My name is Sheila; I am a woman with 3 children. My first encounter with domestic violence was shortly after I got married. After my divorce I again found myself in a domestic violence situation with my baby’s father.
When we first starting dating I thought that he was charming and everything I could want in a man, but shortly after I had my baby the violence started. It started with pulling of the hair, slapping in the face, and then choking. I didn’t tell anyone because I was ashamed. I was ashamed that I had just ended one domestic violence relationship and ended up back in another one.
No one ever told me that it’s okay to speak up and speak out about it and kill the silence. Also, little did I know that during all of this I was harming my children.
I came to Family Rescue when my little baby was 4 months old. When I got there, in my heart I was ready to become a survivor, but mentally I was broken and I was on the road to destruction. I gave the staff such a hard time because I had lost my way. In a domestic violence relationship you lose your identity, you lose yourself, you lose everything about you. It was such a struggle for me to pick myself up off the ground.
I’ve’ had many highs and many lows. I also found that in being a survivor, sometimes the survivor can become the abuser. I took a lot of my anger out on my children and I did not know the harm that I was doing and it was mostly to my oldest beautiful son. I was reaching out for help but refusing the help and the same time. So once I put together in my head that this cycle has to end, once I started seeing the detriment to my children, I finally got it in my head that I was no longer going to be a victim but a survivor and get past this. I started seeking counseling and meeting with my advocate every chance I got. When I wasn’t able to speak to my advocate I would go to the Children’s Program with my issues and they would help.
I want to thank Ms. James, Ms. Diane, Ms. LaQuila, the whole Family Rescue staff, because Lord knows that they have been working with me the past year and a half.
You are looking at a survivor that is 31% complete of her degree. You are looking at a woman that is goal oriented. A woman that knows where she is going and that nothing is going to stop her. You are looking at a woman that sees a man and can now recognize the red flags and say “good-bye” baby.
So if you know of somebody that is in a domestic violence situation, please for me, get them help. I don’t care how many times they reject your hand. That last time may be the time when they accept it. Because for me it took years of people reaching out their hands and I rejected it. The final time, when I finally took that hand, I have been holding on to it ever since.
The woman that I was when I came in…I am not that same woman any more. I am a woman with possibilities. I am a woman with a future. I am a woman with children that have a future. I am anything that I want to be and not because somebody told me but because I believe in myself.