"Looking back, all the signs were there," recalls Kathleen, a Philadelphia mother of two.
“Tracking me down when I was at work; telling me I was a bad wife and mother for having a career; following me to the supermarket or doctor’s office,” she explained.
What started as a barrage of insults soon intensified into pressure to quit her job and move away from her family.
Finally, one day Kathleen’s husband attacked her brutally, leaving her with a severe concussion.
“The next thing I knew, I woke up at the hospital, actually asking for my husband because I did not remember a thing,” she said.
Kathleen first arrived at the safe haven in July 2010 after recovering from the violent attack that landed her in the hospital. She had made the difficult choice to relocate with her two children after her husband – who was serving time in prison for the attack – froze their bank accounts and drained their retirement funds.
Without resources of her own, Kathleen had to rebuild her life, find a new school for her children, regain control of her finances, and find a permanent home she could afford. Women Against Abuse case managers helped her draw a plan to get there. And on-site therapists partnered with Kathleen to begin the process of sorting through the horrific trauma she had experienced.
With the backing of Women Against Abuse’s Safe at Home program, Kathleen received relocation assistance to transition into a home of her own, as well as community-based case management to establish skills and resources for long-term safety from her abuser. She reflects, “My case managers were my rock while I was there.”
Kathleen also accessed the Women Against Abuse Legal Center to help her seek advice and referrals for child support and divorce from her partner.
Today, Kathleen looks back, recognizing the tremendous strides she has made as a survivor of domestic violence. Despite the pain she still suffers from her physical injuries and the ongoing struggle to feel safe after intimate partner abuse, Kathleen has become a passionate advocate in the movement to end domestic violence.
*We have changed Kathleen's name to protect her confidentiality and ensure her safety.
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