HELP A SURVIVOR FINISH SCHOOL~ HELP
OKAY SO HERE IT IS, UNFORTUNATELY I HAVE REACHED MY LIMIT WITH SCHOOL LOANS AND THERE IS NOW VERY LITTLE OFFERED WITH FINANCIAL AID DUE TO THE NEW POLICIES THAT WERE SET BY OUR GOVERNMENT. I ONLY HAVE 1 LAST SEMESTER LEFT TO FINISH MY BACHELORS IN SOCIAL WORK AND REALLY NEED YOUR HELP.
My name is Lisia and I want to share with you my story in hopes that you will be able to help me. I am a survivor of domestic violence and human trafficking, in 1985 while in California with my mother she was able to receive funds for obtaining and securing a marriage in place to a 26 year old man for me while I was only 13 at the time. It was my 14th birthday when that same man beat & raped me and left me for dead on the beach. Even though I told my mom what he had done, she did not protect me. Later she gave me back to him and the same violent act was carried out time and time again. There were even times when I was told to go with him and he had me at parties where I was forced to have sex with other older men.
| It was not until winter of
that same year that my mother demanded more money from this man and he declined
stating that he had already paid for me. So while he was away oversees my
mother packed us up in the middle of the night and we came back to Oregon,
leaving California way behind me... or at least that is what I thought.|
My experiences with my mother led me into multitudes of chaos including the foster care system where I was sexually violated again and again. The very vicious cycle of relationships that followed were no better, including the one with my oldest daughter father. Ex 1 was a sweet talking sexy smelling manipulating expert, not only did he lead me to believe that he was perhaps my savior but that he would stand by my side and protect me. Later I realized that living in the trunk of his car was not a passionate or loving act. It took me a long time to realize that the black eyes, the burned skin, the bruises, the name calling and everything else that came with ending up in his trunk was not healthy. I guess the fact that I thought he was my boyfriend and yet he was selling me didn't dawn on me that he could possibly be using me... because people that love us don't hurt us, right? Once I found out that I was pregnant I decided to leave him, but little did I know that was not in his plans. I found out later that night after leaving that his plans including catching me between two parked semi's and beating me with a baseball bat while 5 months pregnant.
I guess I didn't learn my lesson with ex1 because I ended up in yet another relationship afterwards that took me yet another 5 years to get out that was just as violent. The cycle of violence as I now know it is not something that can be answered as to why we go back, it is more of a testimony to how we survived. The cycle itself is very contextual because there are so many similarities between abusers and yet distinct and unique characteristics/personality traits.
I finally got it after actually marrying my next relationship, getting pregnant and then leaving and divorcing him after finding out that he not only had 2 other women pregnant but he had molested my oldest daughter. There is no bigger shame than knowing that your own judgment has not only hurt your life but the lives of your children, but I really was a textbook statistic if you think about it.
Today I have chose to not be the average statistic, I have been married twice and divorced once. I have 5 beautiful children and 4 even more beautiful grandchildren. It has taken us years of counseling & even more years of individual therapy but they have all turned out to be my biggest success.
I currently am finishing up my bachelors of social work at Concordia University here in Portland Oregon, with great hopes to go on to my masters but bigger hopes to open a shelter for survivors. My five year plan may sound a little out there to some, but I'm praying that by the end of 2012 I will have my bachelors and then quickly slide into my masters by the end of 2013 and my PHD by the end of 2015. By the end of 2017 I plan on having good enough credit to open up a shelter... not just any shelter though. I want to open a shelter with 4 tiers. I want a side that is open to survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking (local) with programming & services that will carry them all the way through their first 2 years of college, training them and empowering them. My program will include more school and employment based programs. Then the other side will be a drop in center for youth who live in the pit of domestic violence everyday, with programs and activities for them to feel included and loved, we would feed them lunch and dinner everyday (funded by the USDA) and the community would feel a sense of pride and unity due to this program. Lastly I would want a child care system included because one of the hardest thing to do when healing from any of these traumas is being able to have your child sit somewhere safe, so that YOU the survivor can be in the moment of your own pain without worrying about re-traumatizing your child/ren. The one thing that is never allowed now is the moment where the survivor can just be that, the survivor... not the mom or the ex, but the survivor. One of the most important parts that I want to include is what is missing out of a lot of today's parenting. I want to be able to teach self worth, teach them to believe in themselves, and being able to go out and successfully gain employment is the first step to being independent and in order to do that moms need a place to safely place their children and a place to call home even if its just temporary, so they are able to go and breath their dreams. This program would be a 2 year program and hopefully there will be others in the nation who will flock to duplicate it.
In closing, I realize my dreams are big and at some level really expensive...but in all honesty I know dreams can come true! I would never had made it this far if a little girl in a grown woman's body, wouldn't have dreamed of another life. One without violence, one filled with love, patience, understanding, or the ability to go to school and be able to learn of the world that was out there, the same one I'd been hidden from for years, but most of all to learn to be able to fight for the marginalized, the oppressed, the abused, and defend them for the rest of the days of my life. If I had never dreamed this very small dream, then I would never had made it this far... will it be you that I thank in the end when I'm cutting the ribbon on my new shelter, for helping me get to where I needed to be in order to help those who are in the same place I came from? I would like to think that you will join my team and assist me in my endeavors so that we can together, empower a nation of survivors.
My best regards;
Lisia Mendiola Lopez