Struggling as a victim of violence in NY, now struggling to advocate freely
Posted May 25 2011 9:58pm
I'm writing this evening to clarify a few things. There are many out there trying to dig up information about me, trying to find a way to discredit me and what I do for crime victims. Good luck. I will save everyone time.
I learned to struggle when I was victimized and temporarily paralyzed by my abuser. I rarely discuss what happened to me anymore because I got over it. I had to get over it, I couldn't possibly be a victim and battle with the agencies for help at the same time. Life for me became very dark after my abuser assaulted me and left me unable to walk. I struggled to relearn how to walk, jump, work-out, walk stairs...the list goes on. And while I couldn't walk, I crawled. I was humiliated-but I crawled because that was my only choice. I called the hotline. Nothing. I didn't get anywhere. I stayed for a year out of fear of retaliation. I tried getting a restraining order during the most dangerous time in my victimization cycle, and I was turned away by a court advocate after waiting over an hour at the Orange County Courthouse. I was left alone, and no one helped me when I needed assistance as a woman trying to survive a horrible situation.
I struggled my way out of my marriage, and no one helped me but myself. I went through this journey alone, and I learned a lot. I learned more than anyone with any social work degree will learn in a classroom. I give myself an A+ in survival.
I also struggled and battled through the DV establishments. Everything was a struggle. I waited and waited for help. I wrote letter after letter to agency after agency. I begged, pleaded, cried, fought, my way through this system we have in place for victims of domestic violence. The assistance I received was minimal. It would have been non-existant if I would have given up.
I learned how to be persistent from the DV establishments. Most of the agencies I ran to for help sent me on an endless run around. They overly referred me when I needed immediate assistance. I struggled and fought to get Crime Victims Compensation and sat through appeal hearings and meetings, and responded to hundreds of endless requests from the state to prove that I was a victim of violence. At the same time, I was struggling through a job loss, a divorce, and horrible injuries. No one at any shelter taught me how to do anything. Now I am an expert at this entire process, and I have since helped many with the same problems.
I struggled to get a pro bono lawyer from agencies that claimed to assist victims of DV. In fact, I almost went broke paying for my divorce. The agencies sent me on a run around and every day was a different story, "we offer DV attorneys for divorce or we don't offer DV legal representation for divorces". Everything took a hundred emails. Everything was stressful. It was confusing for me, and very dangerous for me to experience as a high risk victim of violence in need.
There are gaps in the system. I have fell into them. Hundreds of people reach out to me each year for help because they have fallen into the gaps too. I am a volunteer. I have a full-time job and I advocate for free. I am starting a non-profit, Tri-County Crisis Center, Inc., and, no, the website is not up yet, but it will be. No, I do not have a space yet, but I will. The demand is too high. Regarding my name, DiBari is my maiden name....I changed it after I divorced my abuser. Hoping that clarifies everything. Nothing is a secret, my life is on the web. Feel free to search and search and I wish anyone looking for anything negative "good luck".
You will find:
the victims I have helped, the papers that have published my work, that I'm a Scientist, an activist, that I'm starting a Crisis Center, that I'm passionate about domestic violence reform, that I hold degrees in Science, that I'm critical of everything and every agency because there needs to be accountability. I'm also active in proposing legislation to protect crime victims and have worked with state officials on domestic violence policy reform for years. You will see that I'm affiliated with a group that I'm proud of, Survivors in Action. You will see that I'm a victim, and also have an educated opinion about this issue and valuable solutions. My opinions and analyses matter because I lived through it, struggled through it, unprotected, and was forced to swim against the current.
If anyone has any questions, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org