When I first came to the YWCA shelter it was in the middle of the night; I asked lots of questions and one of the advocates talked to me about getting a protection order. I told her I was afraid to get one because my husband said he would take my kids away from me if I ever called the police or went to court. The YWCA advocate helped me do a Safety Plan and she gave me a 911 cell phone. I was supposed to go back and see her again but the day of my appointment I called to tell her that my husband didn’t go to work that day and I was not allowed to leave the house. The advocate reminded me of my Safety Plan and that I had the 911 cell phone… little did I know how much I would need those two things….this is what happened:
When my husband came home from work that day I could see it coming; I got his dinner and rounded up my 3 children (12, 9 and 5) and took them to their room. I heard a loud crash and knew that this night was going to be a long one. My husband slammed into the room, grabbed me by the hair and pulled me into the living room. I yelled to my kids: “ROOT BEER!” My 12-year-old son knew what mom was saying, so he gathered his 2 little sisters and the 911 cell phone and went out the back door and down the road to the neighbor’s house. But they were not home! So they got on the back porch and called 911 with the cell phone I had hidden in their room. It seamed like hours before the police got there. When the police arrived they arrested my husband on 2nd degree assault with a weapon. The police called an ambulance for me, got the children and took them all to the hospital. I had a broken nose and a cut on my neck that needed 15 stitches. I also had small cuts and bruises all over my body – my husband had used a knife that night. That was the first time he had used a weapon. I asked the hospital to call the YWCA to see if she could come to the domestic violence shelter. The advocate on duty went to the hospital and picked up me and my children.
What my husband did not realize was that I had been working with the YWCA advocates and had a Safety Plan and a 911 cell phone and knew just what I needed to do. I had gone over the Safety Plan with the children so they would know what to do if something should happen.
This time, while I was in the shelter, YWCA advocates helped me with a protection order. My house belonged to my husband’s parents and because it was my fault he was in trouble I needed to move out. But I didn’t care – I felt like something had been removed from my shoulders. The YWCA Housing Advocate started working on housing for me and my children. I applied for state funds until I found a job.
Two years have gone by since all this happened; I am still employed, am now divorced and have a home that my children and I can call our own. I still attend YWCA support groups. If I had not walked into the YWCA that day and got a safety plan and the 911 cell phone, my children or I could be dead today – I would not have known what to do! Getting the children out of the house that horrible day was the best thing I could have done. I thank you, the YWCA, every day.