I came to this work as a survivor after hearing a presentation by two women who had this program that helped physically and sexually abused women and children. What a surprise. There was not any such thing when I went through it in the late 60s. That was 1990 and I’ve been hooked ever since. I’ve done one-on-one advocacy, was the first domestic violence victim advocate in our local District Attorney’s Office, coordinated two collaborative projects that involved partnerships with the Department of Human Services, the Probation Office, city and county law enforcement and batterer intervention providers, co-facilitated groups for men that batter and was chair of our county domestic and sexual violence council for more years than I can remember.
Early on I decided to focus on systems change and advocacy. It’s not that I didn’t love working directly with survivors, but I came to know that my skills would best serve the goal of ending the violence if I learned to navigate systems and build relationships and understanding through that avenue.
I’m the founding executive director of the Illinois Valley Safe House Alliance. It’s an honor and a privilege to be part of such a dynamic team. We are tenacious; we are adaptable, and everyone does whatever it takes to help women and children heal and create a life where they are safe and can prosper.