In addition to these fears, Heather had the additional worry of her husband finding her. Her husband was very well known in the community and held a prestigious job. All of their friends and neighbors talked about what a great guy he was.
They didn’t know that Heather’s husband had started hitting her when she was pregnant with their first child. Heather had shared with a few close friends and church members that things were difficult at home with her husband. She was advised that she should work harder on the marriage. She quit talking about it when one friend approached her husband and disclosed what she had been talking about. Her husband decided to teach her a lesson about spreading lies about their family. He made sure the bruises were covered by her clothes.
After the birth of their first child Heather was no longer allowed to work. Heather had a college degree and had worked her whole life, but her husband said it made him look like he couldn’t provide for his family for her to work. Besides she had a job taking car of him and their family.
Heather didn’t want everyone to think that her husband was always this way. There were good times at home. Times when she remembered what it was like when they first started their relationship she didn’t understand that this was the honeymoon stage and that the abuse would always start again.
Heather finally knew she had to leave after the abuse turned to her oldest child. The abuse was also becoming more severe and at times Heather was afraid that he was going to go so far and kill her.
It took Heather 6 months to be able to get out safely. During this time she contacted her local domestic violence agency and developed a safety plan. Heather and the children came up with a code word. Heather kept a bag packed and hid it in a safe place so she could retrieve it quickly. Heather didn’t have access to any of their finances. In fact she was given a weekly allowance, Heather hid away as much of this allowance as she could for when she left. Heather was able to get both her and the children’s identification. She also was able to make copies of some of their financial paperwork.
Heather was terrified on the day she left with her children. Because of the danger she was in Heather was taken to a safe meeting spot to come into our shelter. It was not safe for Heather to go to her local agency.
Heather stayed at our facility for almost 2 months. Promise Place assisted Heather in getting a Temporary Protective Order, which also gave her temporary custody of her children and child support. But most importantly it said her abuser could not come near her. Heather was able to file for divorce. She and her children started counseling programs that they were referred to by Promise Place. Heather and the older children also attended weekly support groups.
Heather was still not ready to be completely on her own after she left our program, so she entered into a 2 year Transitional Housing Program to continue the healing process. This program has given Heather the support and security that she needs to continue to heal with her children. We wish Heather the best.
*names and some information have been changed to protect her identity [