Today’s episode may be difficult to hear and a trigger warning for some. The content is designed for a mature audience so please keep children out of listening range. Also, just a reminder that this podcast is not meant as a substitute for therapy, or counseling but it may provide information you find therapeutic or helpful.

Today’s guest is Lisette Johnson creator of the website http://www.shamelesssurvivor.com

Lisette Johnson leads a peaceful life with her two teenage children outside Richmond, Virginia. After years of emotional and psychological abuse by her husband, Lisette was making plans to exit the marriage when he shot her several times before taking his own life. She is now a tireless advocate for those navigating intimate partner abuse and works at the state and national levels to bring awareness and change laws to protect women and children from partner violence and control.

For the month of September the JOY Factor will be dedicated to the topic of exploring the reality of intimate partner violence, ways to help survivors heal and what communities can do to prevent this epidemic. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 20 people per minute are physically abused by their partner. That adds up to more than 10 million women and men per year. In the United States 3 women are murdered by their current or former male partners every day. On September 8, 2009, my niece Sena became one of them.

As only those who’ve lost loved ones to violence can understand, the depth of despair is unspeakable and the path to healing is a long hard one. Giving a voice to those who have been lost, as well as those who have survived helps. It is a way to find meaning in something so senseless. Everyone has the right to live a joyful life and I want to do my part to make that possible.

This year marks the 2nd annual Sena Hanson Memorial 5k Walk/Run/Bike which will be held on October 1 in Decorah Iowa. This event is a way to represent hope for other victims and inspire courage in us all to stand up against domestic violence All of the proceeds will be used to benefit the Domestic Abuse Resource Center at Helping Services for NE Iowa. These donations will be used to provide advocacy services as well as needed supplies, gas, food, and other necessities client’s may have.  If you’re in northeast Iowa or nearby please consider taking part in the 5k. If not, will you make a donation in Sena’s honor? No amount is too small.

Every dollar raised will go directly to helping someone escape a dangerous situation. You can find my fundraising page here: Donate to help SURVIVORS  You can also learn more about what Helping Services for NE Iowa is doing by visiting https://www.helpingservices.org

In addition to being a writer, speaker and consultant, Lisette is also a survivor. This is an excerpt from Shameless Survivor.

“On October 4, 2009, while our nine and twelve year old children played in the basement of our home, my husband of twenty one years walked into the bedroom, declared his love for me and shot me in the chest. Running past him I was shot again. As I ran from the house, trying to scream to our children to get out and call 911, he shot me in the back, then turned the gun on himself.  By the grace of God I survived, and my children survived.
I was preparing to leave a marriage of increasing abuse and control. The closer that day came, the more abusive he became. I never imagined his emotional battery could escalate into lethal physical violence. I never imagined he was capable of it, nor did I understand leaving is the most dangerous time as I did not ‘self-identify’ as a domestic violence victim.
Sadly virtually everyone knows someone who is or has been in an abusive relationship; a relative, acquaintance, friend, neighbor or co-worker. If you don’t, you will one day. It is my hope that readers will be inspired to understand the complexity of abuse and support these individuals, mostly women. For those who are currently in it, I hope to encourage you to leave fear, be a survivor too, and reclaim your life that is waiting to be lived.”