Melissa called our hotline on a Saturday morning after being assaulted by her partner the night before. They had been homeless for several months along with 2 children. Both she and her partner were active Meth addicts. Stability was not in the immediate future for this family. I picked her up from a friendís apartment and he was waiting outside to keep her intimidated.
I drove her to the hospital emergency room to access her injuries from the beating he had given her. She shared with me that she was tired of drugs, homelessness and being hurt. She felt shame and regret along with fear of going to jail because she had been arrested that week for trying to falsify a prescription. I assured her we had a place for her and her children in our shelter where she could be safe from violence and heal physically and mentally.
On Monday morning we helped her file a restraining order and accompanied her to court a few days later for the arraignment to answer her charges. Because she was staying at Henderson House she was released without bail. With acceptance, encouragement and a case management plan from Henderson House advocates she was able to begin a program of accountability, safety, recovery and restoration. Her shelter stay allowed us to watch an amazing transformation and now 3 years later she is self sufficient and volunteers her time to help others recover from the barriers that keep them stuck in violence and addiction. We have been able to watch her children grow and the youngest one learned to walk and talk with lots of aunties and grandmas around.
Domestic Violence can be a silent issue that reaches out to other destructive issues in oneís life. Like Melissa, many victims of domestic and/or sexual abuse will self medicate with illegal drugs, misuse of prescriptions, and/or alcohol in order to cope with pain and suffering. In Melissaís case many years of abuse had resulted in loss of relationships, self esteem and respect, employment, support systems and stable housing. At Henderson House she has come to realize all her dreams are attainable and she can be the role model for her children that she wishes to be. All she ever needed was a chance. Her journey has just begun.