In honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, I sat down with CrossFit trainer Erica Austin, who is creating a specialized program to help victims of domestic and sexual violence: StongerYou.
What is StrongerYou?
StrongerYou will be a twelve-week program consisting of trauma- informed CrossFit classes three days per week, and two-hour self-defense classes one day per week. The program is designed to give victims a chance to honor their body and story. The gym provides a safe, confidential setting where victims can work out the trauma stored in their bodies. After sweating and working out their emotions at the gym, victims are better prepared for time in court reliving and testifying about the most difficult times of their lives. Additionally, a one-on-one class will be available to women who are moving through the court process and want extra support before testifying in court. Erica aims to have 10 participants once the program gets underway, and any victims with financial issues, whether it be the cost of the program or gym attire, will be accommodated for.
To offer a safe, trauma informed environment for victims of domestic violence to learn how to care for their body, mind, and physically move trauma through their body. Survivors will be part of a positive community of individuals that focus on supporting, encouraging, and celebrating each women’s successes.
Who is Erica Austin?
Erica Austin is a Level 1 CrossFit trainer at CrossFit Souhegan located in Milford, NH. She coaches pregnant and post-partum women, as Erica says, she enjoys working with people who have “big feelings”. She has experience working with victims of domestic and sexual violence. Erica has extensive experience working with domestic violence and self-defense organizations in both New Hampshire and Massachusetts. She has worked with the NH Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence to change NH RSA: 461A to better protect children if there is suspected abuse during child custody cases. Erica has testified at the New Hampshire Legislature, specifically the Child and Family Law Committee, and participated in testimony in the New Hampshire Senate on behalf of children and parents.
Erica is currently collaborating with the following organizations:
- NH Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, Concord, NH
- Bridges– a nonprofit agency dedicated to helping victims and survivors of domestic assault and sexual violence.
- IMPACTBoston- an organization that will help Erica offer a self-defense classes in addition to trauma informed CrossFit classes.
- Reebok is an official nonprofit partner.
Erica is in the process of starting some fundraising events. She is hoping to reach her fundraising goal by the middle of November. Fundraising for StrongerYou is handled by Bridges. If you would like to donate or support StrongerYou please contact Bridges in Nashua at 603-889-0858.
Erica is currently working with two gyms: CrossFit Souhegan located in Milford, NH and CrossFit Nashua located in Nashua. Both gyms are family-friendly and offer daycare services. Erica encourages participants to bring their children with them, so they can see their mothers empowering themselves through the program. Reach out to Erica at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Once StrongerYou gets underway, Erica is hoping to expand the StrongerYou program to other victims of trauma to include male victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, as well as, Veterans who suffer from PTSD and other ailments.
Erica’s Advice to Victims
“Understand that you have value and worth, and that you deserve to have more in your life. Honor what is happening to you- it is okay to be scared and to have big feelings. Try not to let it bottle up inside of you, cry that ugly cry and then pick yourself up.”
Domestic Violence Statistics from National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
- In the US, an average of 20 people are physically abused by an intimate partner every minute
- That is more than 10 million people annually.
- 1 in 3 women have been physically abused by an intimate partner
- 1 in 5 women have been severely abused by an intimate partner
- 1 in 7 women have been stalked
If you or someone you know is not in a safe environment, please reach out to one of the many local resources or contact us to learn about obtaining an Order of Protection. We are here to help and guide you through this process. Located in downtown Nashua, NH we offer consultations Monday through Friday 8:30am-5pm: 943-5647 or contact us online