By Debra Minor Wilson
Times West Virginian
Victims and survivors of domestic abuse can find comfort and support in a group sponsored by HOPE that meets every Wednesday at the Fairmont shelter.
Facilitated by counselor Libby D’Auria, the 12:30 p.m. group is for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.
“Everybody is at different places in their journey,” D’Auria said. “They may have been out of their situation for a long time. Some are coming back and forth, and others are just now coming out.
“So we talk about a lot of different things, such as long- and short-term goals, the impact of domestic violence on children, or why women stay in an abusive situation.
“We talk about how they see themselves, their physical appearance and how they relate to others, how they describe their personalities, how they think others see them.
“Their self-esteem and self-worth and self-respect can be drowned out by their abuser. All that’s been stripped away. So it’s hard for them. We talk about that, about self-forgiveness and trust and respect.”
Many people think domestic violence doesn’t affect very young children, she said.
“But research and statistics say it can impact kids on any level, from unborn to toddler to adolescence,” D’Auria pointed out. “It can make them feel powerless with no control over the situation. This may come out in behaviors or poor school performance. They may become disrespectful, manipulative or protective.