Graduation caps are thrown into the air by happy women

Graduation 2021

It’s not just high school and university students who graduate. The women from our When Love Hurts support groups do too.

In June we held our annual Spring Social and Graduation ceremony. Thirty women came together for a double celebration: we celebrated the continuing work of our Society, and the journey of the women completing twenty weeks of When Love Hurts support group. This year we were able to run four groups, the most we have ever run.

We asked Karen to say a few words to this years grads.

“This is a special night. As part of our RESPECT Spring Social, we want to take a moment to honour you who have recently graduated. And so… these words are for you….

Your strength, courage and determination amaze us. All of you have come a long way on your journey to safety and wholeness. And because of the pervasiveness of male superiority not only in intimate relationships but in all our structures – legal, social, economic and religious – many of you still have far to travel on your journey.  Sadly, not all the hard work is done but this time, this time tonight, can serve as a sort of vantage point. A chance to pause and be grateful for your journey so far. Take a moment to think about how far you have come. Remember where you were last June. Think about where you are now. You have come a loooong way. Think too about your companions. Look at this screen and give a wave and a smile to your fellow group members. Breath in the gratitude you feel for your sisters on this journey. 

Each and every one of you is a miracle. When you live authentically your light is so bright, it lights up the whole world.

Karen McAndless-Davis

And you, class of 2021, you are graduating in this incredible moment in history. We will all forever remember the years 2020 and 2021. A time when the whole world was forced to stop because of Covid. But also a time when the masks of systemic racism and sexism began to be pulled off. A time of some reckoning of how the powerful often abuse their power and the intolerable injustice and harm that flows from that. As I get to talk to women impacted by violence and abuse, not only here in the lower mainland but all over North America. I am feeling some hopefulness bubbling up. I am hearing strength and clarity in the voices of the women I am talking to. As we emerge out of Covid, things will be different. Not only will it be that black lives matter and indigenous lives matter and brown lives matter and Asian lives matter but also that women’s lives matter. All systemic injustices need to be changed forever. This is a time for transformation. We are seeing the beginning of change on a societal level. 

This year signals new beginnings for you as well. What you learned and experienced when you were in the Support Group, you learned primarily for yourself. You gained knowledge and tools to make sense of the craziness you were living with so you could direct your steps on the way to freedom, peace and happiness.

Now, you have the opportunity to take what you have been given and to use it to reshape the world around you. Maybe that will be through being part of RESPECT. Maybe that will be through how you raise your children. Maybe that will be through how you talk to your friends and co-workers. No matter what kind of involvement you decide on, the world around you will be changed simply by the way you choose to live your life.

Each and every one of you is a miracle. When you live authentically your light is so bright, it lights up the whole world. So, may you go forward and be the unique spark of light and love and truth you were created to be.” 

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