Yesterday marked the beginning of Domestic Violence Awareness Month. But at Calvary, domestic violence is an issue that affects our programs year-round.
Nearly all of the women who come to Calvary have histories of violence and at some point during their lives. Here’s the story of one woman who overcame the trauma of domestic violence with Calvary’s support:
Justine was in her late thirties and had a long history of chronic medical ailments. For most of her life she has been unable to work and support herself. She and her husband were living with her in-laws while trying to figure out how to make ends meet. It was not an ideal situation, and there was much conflict in the house. One day the conflict escalated out of control, and Justine’s in-laws and husband became violent—beating her and putting her out of the house.
With no other support system, Justine moved into an abandoned building. She had no idea where to access services and achieve the stability to sort out her life. She began to lose all hope and feared she would die on the streets. Fortunately, someone brought her to Calvary Women’s Services. At Calvary Justine found a safe, clean place to live. She spent her first few nights sleeping hard and enjoying hearty dinners prepared by Calvary’s chef and volunteers. As she regained her strength, she prepared for the hard work of building a new life for herself.
Justine’s case manager at Calvary helped her get the services she needed. First, she was connected to medical services, to address her ongoing health problems. She got a referral for legal services to try to gain financial support. She began participating in Calvary’s Life Skills classes, where she learned more about women’s health and how to care for herself. She also began to build self-esteem and regain a sense of hope.
Justine moved from Calvary into a supportive housing program, where she can continue to receive support for her chronic health problems and emotional care as she learns to adapt to a new life—on her own and without the threat of violence.