As I write these words, a new year is right around the corner. This is the time of year when we reflect on the lessons learned in the prior year, and commit to make changes in the next year. Whether it’s a commitment to lose weight, exercise more, drink less, travel, stop swearing …many of us fail to rise to the challenge that a commitment to change requires to achieve our goals. So why do we fail? I would venture to say that we fail because we don’t believe we deserve the goal we want to achieve. Perhaps we don’t believe that we deserve to be healthy, happy and in tune with what would serve us best. Or maybe we don’t see immediate results, or fall off track and revert back to familiar patterns. We fail to achieve our goals. I have not achieved my goal which is to end domestic and sexual violence, and yet I do not feel like I have failed.

In 2015, I’m proud to say that I have worked with incredible survivors that have made the choice to stop domestic violence in their homes. These brave men and women have stood firm against the pressures of family, religion and community to make choices that fly against conventions that would have them stay in an abusive relationship. I applaud each and every one of them! In some cases these survivors have endured countless abusive episodes, contacts with law enforcement and the court system, and at times the perpetrator was not held accountable.

I’m sure that felt like failure. But these resilient, brave, courageous individuals believed as I do that failure is not always a stopping point; it can be a placeholder for change. They believe as I do that everyone deserves to live in a safe, harmonious environment that is free of fear, violence and coercive control. ‘You may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing we call ‘failure’ is not the falling down, but the staying down.’ – Mary Pickford

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