Nothing resonates for the agency as much as knowing SafePlace has created the change survivors of sexual and domestic violence need to be safe, to heal and to begin new lives. The impact SafePlace services, programs, staff, volunteers and supporters have on the individuals and community we serve are best captured by the stories of courage from survivors themselves.Read these stories and know that hope exists for all survivors to find a place of peace.
Mandy is thankful for the SafePlace Child Development Center…
At only four years old, Justin had witnessed abuse from the time he was born--witnessed his mother, Mandy, crying, with bloody noses and bruises, and police showing up in the middle of the night. Mandy finally found the courage to come to SafePlace.
When Justin started at the Child Development Center, he was so fearful he could have little interaction with other children or staff without becoming physical. The staff supported him, patiently helping him through the trauma he had experienced. Slowly, he began to trust and have positive interactions for the first time in his young life.
After a couple of months, he was able to play or take a nap without screaming or hitting. He made friends and played on the playground without constantly asking for or looking for the safety of his mother.
Mandy found a job and soon saved enough money to move across state. Justin is now in kindergarten, in a secure building, behind locked gates. Although they are far from their abuser, she still lives in hiding, fearful he will find her.
Knowing Justin is safe and doing well each day makes it easier for Mandy to concentrate on her own healing and education.
Maria is thankful for SafePlace Legal Advocates…
After two years of abuse and threats, her boyfriend, Mike, bought himself a pistol for Christmas. Maria was more terrified than she had ever been. She knew she had to escape.
She had no idea how she ended up with an abusive boyfriend; she was independent, had a good job and was a wonderful mother. But, he treated her like a queen and within months of dating he moved in. It wasn’t long before he started managing her money and having jealous rages. She began isolating herself, humiliated when he called her names in front of her friends.
The first time he was violent, he threw her cell phone at her. Maria was embarrassed of the bruise on her forehead and called in sick to work. The control and abuse became more violent, but even worse, he threatened to kill her and her children if she tried to leave.
A few weeks later he hit her in front of her five-year-old son. The next day she went to court. She had not told anyone about the abuse and found emotional support and information from the SafePlace volunteer who helped her with all of her paperwork.
Within a few days a Constable escorted Mike from her home and she changed all the locks and installed a security system. When she saw him in her office parking lot the next day, she immediately called the police and he was arrested. Luckily, she has not seen him since and she and her children are free.
Jean is thankful to have a home of her own...
Jean chose homelessness over living with her abusive husband. He beat her almost daily for 15 years and ran over her on South First Street, breaking her legs. Eventually, she left the big nice home to live in a chair in a pasture with nothing but a suitcase full of clothes and an old farm truck. More than anything she wanted a home of her own.
She spent months nearly starving before she was able to find a job. With hard work, she began saving, but more hardships would come. She didn’t make enough money to live on and then, her truck broke down. She needed help supporting herself and called SafePlace.
A SafePlace Resource Advocate helped her set goals and make plans to accomplish them. She put her in touch with community groups and other resources she needed to get back on her feet including a small loan for a down payment on a travel trailer. Eventually, after paying off that loan she was able to secure a loan for a small
Today she lives in the small house with her daughter and granddaughter who also escaped abuse. Although she works full time, her little family struggles financially but they are free from abuse. Jean is happier now in her two-bedroom farmhouse with her family and horses than she ever was in the big, nice ranch house she escaped.
Linda is thankful someone gave her a SafePlace brochure
She had never been hit, slapped or “beaten” by her husband, but she and her children lived under his control and emotional abuse for years. He terrorized them daily by yelling, screaming and threatening them. He would fly into rages at the slightest provocation, beating her children with a belt to make them mind or punish them. He kicked in walls and threw things, screamed at neighbors, family and friends.
n many occasions he would become angry at her or the children and would take them out for a drive, terrifying them all by speeding and driving recklessly while Linda begged him to stop.
Eventually, out of desperation to escape, Linda’s oldest child attempted suicide. At the hospital, Linda’s stories of terror began to pour out to a social worker who was trying to help her find support for her son. She saw the look of shock in her eyes of the social worker who then explained to Linda they were being abused and gave her a SafePlace brochure about Domestic Violence.
Linda kept the brochure crumpled in her purse for a year before she found the courage to leave. She believes she and her children were saved by the goodness of a stranger who recognized the signs of abuse.