What We Do
For the past 7 years Runway to Freedom (RTF) has been a fashion show and live auction with live music that raises awareness and support for families and animals affected by domestic violence. More than 1,000 people have attended seven sold out events since 2010 and raised over $100,000 for local Seattle homeless shelter’s and DV non profits including New Beginnings and Mary’s Place.
This year we are focused on becoming our own 501 c3 non-profit. We will become a safe haven for domestic violence survivors. We believe education, rehabilitation, and empowerment are the way to heal this epidemic that effects one in three women and one in seven men. Our long term goal is to open a building of our own that will have a salon and resource center as well as a legit office for RTF staff. We are raising money for Runway to Freedom to build a solid foundation with committed employees and professionals to heal this outrageous epidemic that affects one in three women and one in seven men!!
One way we highlight how abuse can happen in any family, why we need to stop it, and what we can do to stop it is by sharing stories of brave survivors like Kelly.
In 2007, I was a wife, and a Registered Nurse. I was also a victim of domestic violence. Not a word I would ever use to describe myself. My husband called me the “victim” and I hated that word. On 2/12/07, I became his victim. I had spent too much time away from home, which set him off. He said I was “taking time away from the family”. We fought for hours….Until finally he pushed me. At that point, I had had enough, and was going to call the police. When I got up, the belt to my robe fell, and as soon as it fell, he grabbed it and wrapped it around my throat. He looked me in the eyes and said, “I am not going back to jail. This is my only option.” I couldn’t get my fingers between my throat and the belt and at that moment, I realized he was going to kill me. I did all I knew to do…to ”play dead.” I did just that by pretending to pass out. The same man who promised to love and honor me, continued to strangle me until I did lose consciousness, and he didn’t stop until he thought I was dead. Once I came to, he kept me locked in our bathroom for an hour because he didn’t “trust” that I wouldn’t call the police. He finally let me go, kissed our daughter, and left our home. I never saw my husband again. Once he left our home, he bought a shotgun, rented a hotel room, and committed suicide; leaving me with a 2 year old to raise on my own.
It wasn’t until AFTER he was gone that I realized I was a victim of domestic violence but more importantly, I was a SURVIVOR of domestic violence. I attended a DV support group for years after, and had my own Advocate. They thought me what a healthy relationship looks like and what red flags look like. They also taught me that I am worthy of love, and that love doesn’t hurt. One very scary reality for me was that had he not committed suicide, I would NOT have left him. I didn’t have the tools or the knowledge about domestic violence at the time, and thought that I had made thy bed and I had to lie in it. Today, I know that isn’t true, but that’s only because of what I learned through my DV support group, time with my Advocate, and volunteering my time to talk about my own personal experience with domestic violence. See, I was never beaten by my husband. He controlled me and everything about me, but there was no escalation of abuse, that is often so common. He just snapped one day. It’s important for others to know that just because you aren’t being beaten on a regular basis, doesn’t mean you aren’t in grave danger from your abuser.
Today, 10 years later, I am married to the love of my life and we are together, raising both of our daughters full-time. I know for a fact that had I not utilized the resources that were available to me, things would have been very different for me. I believe I survived that day for a reason, and that reason was so that I could share my story and educate others about this epidemic, known as domestic violence.
How You Can Help
By supporting Runway to Freedom you are empowering survivors, sometimes in their greatest hour of need, to get safe and make a plan. You are transforming lives. With the help from our community, businesses, family and friends, we will create and instill confidence in women, men, and children who have been stripped of hope by abuse. We will give them the care and tools they need to make a change and start over.
- You can partner with us today by donating online
- You can volunteer to help at the Runway to Freedom 8 event in Oct of 2017. We always welcome the extra help!
- You can join us for the 8th Annual Runway to Freedom Charity Event in 2017. Enjoy a night of fun and revelry to celebrate survivors of domestic violence who help us spread awareness with their motivating stories.
- You can join us in empowering domestic violence victims to become survivors. Stand up and say NO to violent behavior in our communities. When someone conveys to you they are in a abusive relationship don’t ask why, instead ask HOW YOU can help?
IF YOU FEEL COMFORTABLE SHARE YOUR STORY WITH US, YOU CAN REMAIN ANNOYMOUS OR WE CAN GUIDE YOU THROUGH THE PROCESS AND HAVE YOU SPEAK AT THE EVENT
Please consider supporting us this year as we broaden our goals and dreams reaching out to survivors of domestic violence and their families. Email Lauren@runwaytofreedom.org today for more info on sponsorship opportunities as well as auction donations that includes a tax write off!