I spent 20 years working as a professional clinical counselor. In that time, I met a number of children who had been abused or exposed to domestic violence. The trauma was profound and the emotional effects were deep for these children.
Most of these children are now adults. Some have recovered from their painful experiences and have gone on to be successful in their endeavors. Others still struggle, but are working towards recovery.
And there are a few who have ended up in prison for violent crimes. That is the reality of recovery – some do not get to the place where we want them to be.
I met up with a young woman recently with whom I had worked towards a healing journey from her painful history. This young woman continues to struggle. She has a support network that stands by her, though, and a family that she has accrued through the years. She knows how important that is to her.
I had not seen her in probably 5 years. The reunion was emotional for both of us.
I was completely disarmed by her genuine gratitude for my past efforts on her behalf. As a child, she had many moments of reacting angrily against me, so I was surprised that she had recognized that I was helping her. One by one, she recounted incidents where I had stood by her despite her ingratitude at the time.
And she thanked me.
Not just for standing by her, but for understanding her pain.
This young lady loved animals, but when she experienced her emotional torment, that love turned to hate. She did not understand why, and she hated herself for it, but when her pain became too great, she attempted to harm the very pets whom she loved.
Luckily, she had foster parents and a treatment team that understood this. Plans were in place to protect the child and the animals from the dangers of her pain.
As we walked down memory lane recalling this, she was profuse in her gratitude about my help in keeping her from hurting the animals who were her best friends.
Anthropologist Margaret Mead has said, “One of the most dangerous things that can happen to a child is to kill or torture an animal and get away with it.” My young friend told me in so many words that she believed it to be true.
She rekindled my belief in the necessity of educating the public about this important issue.
Okey’s Promise is not just about animals. It is not just about children. It is not just about abuse and domestic violence.
Okey’s Promise is about bringing widespread awareness to the connections of animal abuse, child abuse and domestic violence through public art, so that we can help animals AND people be safe in our world.
I cannot do it alone. Will you help me?
My young friend, and many others out there deeply appreciate your understanding and willingness to share it with the world.
Please support the latest Okey’s Promise project. Become an Okey’s Promise Keeper today!