Tag Archive | women’s shelter

Goals

goals

It has been close to 30 years since I was first struck by the man who would become my husband. After numerous brutal beatings, three children, non-stop threats of murder if I dare leave, in addition to my own prayers for my life to end so I could be free of the abuse…somehow, I survived.

The depth of my fear, fueled by my hate, gave me a pinpointed focus to raise my children and upon the last turning 18… get the hell out! Well, that time is upon me.

I’ve been counting down the days for way longer than I can remember.  Once they became a realistic number, I thought to myself… this is about to get real.  FAST!  Then before I knew it, the days went from 365 to less than half of that number, to within the same calender year and now… mere weeks.  Now, mental preparation.

There is still so much to get done before I go.  Loose ends to tie up.  People I want to explain my inevitable absence to.  And then there is my family.  I allowed my sister and mother to enter into my secret life and read my blog.  When they had a full understanding of my life thus far they seemed genuinely distressed over what I had been through.  My parents had only known about one episode early on but I did a good enough job hiding the life I endured that they had no idea it continued, most especially not for 25+ years.

Since absorbing that I most definitely do intend to go through with my exit plan, my mother and sister seem (to me) to be more concerned about what they need to do to protect themselves than they are about anything I will be going though.  The words, “how can we help” have yet to be spoken.  As these last days are closing in, these words, or lack thereof, have shaken me.  Although I do have friends that have offered their help, I can’t help but feel very much alone.  I’ve been taken back to a mental state where I need to fend for myself, and fear has kicked in.  Worst of all, every specific I had planned for this exit, I now feel unsure about.  I’m second guessing, feeling anxious and deciding whether or not I need to make changes.

On another note, I work from home.  I guess that being helpful or hurtful is up for debate but the point is, I work.  And I do so for many hours a day.  Yet, like many, many others, I live from check to check.  I have been able to put some money to the side for this event.  However, I did not start doing so until the end date was too close for comfort realizing I was broke.  So yeah, my resolution…save something…anything!  I am very much aware that is not nearly enough.  This has added panic on to every other emotion I’m feeling.

How the hell, where the hell, what the hell…am I going to do?  I do not like borrowing.  I’ve had to in the past and it’s just so uneasy for me.  I know I’m not the only one that feels that way.  Unrelated to financial issues, when asking for help – on any level – I’ve been let down more often than not.  So even being here right now, asking, begging, is surreal.  This is so uncomfortable and I apologize for even attempting to have the audacity to think anyone….everyone… doesn’t have a million other things more important to donate money to than me.

I am not even close to a special case.  There are so many of us.  Abuse victims.  And although I haven’t felt like a “victim” for a long time – due to my abuser’s very painful rheumatoid arthritis (lucky me) – Now, I am just a victim of my own poor financial planning.  I don’t even know where to start in asking people to donate, or what an appropriate amount is to ask for.  All I can think of is that if I can afford to pay rent for at least six months, then maybe I can be less stressed about the initial “hiding” period.  My son will be with me and I am not going to be ready for either one of us to be out and about, at least not for the first month or so.  I need to make sure we are completely safe.

This is going to be the hardest thing I’ve ever pulled off.  If there is just one aspect of it that I don’t have to worry over, I would be beyond appreciative.  Once I am fully free, paying it forward will be in using my voice and being as loud as possible for those of us that are still in hiding.  It has been 30 years since I was abused by someone who claimed to love me, and it is clear that this epidemic is far from over.  It’s not even close to ending with me; there are so many others out there.  Every anonymous account needs a voice.  A new fight I look forward to getting into head on.

For those of you who find it in your heart to donate anything to me… I thank you in advance and will be forever grateful.  If you are unable to donate, please share this on your social media.  XOXO

Click here to read my full story.

Inside The Mind Of A Domestic Violence Victim

As usual, Kendra Lynn does what she does best.  She has an amazing talent and shares beautifully worded insight into the world of a Domestic Violence victim.  This was originally posted on VoElla | Inside The Mind Of A Domestic Violence Victim

First and foremost, let me remind everyone that victims are strong, intelligent people. They were chosen by their abuser because of their strength and intelligence.

The insecure abuser worked every charm to pull in the victim and then methodically and meticulously worked on tearing down that strength and intelligence. They feel threatened by it. Their ability to pull the victim in and then down gives them a sense of power and temporarily sustains the beast. I say “temporarily” because the beast will always need to be fed through violence. Always. It is their disease.

It’s our strength and sensitivity in the beginning days of the charming honeymoon that gets us caught up and sucked in; loving, charming phrases. We miss the subtle oddities. The change in tone of voice. The harsh non-verbal actions. The way the abuser speaks of his past relationships. When we do notice it, we think our strength and faith can somehow fix him. He immediately starts picking away at our self-esteem and then injecting words of praise.


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A tug-of-war purposely designed to confuse. A tyrannical brain washing that destroys our self-worth. We are now in the tornadic storm without any real sense of direction. The building up phase becomes less and less; more infrequent until all that’s left is a complete tear down of a human soul.

Now picture that once bright, vibrant, exciting woman crumbled on the floor – crying. Picture her not being able to look at herself. The tearing down phase happens quicker than people realize and the victim is left wondering if she is in a bad dream. She does everything to make the “bad spells” go away, all because he makes her feel like she isn’t doing her part.

He chastises her like an errant child. Yes. That strong, bright, vibrant, exciting woman is now gone, lost in the nightmare, right where her abuser intended her to be from the very beginning.

Now we’re going to delve deeper in the mind of the victim as she dreams of escape. Her metamorphism into a survivor.

Why Does She Stay?

It’s everyone’s favorite question and I’m going to answer that. You need to know, so open your heart fully and swim a little in the abyss. It’s the only way you’ll understand.

It starts out as a dream; the escape. She fights back. Gets her pounding of pain, either through words or fists, but she fights back. The mush in her back starting to become a steely spine. Why the hell do you think her eyes are puffy and bruised? She dared to look the monster in the face and now that she sees him, she repudiates it emphatically.

All with a cost, that alone will surely stall any chance of escape. He sees she’s still alive in her spirit and his punishments ramp up further with more pound for pound pain. He methodically stalks her every move, counting each rise of her chest. He is fully aware she’s dreaming of her escape.


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Her steps, actions, and words are all now metered. He frantically checks her phone, gives more bruises to her face and soul so she’ll be too embarrassed to run to her friends. He’ll even say something asinine to any friend that calls, making them think she no longer wants their friendship. Complete isolation like caged animal. She’s wounded – feral and wild. Still insanely dreaming she can actually escape. So she sets out to meter her own steps and words and actions. That’s when she’s reborn.

A survivor is born in the hurricane long before they actually leave their abuser; in the eye of the storm. In that false calm, she’s planning methodically her escape. It takes time. She learns to become patient. Her impatience has taught her that he will nearly break her completely. When he snidely says he will kill her before he’ll let anyone else have her, she now knows the brevity of that statement. So she patiently studies his movements as she sits huddled in the corner of her rusty cage.

There’ll be that moment when he’ll be away long enough for her to actually leave. She counts the money she has hidden away in a place she knows he would never think to look because he checks to make sure she’s not stealing his money. The beast is smarter than you think. She knows it’s not enough money. Not nearly enough. It might be enough to buy 3 meals for her and her children, if she’s lucky.

She finds the name and number to the nearest Women’s Shelter for Domestic Violence Victims. She packs one bag, just enough stuff for her to carry. She looks at her children, calming them – telling them they’re going somewhere nice. They’re scared and worried. Mommy is not allowed to leave the house without daddy knowing.

Her children could wreck the whole plan if they panic. They know the consequences when mommy steps out of line and she doesn’t have time to sit them down and explain it all. She rushes them out, they’re going to have to walk there is no car. They need to get far enough ahead of the beast to ensure a semblance of safety. If they walk fast, they can actually make it to the Women’s Shelter before nightfall.

They arrive at the shelter in good time but the woman at the desk explains they have no available rooms. Twelve people total in that shelter. That’s it. The secretary arranges for them to go to another shelter in another county. Her and her children are bathed and fed. They’re allowed to sleep in a makeshift room and will leave in the morning for the new shelter. Her children don’t sleep. They cry through the night. A new trauma that she feels she’s caused. They beg to go back home.


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The mind can be a terrible thing. In the dark abyss in a foreign place, it starts questioning everything. She’s been conditioned to pick herself apart until nothing feels right and all choices she makes will always be wrong and stupid. She feels homeless. Not just her but now her children too. She has no money as she was never allowed to work.

The counselor reassured her right away that she would be given a chance. They would give her and her children clothing and food and a place to rest in safety. At that late hour, though, her mind twists the offer into a meaningless hand-out. Plus, her abuser swore he would kill himself if she left. Is he dead right now? Guilt bears down heavily. She stares at the phone in the hallway.

Three hours in the shelter. She calls her abuser and pleads for him to pick her up. She’s crying. Her children are crying. The shelter can’t keep her if she doesn’t want to stay. They offer her a business card with all of the important phone numbers she would need in another emergency. They tell her she’s so brave. She cries harder

Her abuser appears at the shelter – a face of utter calm. One would think he would actually punish her when they get home, but he doesn’t. He rewards her for coming back. He’s full of compliments and offers to help her better. He’s full of apology. Full of the love she once knew when they first met. He even makes her laugh. A strange feeling.

A week later, when she’s least expecting it, the punishment is doled out. Fisted out ten-fold with her children watching and listening. Her abuser actually explains in between punches to the watching children that “This is what happens when mommy thinks she’s smarter than daddy.” Open wounds on her forehead and cheeks – enough for stitches. She slinks to the back bedroom. An emergency room visit would only raise questions. More punishment she didn’t need at that moment.

She’ll do this 3 or 4 more times; leave and then come right back. Each time she leaves, the danger escalates beyond our ability to fully comprehend. I’m sure you see the travesty. I’m asking you to dig deeper and see what is not so plainly written or seen. Her absolute strength and courage. The first escape was a test run; the caged animal testing her limbs as she runs for the very first time. Now she knows she can do it. Running back was actually part of her survival.

She’ll return home. She was born in the middle of a hurricane and now she’s a wolf quietly howling. She’ll scrounge even more money away. She has the card with all of the emergency numbers she never thought of before in her numb haze. She’ll delicately prepare her children better. She’ll quietly and secretly search for a job.

She’ll retrain her thinking of going to a women’s shelter for domestic violence victims. She’ll no longer see it as the end. Instead, she’ll see it as the open door to the life she now knows she deserves. She’ll disassociate; quiet her racing mind while he’s abusing her. Her eyes are even more focused on the prize of escape.

I’ve done my research. I did not have to go to a women’s shelter when I escaped but I forced myself to step inside one. It’s full of inexplicable emotions. Strength. Fear. Bravery. And a deep love that made me fall to my knees – weeping. Now I volunteer there. The most healing decision I have made, thus far.

The resources for abused women are still limited. It’s no wonder she runs back to her abuser. She’s trying to save her life and sometimes the only way to quiet the raging beast is to run right back into hell. We should never ask “Why did you stay?” That puts all the blame on the victim. We should ask the abuser “Whatever made you think your actions are anywhere near acceptable?”

This story was in no way derived from my own personal experience. My heart simply bleeds for the women who feel they have no other choice but to return to their abuser. My life is now dedicated to not merely asking empty questions. I am determined to find answers.

The first hours of a victim’s escape are the most dangerous. She is literally on the edge of hell and it is our duty to help pull her to full safety. We must embrace her and continually remind her how brave she is. Remind her until that becomes her new silent mantra. “I am brave. I am strong.” We owe her that much at the very least.

By Kendra Lynn | Blog | Twitter |

Minime-Camille-Wylde

31 Facts in 31 Days – Day 29

Before this month is over, I wanted to pinpoint on what to expect when entering a Women’s Shelter, for myself and for other woman who may one day find themselves on that doorstep.

The shelter I had gone to way back when (Third Time is the Charm), was in a big house that had bunk beds in each room for women and children to share. They had given me a quick rundown of what their protocol was, what would be expected of me and how they’d be helping me to get back on my feet. There was a classroom/playroom set up for the children. Upon entering, I had no idea what to expect. I was scared about leaving, scared that I took my daughter, scared he would find me and scared of starting over. It was so overwhelming. Here I was, 21-22 years old, with my 2 year old in tow – in a shelter for battered women. I was so embarrassed. Horrified. So much so, I was not even there for 24 hours.

The information listed below only pertains to this particular shelter.  I assume they’re all similar in nature but I can’t say for sure.  If anyone reading this has spent time at a women’s shelter, please share your experiences below.  Good and bad.  If you’ve already written about it on your blog, feel free to provide a link.  Any information that can be added to this would be great.

What to expect when entering [our] shelter:

Entering into a shelter can be a scary and confusing time in a survivor’s life; it may even be dangerous. Knowing why the shelter is there and what to expect may help reduce the anxiety a victim feels.

While a shelter serves functionally as a temporary, safe place to stay for a victim to work on regaining independence, it also is a place to connect with other survivors of abuse and advocates who can assist in the journey to independence.

There is always an intake meeting for the victim to fill out necessary paperwork and become familiar with the new surroundings. Afterward, the new shelter resident is shown the room which is assigned to her for the duration of the program. There are responsibilities, since shelter is communal living (such as tidying up after oneself and one’s children, observing a nightly curfew, etc.) which will be explained to the victim at this time.

A shelter resident can expect to share these responsibilities with all residents, since everyone lives and works so closely together. The important thing to remember when preparing to enter into shelter is that the shelter is designed for safety and to provide resources and support to enable the victims to become self-sufficient and empowered.

What to take with you when you leave

  • Driver’s License
  • Birth Certificates
  • Social Security Cards
  • Insurance Cards
  • Clinic Cards
  • Money/Credit Cards
  • Bank Card
  • Bank Book
  • Savings Book
  • Checkbook
  • Your Protective Order (carry this with you at all times)
  • Lease Agreement or Deed to House
  • Car Registration
  • Insurance Papers
  • Health/Life Insurance Papers
  • Medical Records
  • School Records
  • Work Permits/Green Card/Visa
  • Passport
  • Divorce Papers
  • House/Car Keys
  • Medications
  • Address Book

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Fact Source: Metropolitan Center for Women & Children

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To read from the beginning… #MyStory starts here.

Third Time is the Charm

If you are reading my blog for the first time, I would like to say thank you.  I am still new to the scene but I appreciate you taking the time to read my story.  This forum is being used for me to unravel my past.  To help figure out … I don’t know … myself?  All of the years of this nonsense have led me here and maybe by sharing my story and learning yours we will all heal just a little and the end of this journey and the start of a new one will unfold before me.

So picking up where I left off….

Now that I knew how my ex felt it was almost soothing.  Even though he was not the type of man to step in and take me out of the situation – nor would I ever want him to put himself in that danger – that was okay with me.  I knew my perpetrator.  I could handle what I was given.  If my ex got involved and my husband attempted to or succeeded in hurting him in any way…I could never live with myself.  And I refused to put him in a situation where I could lose him twice.  So…I continued on with my plan.  To raise my daughter and hold on to hope.  Only now, I had a light at the end of the tunnel.  Something so much better to look forward to.  My soul was at ease.

By now, you may have wondered…why did I stay?  Aside from basically being paralyzed with fear, my concern was my daughter.  If I left, I may have to hide.  If I took his child and fled and hid…he absolutely would have quit his job and hunted me down.  No question.  If I stayed and went through a normal separation, divorce, the good old legal route…I would’ve had to deal with him on a daily, weekly or whenever basis.  If he would’ve had visitation I may even have to hand over my child to stay with him for a weekend.  None of the above was ever a contemplation in my mind.  I would stay.  I would teach her how to survive on her own.  When she turns 18 she can move out and I will disappear.  Maybe, in the interim, he may even change.  At least it would make the time a little more peaceful, right?  Ha.  Yeah…exactly what you’re thinking.  Good luck with that.

In fairness…I did leave.  The one time.  Even though it didn’t last for 24 hours.  But there was a second time.  I think my daughter may have been about 2 1/2 at the time.  (The early years are all a blur to me at this point.)  I guess things peaked and I took my daughter and my father drove me to a women’s shelter about 5 hours away.  It was run out of an old colonial style home.  In the suburbs.  I remember when we got there he was not allowed to help me in.  He was a man after all.  Men were not allowed in the house.  I was taken in and shown around.  There were two bunk beds in each room.  The woman handed me a ziploc with a travel size toothbrush, toothpaste, bar of soap, etc.  The essentials.  She showed me a make shift classroom for the children to learn and play in during the day while the women were to do chores around the house.  As well as group therapy sessions.  They would teach us how to apply for welfare, food stamps, medicaid…whatever was available to us in order for us to get back out there on our own without struggling.  (Until we were back on our feet of course.)  Then there was the kitchen.  She showed me the cupboards and fridge and how to make sure I put my name on everything so that there are no issues with the other women in the house.  It was all very overwhelming.  I was in a strange town with strange people in a strange house and I was not comfortable.  I did not want to stay.  Before the night was over, I called my friend and asked her and her boyfriend to come get me.  They did.  I spent the night at their apartment when we got back.  I called my husband and told him that I rented a hotel room for the night and that I’d be back in the morning.  I needed sleep.

In writing this, I can feel the turmoil from that day.  I wondered then as I wonder now…how the hell did I get myself into this fucked up situation?  Why could I not just walk away and say – it’s over?  I mean when this was going on…I was 21 maybe 22 years old.  I just came back from a BATTERED WOMEN’S SHELTER.  Are you kidding me?  Insanity.  Sheer insanity.  None of this makes any sense.  But…I knew then as I know now…it is pure, 100%, straight up…fear.  Fear is a bitch.  How the hell could I be so afraid that I’d allow myself to get beat and spoken to like I was garbage?  Damn…it’s like they come with a handbook…Abuse for Dummies.  Chapter 1 – How to Control Her.  Sick, twisted, psychotic bullshit.  All of it.  I was tired then….I’m tired now.

So here I am.  Still.  I tried leaving twice.  I was young and naive and unprepared.  Now I am older and wiser.  The fear is still there but it’s like a sand castle and the wind is blowing.  I am preparing.  The third time will definitely be the charm.