A couple of weeks ago I was invited to learn about a new initiative from Journey to Safety called “Make it (Y)our Business.” An program of Jewish Family & Children’s Service, Journey to Safety is devoted to preventing domestic violence and helping its victims.

We were an eclectic group: professionals in the field, concerned women and survivors of domestic abuse. The meeting was on the heels of the tragic story of Lauren Astley and Nate Fujita – the Wayland teens whose relationship ended in murder. It’s not only a “there but for the grace of G-d” story for teens and their parents, it’s a story that is very much our business. A story, in varying degrees, that is our story as well.

We began the meeting with a standard meet and greet: name, profession and our personal connection to the issue. As we went around the room, a few women identified themselves as survivors of domestic violence. I was all set to tick off the reasons for my participation: mother, parenting columnist and concerned woman. But when I introduced myself the first thing that I said was that I had been the victim of domestic abuse. Although I surprised myself, saying it out loud in that particular setting felt right, felt safe and felt important to share.

I’ve said many times that I want to be like my 17-year-old daughter when I finally grow up. What that really means is that I want to bring up my daughter and son the way I would have liked to have been raised. Please understand: My parents were good people. They did the best they could for my sister, brother and me. But they were haunted by their own demons and consequently so were their children. I will only tell you that there was a lot of screaming, histrionics and, once, the pulsating red light of a police cruiser lighting up my bedroom. Read more

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