October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Pass it on.
By Kim Oster-Holstein, president/CEO, and CIO of Kim & Scott’s Pretzels, former JWI ‘Woman to Watch’, and a member of JWI’s Board of Trustees.
She was a well-educated beautiful young woman who shared her story of a relationship she had with a young man. He had started out as a nice high school boyfriend, but as the relationship grew, he started treating her worse and worse. He would manipulate her and play games with her mind to keep her trapped in his abuse, and she was afraid for her life. Eventually she found the courage to tell her parents, and she luckily left the relationship. The boyfriend made it quite difficult with his manipulative ways, making her think he loved her. She shared how her self-esteem was so wounded from the abusive relationship that she could not see the reality of what was happening.
At the luncheon, her speech was so authentic and courageous. As I sat with my two daughters, ages 7 and 10 at the time, I couldn’t help but think about their futures and the relationships they would encounter as they grew up. I thought about how important it is to empower our girls and teach them about their inner strength, independence, self-esteem and believing in themselves. This is the heart of JWI and its mission in the world.
Her speech at that luncheon impacted me in such a huge way. I felt a yearning to do all I can to help JWI in this important mission to empower women and girls. We have the opportunity and the responsibility to raise a new generation of girls, and I want to be a part of it in whatever way I can….for my girls, and for girls everywhere.