On March 17, 2010 Advanced Health Care employee, Carol Parsons, was killed by her ex-husband during a counseling session. Carol had worked as a nursing assistant for Advanced Health Care for five years, had separated and divorced her abusive husband during this time period, and was in the process of obtaining a college degree, to provide a better life for herself and her three young children. This one act of violence changed many lives forever, including the lives of all of us at Advanced Health Care.
During our sadness and grief we realized that everyone is touched by domestic violence (DV) in some form or another, whether personally, or through a friend, relative, colleague, or client. We made a pledge at that time to be available for our employees, and to provide support and resources to any employee who is a victim of DV.
This year, on March 17, the sixth anniversary of Carol’s death, we invited Jennine Devenuti, Education and Prevention Manager at the YWCA Pierce County, to speak to us about domestic violence. Over 30 Advanced Health Care employees and staff gathered in a circle for the interactive training session, learning about “Intimate Partner Violence” and what we can do to “Break the Silence.” We talked about warning signs, causes, and what we can do to help ourselves, our friends, our family and our clients. The session ended with a role playing exercise where one of our brave employees volunteered to be the victim. As Jennine read the scenerio others played various roles, such as abuser, police, friend, doctor, CPS, advocate, neighbor, shelter, etc. As we saw how each entity connected to the victim we could see supportive and not so supportive relationships, and how each one influenced the victim. At the end, the victim was given tools to sever ties with relationships she determined to be unhealthy. It was a powerful and, for some, emotional, exercise that impacted each of us that were present.
The YWCA Pierce County provides extensive resources, including emergency shelter, legal resources, and advocacy. Their website explains definitions and solutions to DV in detail:
In honor of Carol Parsons, and in tribute to all DV victims, Advanced Health Care continues to uphold the pledge to offer support and assistance to those in need. We are grateful to work with YWCA Pierce County and encourage anyone looking for help, solutions, or resources for DV to contact them.
YWCA Pierce County
405 Broadway Tacoma, WA 98402