These stories are powerful reminders of why HAVEN exists. Every year, we provide the resources for hundreds of people in our community to end the cycle of abuse and rise from the ashes. We provide crisis intervention, accompaniment to law enforcement and court support and a 10,000 sq ft shelter with state-of-the-art security features to help victims find peace and heal from trauma. HAVEN also provides peer support and coaching for those in recovery.
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I suffered 17 years of violence of all forms. My children were also victims of physical and mental abuse. Because of his kickings and beatings, I lost a kidney, had broken ribs and have a permanently damaged spine. Same for hips and knees. I thought this violence-filled way was my life…and my children’s. My confidence, self-esteem, and personality got beaten out of me. There was no light at the end of the tunnel. Or, so I thought. My children witnessed my numerous beatings because their father made them watch. Then one day he went too far: beat my seven year old son with a sword. My son was black and blue all over. He couldn’t walk because the tendon behind his knee was cut. Then I told myself that was it -somewhere in the depths of my soul I found the strength to leave him, taking my children with me, wearing only the clothes on our backs.
I ended up at HAVEN that day. They gave us food, clothing and a safe place to stay.
There were even school supplies for my kids. Someone went with us to the hospital to get help for my son’s leg and then went with me to the police station to help me file a protective order to keep that man away from us. It has taken ten long years to finally see the light around us and regain all I had lost. But my children still suffer, and their recovery will be ongoing. A therapist at HAVEN helped my children start to heal. Now they are beginning to cope with what happened. Cope, yes. But they still feel pain and anger due to what they’ve been through. At the same time, they know they are safe and no one is around to hurt them.
I survived. I don’t want you to think it was easy. Just like most victims, I thought I was stuck in powerlessness and hopelessness. That’s what he wanted me to think. He lied.
I am a survivor with HAVEN’s help. The world is brighter and happier place for me and my children. So take heart. There is a way out. You can leave the violence and abuse. Take your time. Figure out what you need to do. You can live a happier life.
I know when it began, only I still don’t know why. I can still remember the first time like it was yesterday. I can still see his face – see the rage and hatred etched on it. It happened so fast, I never saw it coming.
I learned a lot from that point on. I learned to notice the signs, to always be on the lookout for them. I learned to do as I was told. I learned to walk on egg shells -an art that must be mastered. Only, I never could quite master it, at least not well enough for his standard, anyway.