It’s More Than Just Volunteering
Sometimes Serving Changes YOU
When you grow up in a family where domestic abuse is a regular occurrence, it can become a seemingly inescapable pattern throughout a person’s entire life. However, Anh was able to break the cycle of violence.
Anh was taught from an early age a woman’s role was to be obedient and experienced ongoing physical and verbal abuse from her stepfather. This horrible cycle continued when Anh met her first boyfriend as a young teen. In hopes of escaping her stepfather, Anh moved into her boyfriend’s house after high school. Once they were living together the abuse started. She was shocked but too ashamed to tell anyone. Their relationship lasted several years and in that time her boyfriend grew to become more and more emotionally, physically and sexually abusive.
“One of the worst moments took place when out of a jealous rage, my boyfriend tried to hit me with a baseball bat,” said Anh. Anh wanted to leave him but when she tried to move out her boyfriend climbed on the roof and threatened to commit suicide. Feeling guilty and believing she was still in love, she gave him another chance but nothing changed. After many more chances and attempts to leave, Anh finally moved to California on her own to leave her ex-boyfriend and past behind.
Once in California, Anh began the process of healing and moving forward. She started seeing a therapist and decided to help other survivors. “I wanted to make something good out of my bad experiences. I reached out to AACI because I felt like I could make a difference by sharing my story,” said Anh.
Anh started volunteering at AACI Asian Women’s Home and helped provide training to new volunteers coming into the program. By sharing her story and helping women make healthy decisions about their relationships, Anh’s life has changed for the best.
Today, Anh is in a healthy and empowering relationship with a partner who gives her unconditional love and views her as his equal. She recently married him in his native country of Scotland. She also became the first in her family to graduate from college, and the first woman!
“With persistence, resilience and support from close loved ones, I was able to heal and now share my experiences to increase awareness about domestic violence from the eyes of a child and an adult. It is so rewarding for me to be able to help women make healthy decisions as a volunteer at AACI,” said Anh.