Tuesday, August 28, 2007

She Made Me Really Proud



WARNING: No knitting content in this post, just something I felt the need to share.

About 5 weeks ago, something terrible happened. I won't write names due to privacy and current legal action and the potential of slander/libel charges. ( I always forget if slander or libel is the written one..but I digress). Late one evening, State Troopers chased a drunk driver Southbound down the Glen Highway from Sutton/Palmer. They ended up having to close the highway and put spike strips down to blow his tires and stop him, right around our exit. While arrresting him for drunk driving, the officers found the dead and badly beaten body of a woman in the back seat. The woman turned out to be someone known to our family, a barrel racer from my daughter's club. She was also the mother of one of my daughter's classmates since 2nd grade. She was divorced and had begun dating this man about 4-5 months prior, and had a restraining order against him due to his violence against her....and threats he'd made against her children. This man was actually convicted on a murder charge as a juvenile...

"He was involved in the 1978 murder-for-hire of Air Force Col. Robert Cassell in Eagle River. A minor at the time, _____ was sentenced to two years at McLaughlin Youth Center for his involvement in the murder after attempts to try him as an adult failed" (Alaska Star, August 16)

He is currently incarcerated and awaiting trial on numerous charges stemming from the current incident.

My daughter came home in horror. She'd obviously been discussing this terrible crime with members of the barrel racing community and her classmates. She said she didn't know how to approach the victim's daughter or what she should do or say. She was so angry and indignant and empassioned by this tragedy with all the emotion a 15 year old can muster. I took it as an opportunity to have a big heart-to-heart with her about DV, and gathered written information packages that we use to teach our patients about the cycle of abuse, signs of an abusive relationship, and getting help. My daughter shuffled through the papers and said..."mom, we get all this in school already....I already know this stuff...what I want is to DO SOMETHING"....So, I suggested she discuss it with some of the adult leaders of the barrel racing club or local women's shelter.

And guess what. She set in motion, organized, and now is pulling together a memorial race dedicated to the victim, with entry fee proceeds to go to the family and requesting donations of paper goods, hygiene items, and clothing for the local women's shelters. She also arranged for our local women's shelter to set up a table with DV information and counselors available during the event.

Alaska has the highest rates of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault in the nation. Period. In my line of work, not a week goes by that I don't see and hear terrible stories. Perhaps I've become somewhat inured, feeling that what I do and my little monetary donation to the programs during the holidays is enough.....But it's not. Seeing my daughter's 15 year old passion fueled into action showed me that it's not just about money and talk....You have to get out and DO something to help increase awareness and education.....which is the only way things change. I'm awfully proud of her for doing this. Especially when the only date open for the memorial race conflicted with a pre-scheduled out of state fun trip for her....and with tears in her eyes she shrugged her shoulders and said "I just can't go...this is too important". I hate that she has to be exposed to the ugliness of the world...but I love watching her mature and her character develop. How many 15 year old girls do you know that would do something like this?

And lastly....I encourage any of you who read this to contact your local women's shelters to see what their needs are....and what YOU can do to help. It might be donating a case of toilet paper, or knitting some hats, or something bigger to auction or raffle for fundraising....or (wo)manning an information booth passing out pamphlets.....whatever it is....the power of your actions will help others.

20 comments:

Grace Yaskovic said...

We go through stages of wonderment in our lives, Why does this happen? why am I here, what can I do--your child is a blessing to the world, her compassion and generous heart are wonderful assests in today's crazy world. I hope that she too gets media coverage for her thoughtfulness, just so she can inspire other young women too. I stand up and applaud your entire family, you are the leaders the world needs need and I hope many others follow your example.

Minnie~Knits said...

I am proud of YOU for raising such a great daughter! It takes a lot to get beyond "what can I do" all the way to "here is what I'm gonna do!"
This will be a great feeling for her, a major sense of accomplishment. And it will probably lead to more good deeds; by her and those who are inspired by her!

Joan said...

What an amazing DD you have but the apple doesn't fall too far, as they say. ;-}

Trish - My Merino Mantra said...

I agree completely. Your daughter is channeling her energies into a positive charity. Most people never stop to think that someone they know could be abused right now, and they wouldnn't even know it.

The Knith Degree said...

First time I've seen your blog, and the first thing I read brought tears to my eyes. Having been a victim of DV, my heart breaks for all victims. Your daughter can help break the chain of violence in her actions and help to bring this to light so that others might learn from it as well. Bless you both.

Devonshire said...

WOW!!! What a brave and well rounded daughter you have raised! I hope that all goes well with the event and that she raises awareness and money to help those in need!

smariek said...

I went through so many emotions while reading this. Yes, you should be a proud mommy! I agree, your daughter is amazing to do all this. She WILL make a difference. I am sad that she should have to see the ugliness of this world at such a young age, and shocked to hear that AK has the highest DV/SA rates.

JenW!~ said...

What an amazing young lady you have raised. It is sad that she had to be exposed to such ugliness at a volunerable age. But she didn't let it get her down. She is doing a wonderful thing. I wish more teenagers could learn from her. I hope her event does well.

Ghislaine said...

A truly beautiful young woman - inside and out. What an inspiration and a blessing!

Jamie said...

Lisa, Be proud of your wonderful and courageous daughter. She is a truly generous person. Your DD has learned something great -- not to be turned off from society by such awful crimes, but to forge ahead and do something very beneficial to so many who suffer from DV. Bravo!
Jamie

junior_goddess said...

Cheering wildly!!!! I am extremely proud of her, and proud of you for raising a good one. So happy to hear that in the face of sadness, she straightened up her back, and said "I will do the right thing."

benne said...

It's very sad that this story is a reality of our world. It took a thoughtful and caring young woman who was well raised to inject this tragedy with hope and compassion. Your daughter is something special and the things she is doing are important. I know you are very proud of her. I am.

CatBookMom said...

You have raised a daughter to be very proud about! I am sad that she has learned so vividly about how desperately women need help dealing with DV. But her plan is worthy of someone many years older than she. I will be looking for ways to help our local womens' shelter.

Please let your daughter know that she and her fundraiser will be in my thoughts, with much pride for her maturity and thoughtfulness.

Suzann said...

You should be very proud of your daughter and proud that you did such a wonderful job raising her. She is a wonderful girl. Lots of us are sorry about things, but few of us go beyond writing a check.
I am also sorry she and so many other young women have to be exposed to such things. It taints their young lives. But I would rather they were prepared then not.
I was a bit surprised about the rates in AK for DV and SA

Tara said...

What a beautiful, moving post! Congratulations are in order to your and your husband for raising such an amazing daughter. With our society full of wayward role models for girls like Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan, it is so refreshing and encouraging to hear that there are young women who are self-motivated to move forward to make the world a better place. Thank you for sharing this story. It is truly touching and inspirational.

KnittyWitty said...

Lisa, Just read your blog with horror. We volunteer at a domestic violence safe house in our town but there are a lot of problems here too. What can we do to help?

Anonymous said...

I'm late here, but what a story! You have earned the right to be very proud of your DD, and so am I for you both.

Marta

jayne said...

Like everyone else, wide range of emotions here reading this. How very very sad for the woman. And out of that, an opportunity for your daughter to take one more step towards becoming the woman that she will be and is. Life really is a complicated thing, isn't it? Kudos to her and you for daring to live life as it comes.

Karin said...

Way to go! How incredible that this wonderful young woman has been able to do something so positive in the face of an event of such ugliness that many of us, more experienced and worldly even, would find paralyzing. I am so touched by this... You should all be so very proud.

letah75 said...

Many DV women's shelters, or agencies will also accept donations of old cell phones. Due to FCC regulations cell phones even if they do not have carrier service have to call 911.

Not all areas have 911 service, but many shelters have a program that will allow the cell phones to call the local emergency number. This is especially helpful for women/children/families going through this type of violence.

Tell your daughter she is doing a wonderful thing.