End the Violence: Local mother finds strength in painful past

Ask her and she’ll tell you.

Bethany Phenix-Osgood lives a life full of joy.

“I’m remarried. I’m just so happy and I’m a blessed mom. I have an amazing job,” Phenix-Osgood said.

But, before all of that was heartache, danger and pain.

“The journey is still difficult to bring up and talk about,” Phenix-Osgood said.

You’d never know by looking at her, but Phenix-Osgood spent years suffering. She said she experienced sexual abuse and domestic violence twice in her life.

“Abuse is across all colors, all income levels, all neighborhoods, all religions, all anything,” Phenix-Osgood said.

Phenix-Osgood said it started when she was a child.

“As a child, it was really difficult because we oftentimes don’t have our voice as children. It’s hard to articulate if we’re experiencing any kind of domestic violence, sexual abuse, emotional or verbal neglect,” Phenix-Osgood said.

She said there was more abuse years later. This time it was at the hands of her former husband.

“I felt for a long time and why I stayed too long was this unending pressure to give the appearance that we were okay,” Phenix-Osgood said. “There is this heavy weight that is invisible that is really hard to label or put any words to it.”

Phenix-Osgood is not alone in having felt that way.

It’s estimated that one in three women in Spokane County have experienced domestic violence. That number is one in seven for men. Those rates are higher in Spokane County than any other part of the state.

Those statistics only represent reported cases, so the number could be much higher.

Phenix-Osgood said she reached out for help years ago, while she was in the unhealthy relationship.

“I wasn’t believed,” Phenix-Osgood said.

Finally, that changed.

“What helped me leave and what helped was I had someone who came alongside me and said Bethany, I believe you,” Phenix-Osgood said.

Phenix-Osgood came to Spokane about a decade ago to find safety. She still needed help when she got here. She found that at Lutheran Community Services.

The organization has a mission of standing up for and supporting victims of crime. They offer programs to empower, support, and educate survivors. Some of that help targets healing and recovery while other programs help with the legal process.

“I was able to use them to rebuild my confidence, rebuild my communication skills and say, I got this,” Phenix-Osgood said.

The group also continued to believe her story.

“They’re able to meet people where they’re at and LCS for Eastern Washington stands up and says I believe you,” Phenix-Osgood said.

Those three words are powerful enough to save a life.

It’s been more than 10 years since she’s endured abuse, according to Phenix-Osgood. She’s happily remarried, gives back to the community, and loves spending time with her kids.

Phenix-Osgood decided to share her story publicly, so she could connect with other women and men facing violence. She said she wanted to use her voice to inspire others to find safety and hope.

“Recovery is not revenge. The journey to peace is through healing,” Phenix-Osgood said. “Mentor, support, believe.”

A new documentary airs Monday that will expose the impact of domestic violence in the Spokane Community. Watch ‘End the Violence’ on 4 News Now at 7 p.m.

End the Violence: Local mother finds strength in painful past