Happy Independence Day!
Sorry I have been MIA lately. It’s been a while since I have blogged, but there’s a good reason for that…I’ve been busy! HA! There has been a LOT going on and I want to share that with you.
This day has always had a special meaning for me. On July 3, 2001, my parents and I went to the county courthouse, got a temporary PFA (Protection From Abuse) order against my abusive husband and took it to the sheriff’s office. They weren’t sure they could actually serve it that day, but I pleaded with them to do it. To have a PFA served means that the sheriff would go to my home, tell my husband he had twenty minutes to pack up whatever he wanted to take with him, and then load him into a cruiser and drop him and his belongings off at his mother’s house. The PFA stated that he wasn’t allowed near me, my family, my workplace or any place that he would reasonably think I would be, such as church, my sisters’, my favorite grocery store, etc. They told me they would try to serve it that day and that they would call me when the deed was done. I waited anxiously all day and they never called. Finally, I could take it no longer and I called them. They said they had served the PFA and I went home to a blessedly empty house and could breathe! So July 4, 2001 was my full day of Independence! It was also the day I found out I had a wife-in-law…yes, my husband had never divorced his first wife! To learn more about my bizarre story, it’s all in my book Knight in Tarnished Armor, available wherever books are sold!
I visited two prisons last month to talk to the inmates about domestic violence. I’ve been speaking at prisons for about five years now and it’s one of my favorite things to do. I do it through a program called Impact of Crime. For about eight weeks, the inmates are educated about the impact a certain crime has on the victims…rape, burglary, drunk driving, murder, domestic violence, etc. They discuss one crime a week. In addition to the classes they take, a speaker, a person who has been affected by that crime, comes in to put a face and voice to the victims of that particular crime. I’m the face of domestic violence. My favorite part of the talk, though, is the question and answer session at the end. That’s when I get to really understand how sharing my experience affected the inmates. It helps me tweak my talk to make it as effective as possible. There will be a few more prisons to visit throughout the year as they implement the IOC program.
However, what has really been taking up most of my writing time is the training I have been developing, Domestic Violence Comes To Work. People, I have been working on this training for over a year and I have to admit, it’s pretty darn good!
The training is divided into three parts. One part is for the owners, CEO’s and human resource managers of a company. It explains why every company should have a domestic violence awareness policy in their company, what should be included, how to implement it and why it benefits the company. The second part of the training is for the person selected (or has volunteered) to be the company’s DV advocate. This is an intensive training for the person who will be dealing with employees who are DV victims. The advocate, a woman, or preferably a woman and a man, and a human resource person will be the only people included in this training. Both of those trainings will be given by me at your company. The third part of the training will be an awareness training for employees. This will give them a bit of background about domestic violence, let them know that the company is implementing a policy to help victims so that if they are a victim, they will know who to go to for help, or if they suspect a coworker is a victim, they will know how to handle that situation through the advocate. The employee training only will be accessed by a link on my website and can be taken at the employees’ leisure or in a group setting if the employer prefers that method.
This training is so needed in today’s work environment. I hear stories all the time about victims who have been fired from their jobs because they had to miss work to attend court hearings or custody hearings. And if they don’t have a job, it’s that much harder to leave the abuser and make a new life for themselves and their children. I’ve heard stories about victims being told to not let their private life interfere with their work…which in most “normal” cases it shouldn’t. But domestic abuse is like the flu. It’s not something that you can set on a chair beside your door, go to work without it, and come back home and pick it up again. You carry it with you all day long. It’s distracting and stressful. It makes you fearful and nervous. It ruins your health and makes you depressed and feeling worthless. This is what a victim carries to work every day. If you are a victim of DV, wouldn’t it be great to work at a company that would help you through this time of crisis? If you know a coworker is a DV victim, this training will give you tools to know how to help them. If anyone is interested in bringing this training to your company, please don’t hesitate to contact me through my website…PJLambert.com.
Another project that we have in the works is Daisies of Hope. In case you haven’t noticed, daisies are my thing. This is coming soon and I’m so excited about it. I wanted to have something tangible for victims who are walking through, or who are on the other side of the fire, to encourage them. So I thought of six words that resonated with me as a survivor of domestic violence; happiness, freedom, gratitude, strength, breathe and peace. And for every word, I’ve written a short poem. Then, with the help of my board and especially Dawn, who did all the pounding, we put together a bracelet with a daisy charm and those six words stamped on charms. Dawn has hand stamped every charm. No two charms are alike. The bracelets come in gold, silver and bronze and the charms are a mixture of different metals. They are unique and gorgeous! The poems are included on sweet little cards that you can carry with you, post on your fridge or use as a bookmark. We have just a small amount of work yet before the bracelets are ready. Keep checking my website for updates. The bracelets with cards and all seven charms will sell for $25.
I hope everyone is having a wonderful summer! Enjoy and be safe.