Janine's Story: Safe Valentine's Day
In an abusive relationship, it is not always love that keeps victims from leaving their abusers. Fear – fear of what abusers might do to victims if they try to leave – can make victims feel they have little choice but to stay and suffer.
Janine, however, felt she had little choice but to try to escape her abusive husband.
By the time Janine called Safe Horizon’s hotlines, she had attempted several times to escape the regular physical and sexual assaults he inflicted on her. In spite of her attempts, her husband somehow managed to find her and drag her back home, where he would continue his attacks.
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Sadly, one in four women will be like Janine. Instead of experiencing love, they will experience domestic violence. Like Janine, these women face physical and verbal abuse, rape, and the possibility of being killed by someone they believe should love them.
Janine had the chance to call us after another of her husband’s brutal attacks. She told us about the attack and how much she wanted to escape and to find safety. Janine felt depressed, desperate, and hopeless. Safe Horizon seemed to be her last chance to find the help she so urgently needed.
Janine’s last hope turned out to be her first step toward freedom.
Our hotlines team listened as Janine told us about the violence in her marriage and about her fears and feelings. Janine needed to talk about her experience, and we were glad to give her that chance. Yet we would be able to give Janine something more: We could give Janine her chance to escape the abuse that overwhelmed her life.
Janine needed to find a safe place for both herself and her two children away from her husband. Within three days, we found a shelter that would accept her and that could provide transportation so she and her daughters could leave quickly. At the same time we searched for a safe haven for Janine, we provided her with information about how she could receive financial help as a victim of crime, and about counseling to help her deal with the trauma that rape had caused.
Janine had finally found safety, but she needed help to cover her own basic needs and those of her young children. We helped Janine find a way to get diapers and clothing from one of our partners, while we continued to counsel her.
What Janine received from us – safety for herself and her children and escape from abuse – is possible because of our supporters, who have the care and compassion to make a difference for someone in crisis. Thank you for giving families hope this Valentine’s Day.
* Client names and identifying information have been changed to protect their privacy. Images used are representations of Safe Horizon’s clients.