Aris Roberts Kelly traces her Irish roots to Co. Roscommon and Co. Monaghan. A native New Yorker, Aris moved to Austin, Texas in 1997, where she became a mother, writer, and woodworker. In 2013, she had an epiphany – her life would become dedicated to releasing people from domestic violence.
She went back to school at St. Edwards University, earning a bachelor’s degree in Social Work and Women’s Studies. She became an advocate at the SAFE Alliance in Austin, a shelter and community service for domestic abuse survivors. Taking her advocacy to a national scale, she joined the National Domestic Violence Hotline, where she currently works writing and editing content for their website. Much of her time is spent talking with survivors of domestic violence, supporting, validating and educating them on how abuse intersects with other identifiers such as race, immigration and LGBTQ. She coaches victims to plan for their future safety. She also speaks with abusers to discuss the impact of their behaviors, educates them about accountability and helps plan for their rehabilitation.
Working on NDVH’s domestic violence hotline, Aris guides younger people (aged 13 – 24) who have been so deeply affected by abuse (or those who are trying to avoid it). It’s an experience that has given her insight into how abuse develops and takes hold, as well as the ways that abuse can be prevented, navigated, safely traversed and eventually healed. Her beautiful son, Orion Fierro, is 20, and she lives happily with her supportive and loving husband of 8 years, Mark Downs. ♦