Domestic violence survivor uses her story to help others

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — After going through the unimaginable, Jamie Ogles Sly has dedicated her life to helping those who have escaped abusive relationships.

Ogles Sly works for Volunteers of America Mid-States, is on the board of the Homeless Coalition in Southern Indiana and has been volunteering at The Center for Women and Families for 7 years, offering a hand and an open ear to those in need.

“For me, it is so important for me to help other people find their voice,” Ogles Sly said. “A human face to say I got you, what do you need, what can I help you with.”

Because she said she knows firsthand what it is like to be in, and leave, an abusive relationship. Ogles Sly said she dealt with a violent relationship for years, starting her freshman year of college.

“It started off very playful, he would come to visit and then all of a sudden it was like there was a switch,” Ogles Sly said. “It became a relationship of complete manipulation.”

Ogles Sly said her partner would quickly become forceful when she was not ready to be physical.

“I went over this over and over in my head thinking…I was an athlete at the time, why didn’t I fight him?” Ogles Sly said. “[But] that was my survival instinct saying, ‘This is going to be over, wait it out.'”

It took her three years to talk about what happened, but when she finally let it out, she was able to start a new chapter.

“For me, it’s literally, ‘This is what has happened to me, and this is the best way that I can deal with it and this is the best way I can use it for good,'” Ogles Sly said.

She started volunteering with The Center for Women and Children as a hospital advocate—helping survivors right after their abuse. Since then, she’s been hands-on at health fair and tabling events, spreading the word about the domestic violence shelter and its resources. 

“It was a long journey but I think finally having a tribe around me was everything to just lead me to where I am now,” she said.

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