? She did a wonderful job explaining this to people during a “mock trial” – a trial with a jury pulled from the audience so people could see what happens in a real case . . . and why domestic violence cases can be so hard.

One of them is a survivor. At the end of the day, she read a beautiful poem in honor of a woman in our community who was recently killed in a domestic violence situation. Her poem was amazing. . . and so was she.

I met many more heroes yesterday – men and women from all over Central Illinois doing amazing things to help families know that “Once You Phone, You’re Not Alone.” People in the media who took time to do stories, to be there, to help, to make a difference. People in organizations who spent hours making this possible. And people who just cared.

And at the end of it all I know this. I know there are people who will no longer feel alone as a result of something they heard or saw yesterday – all because of these heroes.

To see more about yesterday, visit

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