One woman’s story…

I grew up in an abusive home. My father drank heavily and arguments were frequent and violent. My mother was abused physically and emotionally and as children we were always afraid of the next “explosion” of anger.

I was happy to get out at the age of 17. I got married thinking that at last I would have a happy life. I quickly realized that I had exchanged one abusive home for another. I became pregnant and my partner ridiculed me for being fat and ugly. The names were harsh, but that soon escalated to pushing and shoving. I have had my nose broken, my arms bruised, and made many trips to the emergency room at the hospital. I made a few attempts to start fresh, but without the support of my family and financial support I returned to my abuser. He would always promise it would be different, but it never was. As the abuse escalated, I began to fear for my children. I was deeply saddened to see them relive my childhood and knew I had to do something.

I finally got the courage to go to the shelter. I was embarrassed and ashamed, but when I arrived at the shelter they helped me to realize that the abuse was not my fault and that I had made the right decision for my children and myself. That first step gave me hope that my life could change and the staff at the shelter supported me while I found a new place to live a new, violence-free life.

I don’t live with violence any more and I know that the other women and children deserve to have the same chance as I did. You don’t have to live in an abusive relationship. There is help out there for you too.