Today I have the honor of introducing you to someone special who is fighting against domestic violence. Meet Amy Daumit, author of Forget Me Not: learning to live with me and for me, which just came out last week. Amy is the founder of the Forget Me Not Advocacy Group. She has a law degree, is a blogger, author, and a former victim of domestic violence. I interviewed Amy, and I will share the interview now:
1. Amy, what prompted you to write Forget Me Not?
I have always loved to write and began blogging to help me heal from my abuse. I often toyed with the idea of writing a book, but never felt motivated. Then, last December while at a small festival, I was sitting by the campfire with Michael (my boyfriend). We were the only two there and were both meditating and relaxing in our own way. I just felt moved to write (as crazy as that seems). I could hear a voice in my head saying that I should self-publish. Of course, me being me, I entertained this voice and had a conversation with it . . . sigh. I wasn’t sure what it was I was supposed to publish or why I was even thinking of this, but by the end of the night I knew in my heart that I was supposed to share my story. I was in such a good place and others needed to know that they could get there too. If you asked me two years ago if I could be as happy and content in life as I am now, then I would have said no . . . but here I am. I wanted others to know that they could find happiness too. That they were not alone. I almost couldn’t start writing soon enough. I started at the beginning as soon as I got home!
2. When did you start it and when did you finish it
I started writing the beginning of December 2015 and finished (edits and all) in September of 2016. <Note from Caroline – I’m so jealous! My first book took me seven years to finish and publish!>
3. What main points would you like the readers to take away from the book?
For those who have or are experiencing abuse: You can find happiness again. No one deserves to be abused or treated badly by others. It is not your fault and it is not okay. You can get out of an abusive relationship and rebuild your life, even if it feels that all hope is lost. It is not an easy journey, but it is possible and you are the only one that can make it happen. No one can do it for you.
For those who have never personally experienced abuse: I wanted them to know what being abused feels like, how out of control the victim feels, how s/he sees things, and why it is so difficult for victims to leave their abusers.
4. Where is the book available for purchase?
Forget Me Not – learning to live with me and for me is available for purchase at Amazon.com or amydaumit.com (which takes you to Amazon). If you live in South Florida, I am doing some local events where the book will be available.
5. Can you describe how Forget Me Not Advocacy Group began?
As I was working on my book, I was also blogging on the side. I would think of things that I wanted to write about as I was writing my story. When I first started blogging, in 2012, I was not in a healthy place and was not really prepared to help others. But this time it was different. I started receiving questions from people, emails, comments, and so on. I felt like there was a real need to have peer help out there for women like me (those who didn’t think they needed help or shelters). And it all just kind of started to happen. It seemed that doors just kept opening for sharing and supporting others . . . and Forget Me Not Advocacy Group was formed.
It was important to me that Forget Me Not Advocacy Group focused on preventative support. As a teacher and a woman who got involved with my husband at the age of 15, I felt that was where I could make the most difference. Our mission statement is to “Stop domestic violence before it starts, through education and community awareness, while supporting those who are healing from abuse.” We are all about giving young people the tools they need to recognize and avoid domestic violence, while giving the community the tools they need to understand domestic violence and all it encompasses. We want to bring DV out of the shadows and get people talking about it!
6. What does FMN Advocacy group do?
We are a very new organization (April 2016) but we have a lot going on. I present workshops to young people (schools, scouts, etc.) on dating violence, healthy relationships, and bystander intervention (to name a few topics). We also do a number of community events where we share about DV (bike rides, chalk art events, vigils, speaking engagements, etc.) I do a lot of tabling at events (to share information on DV and what Forget Me Not provides to the community), and go to a lot of community meetings to meet and talk with other leaders and groups in our community. We also have a small, but growing, peer support group that meets once a month. I’m working to build a solid reference list for those individuals that need support that FMN cannot provide (legal, therapeutic, and so on). Somewhat separately, I do survivor talks and blog about DV and healing to help others know they are not alone and to help educate those who do not understand.
I’ve recently focused on creating a space where teens can come to grow individually, creatively, and responsibly. I dream of having a location where teens and college students can be encouraged to be independent thinkers and doers, without relying on others for their basic needs, or allowing others to dictate their life. Maybe one day we will be able to create this space and hold our workshops and classes there, along with other activities to inspire responsible and self-reliant young adults.
7. When and how did you decide to leave your “day job” and do this full-time?
It was a process that took almost four years. I was in law school when I got divorced and I had to struggle just to finish. I was blessed to get a solid Government job a few months after graduation and just recently left this past July. As I was learning to live with me and for me (the name of my blog and then book, because learning to do this was difficult!) I went through a lot of changes. But as I healed, I knew the Government job (in law enforcement) was not where I was supposed to be. I was not sleeping well at night. I thought I was tough and the people deserved to go to jail when they broke the law, but . . . over time, I learned there are many reasons people do what they do. It’s a long story, but my personality and that job just did not fit.
Also, I found the job to be very negative. Everyone I worked with was stressed out all the time, we worked a lot of hours, I didn’t feel I was doing good. Also, I saw a lot of controlling personalities in management. I was getting triggered a lot – it was not a healthy place for me to be. But leaving a solid job, with good pay and benefits, is hard. I had worked hard to get that job and I stayed longer than I should have thinking I shouldn’t leave a steady job I was blessed to have. But, I was miserable.
As Forget Me Not Advocacy Group grew, I found happiness in helping others. I also was offered a part-time job at a home school resource center, which gave me the motivation to leave . . . to live on savings and the small teaching salary . . . and grow Forget Me Not into an agency that could really do some good. The teaching job fell through, but I am happier than I’ve been in years. I know I’m where I’m supposed to be, doing what I’m supposed to be doing.
8. How does the Advocacy group fundraise?
We have had several fundraising activities (bike rides and kayaking events) and are planning a Gala for Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month in February (with art, drama, and a fashion show). So far, we have raised just enough to cover our start-up costs. We have a Go Fund Me Campaign and I have been working hard on grants and foundation funds – which are hard for new organizations to get. I know it takes time to build an organization but I only have so much in savings. Once that runs low, I will need to go work somewhere else . . . which will take away time and energy from the growth of Forget Me Not. I’m hoping I won’t have to go back to work for someone else.
9. Thanks so much for sharing with my readers today Amy!
I’ve read Forget Me Not. The beginning was difficult for me because Amy’s description of her abuse was very similar to what I experienced. I began enjoying it when she decided she should leave her abuser. Here are my takeaways:
1. When we are being abused, we aren’t thinking clearly. Being around our abuser clouds our thinking. We think we cannot get out, but we CAN get out! Tweet This
2. Leaving your abuser is just the first baby step in the process of getting yourself back. Healing will require you to lean on others and realize you are worth the time, energy and cost of pursuing emotional health. It is hard, will take longer than you think it should, but it is so worth it!
I am proud to call Amy my friend. She is a strong woman who has been through a lot, but she did not let it defeat her. Amy embodies the truth of 2 Timothy 1:7 which says:
For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.
I invite you to check out her book, and her FMN Advocacy group.
Question: If you are a survivor, have you thought about what can you do to help other DV victims?
May God bless you all this week!