Breaking chains of abuse

BY MARCY PALMERI, Contributor

TAMPA — Although by profession Valerie Miller is a legal secretary III for the Hillsborough County State Attorney’s Office for the last 21 years, her real passion is as an advocate and educator for those whose lives are affected by domestic violence.

She is a Certified Domestic Violence and Sexual Abuse Advocate, is on the Board of Education with the “Are You Safe Organization” and volunteers as a Domestic Violence Educator and Speaker for the organization.

Awarded volunteer of the year with the Are You Safe organization, Miller has decided to once again tackle the difficult topic of domestic violence in her new book “Victorious: Breaking the Chains of Physical, Emotional and Sexual Abuse.”

Signs of AbuseIn the book the reader is given advice from Miller, a first-hand survivor of domestic violence, on various aspects of abusive relationships such as the early warning signs and the steps someone should take if they think they are in an abusive situation.

Sat., Oct. 18, Miller will be speaking with the Bruised But Not Broken ministry at the Clarion Hotel on Fowler Avenue. The event titled “Till Death Do Us Part” is set to begin at 1:30 p.m. At this upcoming seminar, she plans to cover many aspects of domestic violence, including molestation, sexual abuse and emotional abuse.

Using the information in her new book, along with her past experiences, this survivor is hoping to reach out to teens and men. She is also targeting the tough subject of human trafficking as it pertains to children, teens and adults.

In addition to her volunteer work at churches and teaching at schools, early next year Miller plans to begin doing group sessions on domestic violence. As a newly licensed missionary, she would like to start doing lessons at shelters so she can connect with more victims to help them through this tough time.

Her main mission is to get the point across that if you or someone you know is in a harmful relationship, it is imperative to reach out and seek help.

“There is no shame in seeking help and in disclosing what you are going through. There is hope and help available for everybody, all you have to do is go out there and ask for it,” stated Miller. “If they stay silent, people may not know what is going on. I will tell them to speak out about it and get help.”

She went on to say that despite what the abuser in the relationship has programed you think, you are somebody and you are worth something.

Miller is living proof that you can get out of an abusive relationship and make something of yourself. One of the biggest messages she is trying to convey is that even in a situation as horrible as domestic violence, it is still possible to get out of it and start over.

It may seem nearly impossible while you are staring directly at your problems, but people such as Miller who have been through it all can offer help to those in need. Her seminars can help victims learn how to create a new life for themselves; a life away from the abuse and the horrible memories that may have seemed to take over.

For the cycle of abuse warning signs and more, logon to r-u-safe.org/domestic-violence.

To learn more about Valerie Miller and her triumph over domestic violence, please logon to her website at www.nowlivingvictorious.net.

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