The room was quiet and many eyes were wet with tears as domestic violence survivor Megan recounted her story of tremendous personal loss at this year’s 24th Annual Barbara Ann Campbell Memorial Breakfast. But, in the end, it was her strength, resilience and passion for the safety of others living in violent relationships that brought attendees and advocates to their feet, recognizing Megan with a well-deserved standing ovation.
“God is my saving grace,” said Megan, “but because of Hubbard House not only have I lived through this, I am thriving.”
In 2015, Megan’s boyfriend came home unexpectedly and found her moving out of their Jacksonville home. In a rage, he got his gun and opened fire on their infant twin daughters, Megan’s father (who was helping her move out) and Megan, before taking his own life. Megan was the sole survivor.
When the story hit the news, Hubbard House staff reached out to Megan’s mother to offer free support and services. Megan, now a college graduate with law school aspirations, accepted and credits Hubbard House with helping her heal and begin again. “I was finally able to move on from my abuse and grow from the terrible things I experienced,” she said.
Marie also shared her survivor story. She met her abuser as a teenager, married him young and suffered violence at his hands for more than 20 years. It ended when Marie’s friend, Anna, brought her to Hubbard House, and Marie realized – for the first time – that she was a victim of domestic violence.
“I tried everything to ‘FIX’ the problem – counseling, marriage, having a child, buying a house but never actually saw the REAL problem until I was at Hubbard House,” explained Marie who has lived violence-free for 17 years.
Marie offered a unique perspective on the generational impact of domestic violence. While she has gone on to heal and have a healthy marriage with another partner, her son, a child survivor of domestic violence, struggles with drugs and alcohol, as does his wife, leaving both incapable of raising their three daughters.
“My current husband and I recently adopted my two oldest granddaughters, ages 8 and 4,” said Marie. “We are teaching them about healthy relationships. We want to see this cycle broken in their generation.” She is also in touch with the adoptive family of the youngest sibling, and they are likewise committed.
After hearing the two survivors speak, Hubbard House CEO Gail Patin thanked Megan and Marie for sharing their stories to build awareness, to reach victims and to create advocates. “I am so amazed by your courage and strength,” said Patin. “We all are.”