SVCC Graduate Returns With A Mission

Published 4:00 pm Thursday, December 30, 2010

Passion was evident as Kandy Hayes talked about the trappings and statistics of a growing epidemic that knows no boundaries. It was October 19 at Southside Virginia Community College's John H. Daniel campus when Hayes took the podium and began a discussion on domestic abuse.

Regardless of background, one in three women and one in six men have fallen victim to domestic violence. Hayes is not immune to these statistics. After her grandmother passed away, she discovered her own family secret. Her grandmother had lived with a violent husband and suffered under his hand all her married life. This is typical. Though domestic violence is prevalent in our society, it is often buried in silence.

“It's providence that I work for Madeline's House”, Hayes said. “I applied for an internship with the Department of Social Services while attending SVCC and was told that they did not have an opening. While sitting there, I noticed a flyer on the bulletin board for Madeline's House. This really caught my eye, so I made an appointment and that's how I got my first taste of social work.”

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Hayes said she considered looking for work in Richmond but decided to stay in Southside. Giving back to the community she grew up in was more important.

“I'm grateful for the opportunity. It's a good feeling to serve in my own neighborhood,” she said.

When Hayes is not speaking to school groups and other organizations, she is working with children at the shelter.

Domestic violence affects their lives in so many dramatic ways,” Hayes said.” When you grow up with abuse, it can be construed as normal.”

Children in domestically violent homes risk becoming abused or becoming an abuser. The scars may fade but they never go away.

Hayes confessed that she has had her share of abusive relationships she commented, “Verbal abuse and emotional abuse is abuse just the same.” She explained how it makes you put up walls and be suspicious of relationships. An abuser wants to move quickly into an exclusive love relationship before their violent nature is discovered. Young girls are the most susceptible. They are easily impressed and just want to be loved.

Signs that your relationship may turn violent include: Verbal abuse/constant criticism and humiliation; Controlling behavior/ suspicions, jealousy, possessiveness, separation from friends & family.

Aggressive outbursts/forcing and holding, pinching and shoving, hitting and punching.

An abuser blames the victim for his actions. An isolated incident can turn into a life style of abuse. Breaking the cycle of silence is a powerful tool. If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence there is help. Call toll free 1-888-819-2926. Love shouldn't hurt.

In May 2010 Kandy Hayes graduated with an associate in Human Services from SVCC. Her compassion and dedication is admirable. She is the first in our series of living proof that “success starts here”.