Stories from VOICES – LifeWire’s Youth Support Group

This post was written by Krystle Andres, LifeWire’s Youth Advocate. Accompanying images were taken by Krystle of the teens who attend VOICES. 

It’s the Monday night before Valentine’s Day, and all of us are gathered around in our usual spots on the couches in our meeting room. We’ve all been coming to this room every Monday night for the past year for LifeWire’s weekly youth support group – VOICES.

We come here to be in community with one another while also silently acknowledging that domestic violence is at the core of why we are here. Each week I remind them that the purpose of our group is not just community, but a place to process what is happening in their lives. Despite this transparency in purpose, I never push them to share anything they don’t want to.

However, tonight is different.

Continue reading “Stories from VOICES – LifeWire’s Youth Support Group”

Jasmine’s Story

My friends keep pepper spray in their backpack and their stance upright and confident when walking home at night. We text to confirm when we’ve reached our destination safely, and we never go running with both earbuds in. These self-defense tips, amassed from Internet forums and women’s magazines alike, become our weapons lest we be attacked by strangers lurking in street shadows.

Continue reading “Jasmine’s Story”

Sarah’s Story

Last week I was in the car with my younger sister blaring pop hits on the radio. Music flowing out of the windows, smiles on our faces. “You’re too sexy, beautiful, and everyone wants a taste. That’s why I still get jealous,” my sister belted out, “I have a right to be hellish.” Every time I changed the station there was a happy upbeat song with lyrics that horrified me – and my sister knew every single word.

Continue reading “Sarah’s Story”