March 8, 2021

Shining a light on trauma: local woman turns personal experience into power

This International Women’s Day, 10TV is celebrating the achievements of women right here in central…

This International Women’s Day, 10TV is celebrating the achievements of women right here in central Ohio.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — This International Women’s Day, 10TV is celebrating the achievements of women right here in central Ohio.

Michelle Aaraichi is one of those women.

In her lifetime, Aaraichi, formerly Michelle Wells, faced more than 40 years of abuse, both childhood and spousal.

After breaking the cycle, Aaraichi explained to 10TV that she struggled with where to go from there, finding that so much of what is documented about trauma survivors focuses on the abuse and not what happens beyond that.

“If I had a story that I could listen to I think that would have been so beneficial,” she said. “It kind of gives that ray of hope in that you’re not alone.”

At one time, Aaraichi told 10TV that she lived with a lot of anger because of what happened to her and with little knowledge of how to make real change.

In working with Dress for Success Columbus, Aaraichi was able to share more of her story and find a job with upward mobility to build a life of her own.

“Michelle is a true Shero. She has risen above all odds to become self-sufficient and take an active role in owning her own success,” said Stephanie Campolo-Merkle, interim director and senior director of fundraising, marketing and strategic communications for Dress for Success Columbus. “Her ongoing commitment to help other survivors thrive is truly inspirational.”

In that commitment to helping survivors, Aaraichi told 10TV, she wanted to share their stories.

Aaraichi took classes to learn how to direct films with the mission to shine a light on domestic violence and other forms of trauma.

“My story might not touch someone that’s not had the same situation, but another person I film could, you know – everybody has a different story, everybody has a different experience and one path to recovery doesn’t fit everyone,” she said.

To see more of Aaraichi’s work, click here