"The importance of healing can have a profound effect on whether survivors of abuse and adults witnessing domestic violence as children can achieve a personal sense of well-being. "
Finding the Path with Shirl Q. Regan
ne of those sheroes is Shirl Q. Regan. A knowledgeable and dedicated domestic violence advocate with over 25 years of experience, Regan has been the executive director of the Women's Center & Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh, one of the oldest programs for battered women and their children in the United States, for almost 10 years. She is an outstanding advocate who understands both sides of the domestic violence equation. She has done intense work on behalf of both victims and batterers.
Shirl has been a good friend and teacher since the early ‘80s. Over the years, we’ve often shared what we’ve learned from our respective programs. Regan would co-facilitate my batterer intervention counseling group, and I would co-facilitate support and recovery groups for battered women at the shelter.
Coming full circle
In an effort to open a national discussion on fully addressing the issue of healing from domestic violence, A Journey to Healing: Finding the Path came to fruition 25 years after my work in domestic violence began.
Historically, conversations regarding domestic violence have focused on the immediate impact on and needs of battered women: what they experience with abuse, how to safely exit an abusive relationship. Often missing from our discussion is: what does it take to achieve true healing and what it means individually for the victim-survivors.
The importance of healing can have a profound effect on whether survivors of abuse and adults witnessing domestic violence as children can achieve a personal sense of well-being. Yet for many involved in domestic violence, there’s no clear pathway to achieving the healing that is so greatly desired.
During our conference in California, through a series of panel discussions, workshops, and artistic expressions, we explored the journey to healing with survivors of domestic violence and adults who witnessed domestic violence as children. Our two-day conference resulted in important steps toward revealing a path toward healing that is individual for every victim, but includes some very familiar collective steps.
The five stages of healing, which I presented at the conference, will be the focus of a national scholarly journal this year. The conference and the journal articles, which will be written by researchers who attended the conference, are two important steps on our path toward healing victims of domestic violence.