Five years ago I was living with my abuser.

Things were tough. He made me feel isolated. I was cut off from my family. He threatened to harm our kids and our pets. I was so scared to leave, but I knew things couldn’t continue. It wasn’t just that I was getting hurt. My kids were starting to feel the impact of his violence as well. My son was developing a similar temper to my abuser—he was barely a teenager and he was having problems at school and getting into fights. My smallest girl was scared all the time. She couldn’t stop crying.

I didn’t know where to go for help.

I called Women of Nations.

They came and picked my kids and me up and brought us to the shelter. The first few days there, I was so scared and shy I didn’t talk to anyone. I was assigned a case manager and I would just sit in her office and cry. But I was going to groups at Women of Nations—a parenting group and a Domestic Violence 101 group—and those groups helped me understand that what happened to me, what happened to my kids wasn’t my fault. I hadn’t done anything to deserve it. In addition to helping me, Women of Nations helped my son. He went to groups to help him manage his anger issues and learn to treat people better.

He’s a grown man today and he treats all people the way they deserve to be treated. I was at Women of Nations for sixty days. During that time I worked as many hours as I could to save for a security deposit on an apartment for my family. When I was ready to move, the housing advocate at Women of Nations helped me find housing I could afford.

My time at Women of Nations meant so much to me. It meant SO MUCH. A year after I left I started volunteering as an advocate and leading the Domestic Violence 101 group to help other women understand what had happened to them wasn’t their fault. A few years after that, an advocate position opened up here and I interviewed. I’ve been an advocate here for about two years now and I LOVE IT.

I love empowering women to leave abusive relationships. I was scared and took a bold step to change for the better. I believe you can too.