Peggy's Story: Getting Back Freedom (Domestic Violence)
Love can mean many things, but it shouldn’t mean enduring emotional, physical, verbal, or sexual abuse. Yet for one out of four women, intimate partner violence and abuse is a reality they suffer.
Peggy* was the one in four who becomes a victim of domestic violence because of her partner. She suffered for eight years before she finally felt she had to escape. She took her children and left not only her home, but relocated out of state just to get away from her abuser.
Peggy came to Safe Horizon when she found herself once again fearing for her safety. She described what happened – how she’d found a new place to live and a new job. The job didn’t pay well enough to help her make ends meet, however. Then her abuser managed to find her and began contacting her again. Peggy made a difficult choice, one that many women in her situation find themselves forced to do: She agreed to let her ex-partner stay with her so he could help support their family.
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Sadly, Peggy learned that her abuser’s behavior hadn’t changed. In fact, things seemed only to get worse. Dealing with her partner’s abusive behavior cost her the new job and made her even more financially dependent on him. Then her abuser attacked her by burning her. Peggy fled again with her children – with no money, and few things other than what she and her children could carry. Abuse had cost her a new home, a new job, and the new life she’d desperately wanted.
Peggy’s parents gave her and her children a place to stay. Still, there were more things that Peggy wanted. She wanted her independence back, and she wanted the chance to regain and rebuild a healthier, safer life for herself and her children. As she searched for help, one of the places she turned to referred her to Safe Horizon, to help her deal with the domestic violence that had once again disrupted her life. She arrived at our Community Program offices shortly afterward.
At Safe Horizon’s Community Program offices, victims of domestic violence can find the kind of support they urgently need. They can find emotional support through our counseling and mental health referrals, or practical support through our partnerships that help provide legal, medical, or financial assistance. Peggy was able to receive counseling, and with guidance decided that she wanted to find another apartment where she and her children would be safe. Thanks to our supporters, we could provide Peggy with emergency financial help that covered the payment she needed to move to a new apartment. And, thanks to our supporters, Peggy was able to join a group for domestic violence survivors offered at our Community Program office, where she met others who understood what she was going through.
Today, Peggy and her children have their own place, and Peggy hasn’t contacted her abuser since she escaped. Thanks to our supporters, Peggy found Safe Horizon, and found the people who helped her get the strength and the tools she needed to regain her freedom from violence and a chance for a safer, brighter future with her daughters.