Survivor Stories: Karen

domestic violence survivor holds her son

Karen* is a domestic violence survivor. She was a teenage mom who has suffered a long history of family abuse in her life. There wasn’t a lot of love in Karen’s life growing up, and her poor health left her body fragile. She is 30 years old and has three kids, one of whom is a teenager.

Between her history of trauma and some major financial hardships, Karen was diagnosed with PTSD. This combined with her poor health, make Karen very vulnerable to abuse.

Karen’s teenage son has gotten into a lot of trouble both in school and with the police. He has a history of violent crimes, assaults, and possessing weapons. Unfortunately, his violence doesn’t stop on the street.

He has sexually assaulted his younger brothers causing severe mental health issues for them. He raped his mother on multiple occasions while she was confined to a wheelchair and was sentenced for those crimes. Karen’s son continues to threaten her,  sending her explicit, aggressive texts warning her of what will happen when he get his hands on her.

Karen’s younger boys were taken from her care to get the stability and safety they need, while no one knows the location of the oldest, most violent son.

Karen still receives threats from him, so we were called to make sure her home is as safe as possible.

A new beginning

Like any domestic violence survivor, Karen needs help beyond security, so we have recommended she receive trauma counseling to help with her PTSD.

We gave Karen new locks and security screen doors. We installed cameras and lights in the back and front of her house. She now has a Commsync Alert device so she can call for help with a touch of a button.

Karen’s son has since been arrested and taken into custody. All members of this family are now getting the care and professional help they need to lead a safer and hopefully happier life.

If you would like some more information, please contact us.

 

*Names and details have been changed to protect the identity of the survivor.

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Survivor Stories: Dana

Dana* is a soft spoken, kind, Ethiopian woman who fell in love with a man with aspirations to study in Australia. She describes him as charming and thoughtful when they met. He was reliable and funny, and she was in love. Her family approved and encouraged their relationship. They were married, and soon later he moved to Australia.

She agreed to ;eave her family to follow her new husband to a foreign country where she knew no one. Dana says there were warning signs early in their relationship – strong opinions on what she wore, which friends she saw, and a fondness for whiskey. But he never hurt her. He was the man she fell in love with more often than not.

Almost immediately things started to change. Gone was the funny, reliable man she married and instead she was met with his moodiness, coldness, and control. He prohibited her from leaving the house and threatened her life when she argued with his rules. He held her at knifepoint and raped her at will.

Once pregnant, the abuse escalated. Dana was desperate to leave, but leaving her husband meant being sent back to Ethiopia. Her family did not support divorce and had very traditional views on a woman’s place in her marriage. They shamed her for considering leaving her husband under any circumstance, so Dana felt she had no choice but to endure her husband’s abuse.

Dana had a beautiful baby boy who brought love and joy into her life. Her husband recognized this and used it against her. He extended his violent temper to their son, holding them both at knifepoint to control Dana. He raped her in front of their son whenever it suited him – often heavily intoxicated.

Obsessively checking her cell phone, accusing her of having an affair (even though she never left the house), and restricting access to money were all common place in Dana’s life. She and her son would go days or even a week without a stocked fridge or any money.

African woman crying - stock photo

“I thought I would never escape; I thought I wouldn’t survive. How could I raise a happy child with such a violent man?” – Dana

 

Finally Dana got the help she needed and was connected to us through her son’s school. We met her at her house for a risk assessment. By this time she had a restraining order against her husband, but he would show up drunk threatening her son and abusing Dana.

We checked her doors and windows, installed cameras, and began the legal process to help Dana divorce her husband but still be able to stay in the country. She had no where to go since both her own family as well as his bad in Ethiopia would greet her with anger and most likely more abuse for leaving her husband.

Dana’s story is one of our favorite survivor stories, because she not only had an abusive husband and a newborn son in her life, she had the added challenge of her legal status in Australia. But her story has a happy ending. After months of legal proceedings, she was granted permanent resident status. This meant she was able to leave her husband and stay in Australia with her son under the protection and support of local resources and, of course, us.

She and her son now live safely in a quiet suburb. Her husband is out of her life. Her son is in school, happy and thriving. She has started studying and is working to support herself and her son.

Dana is a true survivor of domestic violence.

If you or someone you know experience similar treatment from a relative, please contact 1-800-RESPECT (737-732) or to explore our services, click here.

*Names and details have been changed to protect the survivor’s identity.

 

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