The subjects we deal with – domestic violence and sexual assault – are anything but pleasant. They are violence at its worst. Mostly it is experiencing violence in the hands of someone you thought you could trust…someone you thought loved you. At SAAFE HOUSE our goal is to see a “victim” transform into a SURVIVOR, in a much better place in life. The healing process is different for everyone, but witnessing healing is the greatest reward of our advocates.
We share a few of the actual testimonies of our clients always, of course, keeping the identity of the victim and their families confidential.
A 13 year old female knew a nice middle aged married man from church. What she did not know was that he was an ex-con. He groomed her over time, eventually got her to trust him, to become his girlfriend, then sexually assaulted her several times. Her parents found out and she confessed (though he had threatened harm if she told). A SANE (sexual assault nursing exam) & forensic interviews were done, at which SAAFE HOUSE was called in for accompaniment & advocacy. The perpetrator was arrested & jailed. Our advocates met with the victim and her parents to offer support, professional counseling, and legal advocacy. Over the past couple of years, this family went from turmoil and chaos to a state of peace, healing, and security. The teen struggled in her relationship with her parents as well as boyfriends, and also emotionally and academically. The case finally went to trial where the perpetrator was convicted on several counts and will never again walk as a free man. The teen’s counselor was there to support her throughout the lengthy trial, where the teen was bravely able to tell her story and attain justice. The survivor now feels safe and empowered, is successful academically, and is able to sustain healthy relationships.
A 34 year old female had been married for over ten years. Throughout that time she was subjected to severe mental and emotional abuse, but stayed in the relationship. One day her abusive husband passed away very suddenly. She was left to pick up the pieces. Although their marriage was very abusive there were also good times in the relationship as well. The client was left to deal with the feelings of anger, guilt, and sorrow of the abuse that took place before his death and also to cope with grieving her loss and being alone. She lost the good and the bad all at once. That’s when she came to SAAFE HOUSE. With support and one-on-one counseling she has begun allowing herself to work through the stages of grief. Although there is much more healing to take place, she made progress by accepting his death was not her fault. She continues weekly appointments and comes ready to open up, to heal and to find balance in her life. She is on her way…and keeps herself busy. She is even exploring hobbies that help her to feel good about herself.
It has been almost a year for this client. She is a female who, over the course of this year, went from living with an abusive partner to one of happy independence. She admits now that she doesn’t feel she “needs” him anymore. She had a child with him, but left him, attained her GED, and got a job and now supports herself and her two children in their new home. She has been promoted to a manager in her job, an achievement she once thought wasn’t possible. Every once in a while she does need a little extra help, so that is when our pantry and resale shop come in handy. As a client we provide food and clothing for her and her kids. She told me two weeks ago that if she had not come to SAAFE House she would probably still be living with him and continuing to suffer from the abuse. She is very grateful for what we have done for her and others in her situation. We are grateful her life has changed for the better.