I first connected with Empowerhouse when I met an advocate in the courthouse. I had never been to court before, but after my husband assaulted me and tried to choke me, I found myself walking the long path to the courthouse by myself, fearful of all that the next several hours would hold. To my surprise, an advocate was waiting for me and called my name within a few minutes of sitting in the waiting area. She told me about Empowerhouse services, particularly the women’s and children’s groups.
I had 2 children, ages 6 and 10 at the time. Mandy was my 10 year old daughter who had seen the last incident where I thought he might kill me. I was looking for any kind of support for me and her, in particular, so I decided to try Empowerhouse’s support groups.
The kids and I were both nervous the first night we arrived at group, unsure of what the evening would hold. The kids tried to get me to turn around at the last moment, but I knew we needed to at least try it for their sake. It was so important for me that they begin to have options as far as talking about the experiences and learning about healthier relationships. ”I wanted my kids to be able to talk with others about things they are thinking about. I wanted them to meet others their age and know that they are not alone and that others can help.”
As we drove home that first night, the kids wouldn’t stop chattering about what a great time they had had. There were crafts, games, and food! And the first time Mandy said with amazement, “Someone else has been through what we went through with dad,” I knew that groups were something we needed to continue doing.
I attended several different groups. Right off the bat, it helped me to address my biggest concern – how to start to help my kids cope with the experiences we had all shared.
After a year of attending groups, I can honestly say that Empowerhouse groups have been the answer to helping my kids and I rebuild our lives. I went to counseling for a while, but it wasn’t until my kids and I started attending groups that our lives began to change.
My daughter just started attending the teen girls’ group, and her comments this last week continue to reaffirm this. She said, “Mom – these girls really get it, and since we’ve been out for a while, I think I can help them, too.”
If you know someone who needs help, remember: it is all about the first step. You are not alone. There is help and support available by calling the Empowerhouse 24/7 Hotline number: 540-373-9373.
Help a Mother like Mandy overcome domestic violence and get back on her feet by making a donation today.