CCC alum's recovery from domestic violence gives life focus

CCC alum Jill Griffin moves forward to advocate for those affected by the plague of domestic violence.


Flagstaff, Ariz. - A tested journey through life has steeled her into a driven and passionate learner and teacher.

Coconino Community College alum Jill Griffin survived the horror of domestic violence for more than 20 years. Before starting at CCC in 2010, Griffin did not see the success in herself that she exemplifies today.

“After years of the abuse, I had no hope,” Griffin said. “I felt had no freedom to do anything.”

When she approached her psychologist with her lack of confidence in her future, Griffin’s psychologist suggested that she attend school to study psychology. So, she went back to school at CCC to begin the emotional healing from the past 20 years. She wanted to take the years of depression, PTSD and anxiety and help others through what she had experienced.  

A broken Griffin would soon find that the support and education of one institution, CCC, would help her become an example of overcoming some of the greatest of obstacles.

“The support and help from the professors and staff was incredible,” Griffin said. “Any concern or problem you had, there was someone there to help you.”  

Social and Behavioral Sciences Instructor Michele Metcalf is the faculty member who Griffin credits a lot of her success, too. Metcalf mentored Griffin through her associate’s degree and still helps to this day.

“Michele was an amazing mentor and my rock,” Griffin said. “There were times I didn’t know if I could make it through all of the schooling, but Michele was there to assure me that I could.”

Griffin graduated from CCC in 2013 with an Associate’s in Psychology and a minor in Sociology. She won “Psychology Student of the Year” after being nominated by the Psychology Department faculty and for her outstanding grade point average. Griffin was also a member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society during her time at CCC.

Griffin did not stop there, however. At CCC, she went through the CCC2NAU program, transitioned to Northern Arizona University and decided to double major in Criminology and Psychology with a minor in Sociology.

“I added the criminology degree because I became interested in the science and law behind what was done to me,” Griffin said. “I was baffled as to how my ex-husband could get away with what he did to my children and me for so long.”

When she graduated from NAU, Griffin gave Metcalf her graduation stole in gratitude to show her appreciation for what Michele helped her through.

Today, Griffin is attending NAU to receive her Master’s in Criminology. She wants to eventually help people who are going through domestic violence cases in the court and advocate for them. Her thesis is on coercive control, and she will conduct research to demonstrate the effect that abuse has on a person psychologically, eventually stripping them of their freedom and sense of self.

“I love doing research now and used to tell Michele that I would never do it,” Griffin said, smiling.

After she receives her master’s, Griffin plans to continue school to receive a Master’s in Counseling. Happily remarried and healed from a harmful past, Griffin moves forward to advocate for those with lives plagued by domestic violence.

Griffin also volunteers at Hope Cottage in Flagstaff to help women through the experiences of homelessness, the aftermath of domestic violence and other life events that leave people in an emotional and physical rut. She even started a blog called Freedom Gives Hope. It contains self-help books, readings and other various links Griffin has used in the healing process as a victim of domestic violence.

“My healing process has come through my education,” Griffin said as tears filled her eyes. “Without the help of CCC and the instructors there, I don’t know if any of my success would have been possible.”


Monday, 17th October 2016

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  • Monday, 17th October 2016