I was asked by Safe Passage (my advocacy agency that helped me) to be the guest speaker at our local candlelight vigil on Thursday, October 26. I was and STILL AM SO HONORED! I am thrilled and humbled that I am alive today to have been able to speak at this vigil, honoring Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Safe Passage had setup this vigil and it was beautiful, honoring the silent guests of honor — those who passed away in our local area through DV. Of course, Laura Russell, the lady that I’m trying to get “Laura’s Law” passed for, was there in spirit and her family in attendance. I will admit, as I looked over the “rememberance table,” I was moved to tears. Survivor’s guilt always hits me hard…but I feel I was spared to be a voice to the now voiceless.

To say I had “no words,” was an understatement. However, I had been asked a week prior to be the survivor speaker, so I carefully crafted my words to my speech again, and again, and tossed it, started again, until I made myself put it away and decide it was fine. My overthinking shot into completely overdrive, so I had to temper myself.

I’m sad to report that no one videoed my speech, but I’ve decided to leave it in print form here:

“Hello, I am Laura Moseley, from Madison, Indiana. I spent over twenty-three years in active domestic abuse, in every form.

I am over six years out of DV, so great things have been happening to me: I am healing and growing and rediscovering myself. I became a Nana. My youngest child is on the verge of graduating high school — which is a big thing for a Mama with a child on the Autism spectrum! I got a great job at a federal social services organization and I get to help people every day — which I LOVE! My soulmate found me and he is the the kindest, most gentle soul EVER! I’ve authored a few books and started a DV survivor blog.

I could not have done ANY of these things while in active abuse. I didn’t have an identity to my abuser.

I still personally struggle, but I tell myself that I know that if I survived DV, I can get through literally anything that life throws at me. What I gained from surviving DV was some weird coping mechanisms and a dark sense of humor.

I do realize that I couldn’t have done all of this alone. I did have my kids by my side to help me, but I met my guardian angel, Chelsie (from Madison Safe Passage), the day after one of the worst days of my life. She guided me, but I was ultimately the author of my own survival. I am forever grateful for her support and for that of Safe Passage.

What I learned from being an abuse survivor is what is important to look for in a ‘safe’ support person: they most know that safety comes first for the victim; they must listen without interrupting; they must ask what is needed ‘in this moment;’ they must never have harsh judgement — because if I’m going to allow you in my minuscule circle of trust, I have to be able to rely on you completely; and they have to have a large capacity to forgive and to give grace — because we know that victims go back to their abusers sometimes and/or do things that no everyone understands in order to cope.

So, what can the survivor do to help? Be an active bystander or supporter. Volunteer at Shelter. Donate money and supplies to DV organizations. Follow and vote on legislation. Just be present and don’t ignore DV. Please, give domestic violence awareness a voice!

We are about to read the names of victims whose lives were cut short. They are our brethren. As survivors and supporters, we need to not just advocated in October — we need to make it year ’round! We have to be their light in the darkness because, unfortunately, their light was extinguished far too soon! Our job is to see that other light DO NOT go out. We have to become DV warriors!

(Holds up right arm with Wonder Woman tattoo sleeve) See this tattoo? I have loved Wonder Woman since I was two-years-old…I’m about to be fifty-years-old in December. I had her tattooed on my body to remind me that I am a warrior queen. I nearly died at the hands of DV, so I had this put her to remind me of who I am and what I can do — because I doubt myself and my abilities constantly. I challenge you to become warriors with me in the fight against domestic violence, because, quite frankly, people are dying. No one should be allowed to destroy another person’s life with bullying and violence and fear! What’s done in the dark, needs to come to light — and it’s up to us to become that light! We MUST break this self-perpetuating cycle!!!

Please know that the fire within us burns hotter than the fire around us. Be the person that sets fire to the ruins of domestic abuse and burn bridges with toxic people as needed. I am striking the match and passing the torch with these words: as Mahatma Ghandi was quoted as saying, ‘Be the change that you wish to see in this world.’

Thank you!”

– Laura Moseley

This was SUCH a moving thing. I hope to be able to go and participate every year, in whatever capacity that Safe Passage needs me! Love and purple light! <3