My name is Tracy Evanson and I am a survivor of domestic violence. I have been subjected to physical, emotional and psychological abuse while in a 9 year on-and-off relationship with someone whom I had two children with.

When I think about some of the things I have overcome — escaping a life that once was consumed with violence, aggression, hostility, oppression, cruelty, intimidation, manipulation, fear, & anxiety — I think about going from prisoner to being freed.

I think about once being controlled and miserable to now being liberated and living a life of joy.  I think about once feeling like a hostage and a victim to feeling released and unshackled. I think about how I allowed one individual to have so much power over me . . . to now being independent, self-determined and confident. I think about the negativity that I was subjected to . . . and now the positive surroundings that inspire my every attempt to shift and influence the population that may be or fall subject to the "old life" that I am far too familiar with.

I have a bachelor’s degree in Liberal Studies, and a master’s degree in Human Behavior. I am a certified domestic violence advocate, while completing a 40-hour training program offered through the House of Ruth along with several additional hours serving as a volunteer within the community . . . specifically, with the clients at the House of Ruth. As an advocate, I support the empowerment of battered women and work toward ending personal and societal violence.

I have begun speaking within the community at events when asked for a survivor story or testimony.  Although this has continued to empower me, it has done so much more. It has placed me in the company of more people than I want to know who have been subjected to this type of abuse.  It has really made me want to make a societal change. The House of Ruth has recognized me as an official agent of social change and has named me as an essential piece of the movement to end shaming, blaming, silence and violence against women.

Research shows on average it takes women 5-7 times of leaving before they leave their abuser for the last and final time (if they are so fortunate to ever make that final successful attempt). Research also suggests that the first 6 months after leaving is the most dangerous time for a woman, and that women may have to opt to live in poverty if they do choose to leave. These are just a couple of reasons why women may choose to stay in abusive relationships.