Many of us who do not have a college degree and/or are not in our ideal dream job want to get there.
It’s about having the courage to:
1. Believe in yourself and your vision
2. Take the action to get there
3. Not give up.
Theresa Vare has volunteered to work with women who have been abused. Currently a single mom of two and a full-time manager at a store, she recently took the steps to make her dream a reality. Though time is a factor for her busy life, she enrolled in school on-line to obtain her degree in psychology so that she can make a transition to work with abused women full-time.
Theresa, first question, what compels you to work with battered women?
I was in a bad relationship with my children’s father for thirteen years. I was lucky and able to get myself out of that situation. I know what battered women go through and what they feel like. They are afraid and they need people who can relate to what they are going through so they can be helped. I have a strong desire to help women get out of and change these circumstances.
What are some of the circumstances that these women have been through?
Some of these woman are told that everything bad is their fault and they believe it. Most of them are told they are nothing without their abusive partner. They are told that no one will believe them if they complain or speak out about the abuse. Some of them are beaten badly and abuse can range from name calling to various levels of beatings to a black eye, broken jaw, the point of near death or even death.
These women are part of an extremely dysfunctional belief system where they are completely dis-empowered to do anything about improving their lives. They are convinced that they are the cause of their own abuse and there is nothing that can be done to change it.
What about the children – if a woman has children? What is the impact on them?
Children are severely impacted. They see and experience their mothers being beaten and their fathers or the male figure making sure they know that their mother is at fault and deserves what happens to her. Their responses can range from them trying to harm the abuser to protect their mothers, becoming abusers themselves, being abused or not wanting anything at all to do with any type of violence. The emotional impact is severe.
Currently you do volunteer in different capacities. Tell us about some of the work that you do.
I do not volunteer in an official capacity. People know that I am available to talk. I still have a lot of healing to do for myself.
If you don’t, who will? Are there many other volunteers doing the same kind of work?
There many many caring people who try to help. When I was trying to get help, I realized that most of these caring people could not directly relate to my experience. They hadn’t been where I was. So, I was left feeling that they couldn’t possibly understand where I was coming from beyond a superficial level and I truly wanted to work with someone who could identify with and knew my pain. That’s all the more reason why I want to be in a position to help abused women. I can directly relate to them. I am them.
How would someone get started if they were interested in helping?
I chose to get a degree in psychology so that I will be better equipped to help. Education and training is key. So, school is a good starting point. Beyond that, if you call 211, the operators there are extremely helpful and can give additional information and point people in the right directions.
What are some of the other needs that battered women have?
They vary. Some need someone just to talk to; some may be in perilous situations and need a place to live immediately. But – all need emotional support and someone on the outside of their situation to give them a realistic view. If a person is sick emotionally and mentally and the only person they talk to is themself, then they are only listening to their own sick minds. They really need someone to talk to who can clearly see and point out the dysfunction and the sickness to get them on the path of wellness for themselves and their children if they have any.