The Mission of Voices of A Safe Place Family Justice Center of Clackamas County is to raise awareness about the complexities of, and to promote public support to end, domestic and sexual violence. Voices members lead community education efforts, conduct outreach to other survivors, and identify and then work to minimize gaps in our communities’ and institutions’ responses to domestic and sexual violence. Voices provides leadership opportunities inside a fun and supportive environment to break the stereotypes of survivors and perpetrators.
Voices is a group a survivors who volunteer their time to celebrate their strength and survival, use their voices to help others through advocacy, education, and empowerment, and lend their unique perspective in informing A Safe Place’s programming and identifying gaps in services. The first Voices committee was launched in San Diego in 2002, where its members served as an advisory committee for its Family Justice Center. Since then, Voices committees have been established at FJCs across the country.
Voices is entirely participant-led, and is tailored to meet the unique needs and preferences of its members. Engagement opportunities include, but are not limited, to:
Depending on the preferences of the group, this could involve client advocacy, policy advocacy, and/or advocating for the Center at local government meetings. Some examples might include: Serving on the ASP-FJC Steering Committee; going to court with advocates or offering support to participants who are completing the application for a restraining or protective order; attending City Council or County Commissioner meetings to advocate for an increase in funding when local budgets are being decided; and advocating on behalf of, or in opposition to, a bill that affects survivors.
Public Speaking Opportunities
ASP-FJC is always in need of more survivor stories, and frequently receives requests from other organizations and partners for these as well. If comfortable doing so, Voices members can share their own stories, whether for the media, the keynote speech at an Annual Gala, kicking off a fundraising event, or developing community education programming.
Activities at Participant-focused Events
The agencies at ASP-FJC hold several participant-focused events throughout the year, including Wellness Day. Voices members are invited to attend these events to help with food prep, games, crafts, and general setup and cleanup. For these events, completion of three or more of our Domestic Violence Advocacy Training classes, or our childcare-focused trainings, is required.
For some of the agencies operating at ASP-FJC, a significant part of their respective operating budgets come from funds that are raised from individuals, businesses, and foundations. Every year, several fundraising events are held that support the sustainability of ASP-FJC’s programs and services. We rely on volunteers to help plan and run these events, and needs include greeting guests, selling raffle tickets, assisting at silent auction tables, etc. These are great opportunities for pairs or groups to volunteer together, and no training is required.
We value diversity in our group and actively seek members representing:
- All gender identities and sexual orientations
- All races and ethnicities
- Differing abilities and experiences
To qualify to join Voices, you have to either live in Clackamas County or have received services from A Safe Place Family Justice Center.
If you are interested in joining, please click here for a Voices application.
If you have any questions about Voices, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or one of our co-facilitators.
April Everist, Program Services Coordinator
A Safe Place Family Justice Center
Jennifer Hopkinson, LCSW, Counseling Program Manager
Clackamas Women’s Services
A Safe Place Family Justice Center
Click Below For Our Stories
I am an “older” mother of one, an accountant/office manager, and a nationally trained diversity workshop leader. I hold an MFA in Creative Nonfiction Writing, am ABD in an EdD in Post-Secondary Education, and was the bassist and co-founder of an art rock band that I recently discovered has joined 90s Portland cult band status. I am also a Domestic Abuse survivor.
My abuser wooed me claiming to love my artiness, my outspokenness, my intellectual inclinations, and my professional success. He then proceeded to tear down every ounce of self esteem I had and belittle everything that made me “me.” His goal seemed to be absolute control by whatever means and no matter how much I changed, I always needed to change and give more. Once a confident, creative, social person performing on stage, leading day long diversity workshops, presenting at national conferences, I would wait until my husband was in the shower in the morning to make his French-pressed coffee for fear he would see me do it “wrong.”
What began as emotional and psychological abuse escalated to include physical abuse at times, and it all escalated after the birth of our child who was included in his tight clamp of controlling abuse.
Getting out is just the first step. That is a hard truth, and well-meaning non-DV survivors often struggle to understand, but despite the struggles I have endured and continue to endure to keep my child safer in a system that has limitations, I believe being out is far better than staying. With hindsight into the many difficulties, if I had to do it over again, I would still leave, but I would do some things differently this time. I didn’t realize what a huge community of survivors there is and what an amazing source of knowledge and support they hold.
There are many people who have faced this before you. Seek us out. You will have a supportive community.
I would like to see the family court system recognizing all forms of domestic violence and understanding how often the controlling abuser includes their children in DV. Biology and money do not make a fit parent. Healthy and safe behavior makes a fit parent.
I am a voice for those who have not found theirs yet. I am a voice of hope and compassion.
Being thrown up against the wall with his forearm pushing into my throat while he called me names, screamed profanities at me, and spit in my face doesn’t compare to the time he took our daughter. I didn’t know where she was and he wouldn’t tell me. He said she wasn’t coming home until I told him everything he wanted to know about the person I was dating. It was ok for him to move on, but it was never going to be ok for me. Over 20 years I was mentally, emotionally, verbally, and physically abused. I was intimidated, threatened, stalked, gas lighted, manipulated, and controlled.
I wish people understood how terrifying it is to leave an abusive relationship. I literally made a will and came to grips with the thought he was going to kill me. I decided that I wasn’t going to stay. I didn’t want my daughter growing up thinking ANYBODY should be treated the way he treated me.
I am now free, but still on guard. I am strong, kind, and loving. I believe I lived through the abuse so I can be hope for someone that feels hopeless, strong for someone that feels weak, and a VOICE for someone that hasn’t found theirs yet.
I’m a Business Manager, Amazon Best-Selling Author, Mother of Three, Military Wife, Weapons Specialist, Archer, Sword Fighter, Equestrian, 4.0 Student at the University, Advocate For Animal Rights, Illustrator, Public Speaker… and a Survivor of Domestic Abuse.
I didn’t realize I was being abuse because I had been gradually acclimated to the hostile environment and because my abuse didn’t look like the stereotypical black eye. I wish others knew that there are many forms of abuse that are devastating including religious/spiritual abuse, narcissistic abuse, psychological abuse, legal abuse, post-separation abuse, animal abuse, financial abuse, domestic servitude, and more.
My advice to someone going through any form of domestic abuse is to know that things do get better once you are out. Sometimes they get worse before they get better, but they do get better.
The social change I would like to see is that the family court system recognize all forms of abuse containing the power and control dynamic meant to subject and terrorize one partner. I would like to see an end to all custody battles in which there was domestic abuse. Fit parents should not have to live in fear of being outmaneuvered and out-lawyered in court, resulting in losing custody of their children to their abuser who has a proven violent or criminal history.