Women For Hope has been a long time in the making. I, Pam Swider, have been through a lot in the last few years. I am now at a point in my life where I want to give back and help others as I have been helped. Together with my wonderful husband Tom, we have started Women For Hope.
To give you a little history, back in my early 20’s, I had moved down to Florida on my own for my first job out of college. It was a wonderful experience and I grew immensely as a woman and really found out who I was. However, there was one thing that happened that changed me forever. Right before I returned to my home state of Michigan, I was date raped. I blocked it out for over a year and when I started to remember via nightmares and flashbacks, I knew I needed help. I talked to my Mom and my sister and they helped as best they could, but I had to get professional help. I remembered seeing a public service announcement about an organization called RAINN. I found their website on the Internet and called the hotline – 1-800-656-HOPE. The counselor I talked to listened to me and directed me to the sexual assault center that started me on my long road to recovery.
I was also lucky enough to meet Tom. He has been involved in the prevention of violence against women and children. At the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, he worked at the Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Hospital helping professionals to council children and teens who were sexually abused. Plus, he has been involved in the martial arts community for almost 30 years during which he has specifically taught both self-defense and rape-prevention techniques with one-on-one private lessons and with groups at various Martial Art Academies across the country. He also taught a self-defense class at the University of Michigan . He has been so supportive of what I have been through and he understands not only how hard the road to recovery can be, but how rewarding it is when you go from being a victim to a survivor.
And now….10 years, many hours of therapy, lots of support from loved ones, some bumps and bruises later, I can now call myself a survivor. One thing I have learned is knowledge is power and knowing you are not alone can mean everything. Women For Hope is a place where you can find out information, you can find out about organizations that help and you can buy some great products from a store that carries products that either are made by or support women. When you do, a portion of the proceeds goes to one of the charities that help women fight the fight every day.
So explore, get educated, ask questions… and buy yourself or someone you care about something special that gives back.
Thanks for visiting, Pam and Tom Swider