It is an important time of the year for reflection.  We know that this has been a difficult year for survivors. There have been high profile cases that have triggered and frustrated survivors.  There have been proposed rollbacks to protections for survivors on college campuses.  There have been murders, mass violence, and abusers who have walked free. We know the heartbreak and the challenges because we live in the midst of them every day.

But today, we want to talk about something else.  We want to focus on what we’re thankful for.  And what we are thankful for, more than anything else, is the fire of survivors.  This year has been difficult, but it has shown us, more than ever, the strength of each and every survivor of violence.

Strength looks different for each person and each circumstance, but we’re thankful this year for all the different types of power we’ve seen.

We’re thankful for the survivors of Dr. Nassar who have continued to speak out with strength and fire.  The sentencing of Larry Nassar was just the beginning and we’re grateful for each and every one of these women who continue to push for a change in our institutions and culture!

We’re thankful for voters in Alaska who voted against retention for Judge Michael Corey who oversaw the case of Justin Schneider and approved a plea deal that saw no jail time after a violent case of sexual assault. This decision by voters sent a strong message that judges must hold abusers accountable for their crimes.

We’re thankful for each survivor who spoke at our annual Domestic Violence Vigil in October and we’re grateful for all the community members who attended in support.  Together, we’re breaking the silence and the stigma around abuse.

We are thankful for survivors.  We’re thankful each time a survivor walks through our door seeking a safer future or even just a safer night.  We’re thankful for each survivor who sits down with one of our counselors and begins to process the trauma they’ve experienced.  We’re thankful for each survivor who raises their voice in anger or celebration.  You matter.  You are strong.  You deserve safety, healing, and hope.

We’re grateful for the chance to do the work we do.  We’re grateful that some day we won’t be needed.  We’re grateful that you are still surviving.

Thank you.