GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. – “My journey started almost 20 years ago, I was sexually assaulted,” says survivor Ruqayyah Abdul-Rahim.
Ruqayyah is a domestic violence and sexual assault survivor; and she’s just one of many affected by the devastating consequences of abuse behind closed doors.
After leaving two abusive marriages and then enduring a third assault, Ruqayyah, like many others, is working to take her life back,
“It’s been a healing journey all along, and always trying to get back to who I am. you know, being a survivor – it’s someone else making choices for you, or decisions for you that you wouldn’t make for yourself,” she continues.
Intimate partners physically abuse an average of 20 people every minute in the U.S. – this equates to more than 10 million abuse victims a year, according to the national child traumatic stress network.
Domestic Violence exists in every community, and statistics prove it doesn’t discriminate,
“There’s men, there’s women, rich, poor, different races, different religions, different spiritual backgrounds, different circumstances, it doesn’t discriminate at all,” she adds.
Locally, Mesa County’s domestic violence and sexual assault services has seen a spike in people seeking resources since the pandemic,
“So far this year, since January, we have had 1,300 crisis calls,” explains Paige Cadman, with Hilltop’s Latimer House.
The Latimer House offers services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for anyone affected by domestic violence and sexual assault in Mesa, Montrose, and Delta counties,
“It takes a lot to leave a situation like this and sometimes knowing the steps of what you need to do when you’re in it can be very helpful,” Cadman continues.
Ruqayyah is a reminder to anyone in an abusive situation that there’s light on the other side of the door; she now helps others going through the same situation through her own organization – Ruqayyah and Co.,
“I’ve taken all of my intuitive healing, my education, my experience, my training, all of that right? And decided to pour it into survivors,” she explains.
If you, or someone you know is being abused, the first step to safety is opening the door,
“I want them to know that they’re worthy; that they matter, that they’re life, you know everything that they want for their life, matters,” Ruqayyah concludes.
everyone has the right to be safe.
If you, or someone you know, is in an abusive relationship or has been sexually assaulted, call the Latimer House 24-hour crisis line now. The number is 970-241-6704.