We recently had a woman call our crisis line in a desperate situation. Her co-worker of many years had just confided in her that she was in an abusive relationship and now her little girl was showing signs of trauma. She didn’t know what to do — her friend needed help right at that moment! We arranged to have them come into our administrative office to meet with a crisis counselor in person. When they arrived, the victim was visibly shaken and was overwhelmed with emotion. She said she had finally realized the toll ten years of abuse was taking on her daughter. With her friend/co-worker by her side, she continued to disclose years of emotional and physical abuse that had been consistently escalating over time. Her husband had told her if she ever left him she would pay miserably. Once she was able to calm down, the crisis counselor completed a safety assessment. It was quickly realized that the woman and her daughter needed to leave as soon as possible. We worked together to create an in-depth safety plan that allowed her to gather their things and then come into shelter while her husband was away at work. The woman was very ashamed and had a hard time accepting help. She had spent years minimizing the abuse and kept asking, “Please just tell me I’m not crazy – please tell me this is really as bad as it feels.” 24 hours later she was in our shelter feeling safe, calm, and very relieved.
She and her little girl had brought their favorite things from home to make the transition easier. They had their own pillows, a special blanket, and some pictures, but what really stood out was the little girl bringing her dollhouse — she could barely carry it. It was one of her favorite things and her Mom had let her bring it to help with the transition. It was a poignant reminder that at the end of the day, this was a just a normal little 8-year old girl who deserved to be happy, loved, and safe.
And, happily, today, they are safe. Our client is pursuing a divorce and is requesting sole physical and legal custody of her daughter. They have just begun their journey – but they are definitely on their way to a new life, free from pain and suffering!
There is light at the end of the tunnel
Before I came to NEWS, I spent every day wondering if this time the promises to change would finally come true. I spent so much energy trying to get through each day without a blow-up, trying to keep the peace, but I always knew deep down it wouldn’t last. The fight would happen; I couldn’t prevent it. I was always afraid -- how bad would it be this time? Would he hit me, would the children see? I couldn’t see a way out.
NEWS helped me see understand how I could create a different life for myself and my children. Today there is no more fear. I only wish I hadn’t waited so long to make the call.
Because everyone deserves a safe place to call home