By Sharon Soliday, an EO Portland member and owner of The Hello Foundation, LLC
When I think back to 3 April, the memory that most strikes me is the statement: “He started to kick me in the head because it didn’t leave bruises.” I was sitting in a women’s crisis shelter, listening to this sobbing woman recall for caseworkers the history of violence in her home, the rape that occurred just days before and her panicked plea for a restraining order against her husband.
I sat shell-shocked. Her story left me bewildered, to say the least. I found myself wondering: “How did I get here? I’m not Danielle’s friend. I’m her boss.” I sat quietly next to Danielle as she answered question after question, a process that took hours. What was the last incident of violence? How would you describe the violence that occurred within the past six months? Does he own a gun? Has he ever threatened your life?
As Danielle was being interviewed, a second caseworker intermittently fired questions toward me. We were playing “beat the clock,” trying to meet a court deadline to get all of the paperwork before a judge that day. What were the names of Danielle’s children? When were their birthdays? Did I happen to know her mother’s address? I didn’t know the answer to any of these questions. I wasn’t a relative, close friend or co-worker. I knew Danielle only as my employee.
So how, then, did I get there, assisting in the investigation?