|Eversole uses experience to help victims|
|Monday, April 01, 2013 2:29 PM|
VAN WERT — Christina Eversole has been the executive director of Van Wert County Victim Services, Inc., for just over a year now but her experience runs much deeper than that.
She took over the job when the position opened in 2012 and since then, she has found her calling.
“I love, love my job. It’s my career and I plan on staying here for as long as I possibly can,” she declared.
Eversole finds herself helping people through some difficult circumstances like home break-ins, abuse and domestic violence. She can help people by speaking from the voice of experience.
“I have compassion for the people because I grew up with a lot of domestic violence in my family,” she revealed. “Back then, they didn’t charge like they do today. They told us we would have to leave the house. They didn’t take the abuser out of the home at that time, so I grew up in a lot of this. I’ve seen a lot of domestic violence, abuse and alcoholism. There was a lot of that in my family. I see so many people making bad decisions for themselves, then I realize there is more hope for you. And I’m hoping that I can get them out of that situation.”
She said that her life experience has given her perspective on situations, not blaming the past or family circumstances, but encouraging people to take the next step forward.
“Nobody in our family is affected long-term by it,” explained Eversole. “We’re not abusers ourselves. I think we’ve learned that this isn’t what we want for our family. A lot of people like to fall back on that and use it as a crutch for themselves, saying ‘Oh, I’m an alcoholic because my dad was an alcoholic,’ or ‘I’m an abuser because my mom and dad were abusers.’ I don’t feel that way at all and I want people to realize they can break this trend.”
The workload of cases certainly can tug at the heartstrings of most anyone, especially someone who has lived through tough situations as she has. However, Eversole said she is also struck by the way her life has changed for the better since childhood, so her days are not overwhelming.
“It doesn’t take an emotional toll on me. I have empathy and compassion for the people. I come back to the office and it makes me realize how much more fortunate I am to have the life that I have versus the life I could have had growing up. I do feel bad for people but it makes me more apt to help these people. And I can only help them if they want to be helped. There’s only so much I can do and I realize that,” she reasoned.
Eversole graduated from Vantage Police Academy in 1998 and hired onto the Delphos Police Auxiliary to begin what she was sure would be a career in law enforcement. She graduated from Tiffin University in 2008 with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice.
She remembered, “At that point in time, I applied to the different law enforcement agencies, but there was a huge layoff around the time I graduated, so I wasn’t sure what I was going to do. I applied with the Sheriff’s Office. I got on their auxiliary to hold my commission open. In the meantime I was also working at Westwood Behavioral Health Center. I worked there for two years, and then I realized that my heart just wasn’t there. It just wasn’t my niche.”
She transported prisoners for the Van Wert Sheriff’s Office, but admitted, “I felt like a counselor more than just an officer.”
Then last spring the position opened in Victims Services, and Eversole knew what she was meant to do.
“It was an amazing interview,” she stated. “I was bound and determined that this was where I was going to be my career; this was where I was going and was where I needed to be.”
Eversole has an amazing ability to leave her work at work and not be pulled down by the emotional situations she finds herself in the midst of many days. But the work has affected her spiritual life.
“Since I’ve started this job, I’ve really poured myself into church,” Eversole related. “I’ve been compelled to pray for people and hope they are able to find their self-worth.”
Beyond prayer, she admitted she sometimes feels very limited as far as finding ways to help.
Eversole shared, “What’s frustrating sometimes are the lack of some services, or the time it takes to get those services. We do have the facilities to be able to get people into a safe environment with Crisis Care and the YWCA. That’s there, and we’re very fortunate for that. But financially… we don’t have the financial means to help them or give them groceries. I do try to work with the churches and direct people to the churches and the food banks and with JFS (Department of Job and Family Services), but it is all dependent on time. If it happens on a Friday afternoon, my services are limited.”
With the voice of experience on her side, Eversole believes she can assist victims through the legal system, provide various means of help, and encourage them to break the cycle of abuse. From robbery victims to those dealing with physical, sexual, or emotional abuse, Van Wert County Victim Services provides as much assistance as possible to help the hurting.
And for those struggling with an abuse situation, Eversole has some straight advice:
“Get out. They need to get out of the situation, especially if they have children involved. That may mean getting set up with another family member or getting set up with the transitional home through the YWCA. Just get out. They don’t need to be there. They are important, and they don’t need to be abused. Abuse is not love.”
|Last Updated on Monday, April 01, 2013 3:12 PM|