October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and every year we are proud to walk for the cause. The past few years we have stood up against domestic violence by bringing a “Chalk Walk” to the community. At the Chalk Walk we write words of encouragement on the pavement for survivors to see as we walk the trail at the Checotah Sports Complex.
Even though many already know my story and my daughter’s about dealing with domestic violence, each year I continue to use this platform to bring awareness to the dangers of domestic violence in hopes one more might make it out alive.
Each year as I look up of the previous year it literally makes my stomach churn at all the evil in this day and time. As of 2023, Oklahoma now ranks first in the nation for domestic violence. How can people that once loved each other ever get to the place where they want to hurt and kill each other? Yet it happens. It happened to me. It happened to my daughter.
Luckily, we bear more scars on the inside today than on the outside, but some of my former Checotah classmates live with significant physical scars and one of my former classmates even lost her life to this senseless violence. Another family in this town lost their niece after her abuser
was released from prison a few years ago. We have to constantly be watching to hopefully help those get out of the abuse before it is too late.
In July of this year, a family in Fort Gibson lost their mother, Julie Whorton, when she was allegedly stabbed to death in her backyard by her husband.
According to an affidavit, investigators couldn’t “determine the exact amount (of stab wounds) due to the large number of wounds. The report went on to say “the wounds were on both sides of Julie’s head, neck, chest, back and arms.” Julie had worked for the City of Muskogee for 20 years in the Office of Public Works.
Why I feel compelled to repeat all this is because I want people to understand that this type of abuse is happening right under our noses.
Julie had tried several times to leave this dysfunctional relationship. She had filed for an annulment in Feb.
2021 then two months later dismissed it. Then again in Sept. 2021 she filed for a protective order but dismissed it in October. Her last protective order was filed in January of this year but a month later she dropped it again. I’m sure this precious woman wanted out, but in reality she could never see herself getting out permanently. Now her family and community suffer the loss.
This is why it’s so important to keep walking for this cause at our Chalk Walk. We must keep telling these victims that they can be survivors. They don’t deserve this abuse.
They are worth so much more. I cry as I write these words, because I know too well the lies the enemy tells these beautiful souls. He makes them believe that they are ugly and unwanted. He makes them feel stupid for staying and scared to leave because he has convinced them that they are nothing without him. The emotional and psychological trauma that these abusers inflict upon their victims is so much greater than just physical. Many victims feel like they can take being hit physically better than they can take the harsh words that wound their souls.
This is why so many survivors want to keep to themselves. Not to mention it’s embarrassing to admit that you have been abused, especially if your own family or friends downplay it.
However, I heard a great pastor this weekend from Transformation Church in Tulsa preach an excellent sermon, “Damaged But Not Destroyed.” We are all damaged in some way but that doesn’t mean we are destroyed.
Being healed from your damage is a decision.
You can go from damage to destiny from trauma to triumph. The value is still in us because God put Himself within us. That makes us worthy. God wants us to bring all the damaged pieces to Him so he can make us into His masterpiece. Then He can cover us with His love, convert us into who we were meant to be and commission us to go out and find more hurting people to bring back home to Him. We will overcome by the Blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimonies and together we will stand up against the evil of domestic violence.