Editor’s Note: Patricia Wenskunas, founder and CEO of Crime Survivors Inc., is the keynote speaker at The Signal’s second annual Domestic Violence Summit on Sept. 15 at College of the Canyons. Wenskunas is a survivor of a 2002 assault. To attend, register at The Signal news site. Seating is limited.
Patricia Wenskunas is dedicated to ensuring victims of violence know they are not alone.
After her personal trainer assaulted her in 2002, Wenskunas had to navigate life after the attempted murder emotionally, spiritually and logistically.
While the claims filed against her batterer would have given him 10 years in prison, the judge sentenced him to 120 days.
Feeling the court system was stacked against victims, Wenskunas decided to fight back to make sure what happened to her did not happen to anyone else.
Now as the founder and CEO of Crime Survivors, Inc., she helps victims of domestic violence, murder attempts, abuse and human trafficking find justice.
“I want other victims to know we’re walking beside them in this journey hand in hand,” Patricia Wenskunas said.
While Wenskunas’ goal is to help those who suffered abuse move forward and heal, she said it is important to acknowledge what happened to them.
“We have to be able to express our victimization to let people know what we’ve endured,” she said.
Though, she emphasizes that victims are not defined by the abuse they survived. Wenskunas reminds survivors to assure themselves of who they are as a person, regardless of the hardship they lived through.
Having faith, holding onto hope and being grateful for one’s future are all needed to move on, Wenskunas tells survivors.
Crime Survivors, Inc. helps victims at any time in their healing process, Wenskunas said, whether it be the day the incident happened or decades later.
In addition to aiding victims, the organization actively works on abuse awareness and prevention.
Wenskunas’ work is effective because she knows what victims are going through, according to Domestic Violence Center Executive Director Linda Davies.
“Her job is to be an advocate to get what victims need because she’s been there before,” Davies said.
Having been through the process of seeking justice, Wenskunas knows well what works and doesn’t work, Davies said.
“She is very knowledgeable and will speak up when some of us don’t speak up as much,” she said.
One of Wenskunas’ strengths is her ability to network well and get and share information to better help victims.
“She’s a really good connector and she really has a passion for it,” Davies said.