You are saving lives. Take my word for it.
Because of your support of SafePlace, I found that peace and self-worth are attainable. And you gave me the strength to keep living my life.
In fact, today I am a proud mom of two boys. They love sports and being outside, they love reading and learning and they love me. From the outside, our lives look completely normal. You would never know that not very long ago, my life was in danger.
Childhood was never peaceful for me. My parents split up early, and my mom – who became a stripper and a victim of domestic violence – lost custody of me. Even though my dad was a hard worker who held down two jobs to support us, it was a toxic environment.
By the age of six, after becoming a victim of sexual abuse at the hands of my uncle,I begged to live with my mother; eventually my dad let me. I would carry the burden of his brother’s secrets for many years.
Life with my alcoholic mother was unstable for a 13 year old; I became homeless just two years later.
Dropping out of school and struggling to support myself, I met someone and started a relationship, which gave me hope as I tried to make sense of my world.
Violence began with my pregnancy at 16 — not daring to tell my father — I just couldn’t stick up for myself — when my boyfriend asked if we were going to get married, I figured it was the right thing to do.
The abuse got worse. I kept thinking it was supposed to be this way. Maybe if we had another child he would stop?
So we had another child, but the violence didn’t stop. I convinced myself that this was just making sacrifices for the sake of my family. The sacrifice I received was nothing like I planned.
On a normal August day in 2009 I got into the shower, leaving my 10-week-old daughter alone with my husband. I was “allowed” to have ten minutes to take a shower. By the time I got out of that shower, my daughter was dying.
My husband told me she had fallen asleep and wouldn’t wake up. Rushing her to the emergency room, she was pronounced dead a few minutes after arriving. The autopsy report told me everything that we needed to know: she was beaten to death.
The emptiness and grief that I felt – and still feel each day – tore at my heart. I don’t know how I got through even one day, let alone the weeks and months that followed.
My husband was arrested and eventually sentenced to 20 years in prison for killing my little girl.
The day I came to SafePlace was the day you saved my life. I walked into a room full of women and I was sure they would meet me with judgment and accusation based on my past, but was instead greeted with love, compassion and understanding. Those ladies surrounded me and lifted me up. They constantly reminded me I was worth so much more than the abuse that had consumed my life.
Thanks to you, I am no longer living in the past. I graduated as the president of the ACC Honors Program with my degree in Medical Laboratory Science and married an amazing, caring, loving man and father.
Generous support from people like you made my healing possible. Your gift to SafePlace saves the lives of real people every day in our community. I can’t thank you enough.