This year we think one woman’s story, told in her own words, best illustrates the impact of your support –
Two years ago this month I was living a very different life. My children and I were living in a camper and getting ready to move 5 ½ hours away from our closest friends and relatives. I had given up control of my life. I had no say in any decision that affected me. I had no income or transportation. I could not even decide what type of food to eat. Once when I expressed that I would like to stop eating red meat for a while, my partner came home with pounds and pounds of red meat and nothing else, exclaiming it was the healthiest food to eat and we didn’t need anything else. Once he bought only eggs, even though I am allergic to eggs.
I was constantly told that I didn’t contribute financially so I didn’t deserve a say. I was insulted and devalued every day. I wasn’t allowed to say no to any demand, giving up control even of my own body. By the time we reached October of 2013 I was completely beaten. I thought there was no way out and that I had burned all of my bridges by continuously returning to this unhealthy relationship. Family and friends had turned their backs on me, unable to watch any longer. I felt completely powerless and alone.
One day, as moving day was quickly approaching I expressed to a friend my fears, telling her I did not want to go but had no choice. She told me about The Women’s Freedom Center. “But I’m not abused.” I told her. “He doesn’t hit me.”
Despite my doubts, I went with her to The Women’s Freedom Center the first chance I got. I had no idea the series of events that visit would set into motion.
I sat with one of the advocates from the center as my girls played in the other room I told her my whole life story. She listened compassionately to the whole tale. I thought for sure she’d show me the door. Think I was just a whiny, self-entitled housewife. I even gave her the same line I gave to my friend, I said, “I don’t think you can help me, I’m not abused, he doesn’t hit me.” I thought, with so many women in need, why would they help me. I felt guilty (not for the last time) just for being there.
After I was done telling her about our situation she said to me five life changing words “Amanda, you are being abused.” I had heard these words many, many times. I’d heard them from friends, families, even counselors but somehow, for the first time, they burned right to my soul. I thought these women were going to laugh me out the door. The horror stories they must deal with regularly, how could my story touch them? How could they take me seriously? But they did take me seriously and the very next day they paid for a van to pick me up with my four children in tow and all of my belongings, packed up in garbage bags and brought me back to the center. From there they brought me downtown and helped me to sign up for every service available to me, food stamps, reach up (cash assistance), health insurance and a state-provided hotel room while I searched for a place.
Once I was settled into my hotel room I had regular meetings with the advocates at the center. They checked in with me, helped me to search for apartments and wrote an awesome referral for me to give to landlords. They even paid my first electric bill and helped me to sign the kids up for school, as I was homeschooling at the time.
I am eternally grateful to the women at The Women’s Freedom Center and to my good friend who saved my life that day by bringing me to them. Without them my life would be drastically different from what it is today.
Today my 4 children and I are in a beautiful 3 bedroom apartment, I was able to find a job I love and own my first vehicle in my own name and run my own business. I am completely independent and an entirely different person then I was two years ago. None of this would have been possible without The Women’s Freedom Center and my angel who delivered me on their doorstep just two years ago.
You helped us make a difference in Amanda’s life. Your continued assistance will help other survivors like her, so please send your donation today.
With sincerest gratitude for your support,
Vickie Sterling, Director