HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – Several events took place in Hampden County Friday in honor of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week. Whether it be raising awareness to illicit change or informing people of rights and resources, both events were impactful.
The 33rd annual victim rights conference called Survivor Voices brought together victims and professionals to ensure the right kind of support is given to survivors.
“It’s really critical from the first contact when a crime is reported all the way to mental health treatment or medical treatment. Whatever the case may be for that individual to make sure every touch point, we are making people feel heard, listened to, and given the space to really speak their truth but really speak about what their needs are,” said Jessica Wozniak, manager of the Department of Psychology at Baystate Medical.
A filled room at Survivor Voices listened to impactful experiences, including what happened to keynote speaker Yvonne Greene, who was left in a coma after a domestic violence incident.
In 2016, Greene survived an attack of domestic violence by her then-husband and the father of her two daughters. The attack occurred in front of them and left her in a coma fighting for her life. In an effort to take back her life and find optimism in the face of adversity, Greene courageously tells her story to shine a light on the devastating impacts of domestic violence on individuals and families and to inspire others to share their stories.
She received support from everyone from the very start of her journey to this day, she says that if it wasn’t for that support she doesn’t know where she would be today.
“There’s so many people out there that I don’t even remember because I was in a coma but their support, they are just rooting for you to get better and I’m still getting better just one day at a time I’m still getting better. And I will get there because I have the support to make sure you can do this and that’s what you need you need all the support you can,” said Greene.
Greene says that the warning signs of abuse don’t always appear overnight and may emerge and intensify as the relationship grows. She hopes that by sharing her story she is able to help others heal and recognize the signs that aren’t always physical but can be things like insulting, demeaning, or shaming you to controlling finances in the household.
Over in Holyoke, Nueveo Camino held a resource fair for survivors. Tables were set up and staffed by professional allies looking to show people affected by crime and violence how they can help change lives.
“We have seen an increase in hotline calls, but most importantly we’ve seen an increase in those who are experiencing or about to experience homelessness because of domestic violence,” said Carmen Nieves, Executive Director of Alianza DV Services.
Holyoke Mayor Garcia also in attendance, proclaimed this National Crime Victims’ Rights Week in Holyoke. Organizers hope this resource fair makes a difference for those who need it.
One of the biggest takeaways from Friday’s events was that there are help and resources available to those who need it:
- Enlace de Familias – 413-523-9300
- Nuevo Camino – 413-561-4599
- Alianza – 413-538- 9717