Finding a Place to Belong
There are many ways to help a woman in poverty. Food, clothing, referrals to other organizations, or numbers to shelters may address her physical needs. There are multiple ways to help a woman in crisis, too. Support groups, crisis counseling, mentoring, or job training may be the mental or emotional support that helps her get back on her feet. A struggling mom may experience relief from parenting classes. A lonely widow or new divorcee may enjoy the company of other women crafting or gardening with her. And a woman rebuilding her life after an abusive relationship may find that education about abuse cycles is just as revelatory as being understood by others who can say, “I’ve been there, too.”
Women of various backgrounds, with unique needs and different stories, find what they need at Hope. In addition, they find love and a place to belong. Some women, especially those who have suffered at the hands of an intimate partner, find strength and a voice they didn’t know they had.
G came to Hope several months after moving out of her house. She never referred to the situation at home as ‘domestic violence’, but she did share that it was a relationship in which she was insulted, physically harmed, and forced to do things she didn’t want to do. G put up with a lot of mistreatment during her marriage, but when her husband called the cops on her ‘to teach her a lesson’, she decided to stay with a relative to sort things out. Her husband kept asking her to come back home, but G held strong and kept her distance.
As the court date loomed, G expressed her panic. Many years of abuse, as a child and an adult, had taught her not to speak up or expect help. Who would believe her anyway? Hope and a partner organization connected G to legal services. After a free consult, G had a better understanding of her rights, what she could say in her defense, and best steps during her seperation. She surprised herself when she asked the legal aid about filing for divorce. “I’ve thought about it many times, but I never thought I had the courage to leave. My husband has always threatened that if I filed for divorce, he’d make sure I got nothing. I didn’t know there were legal measures to protect me from that.” For the first time in many years, G felt hopeful and empowered.
G’s had a long journey. She’s filed for divorce, and during her first legal proceeding, she opened up and bravely told the judge everything that was going on in her home. “Never in a million years did I think I’d find the strength to do that,” says G. “In front of strangers, too! I felt no shame because I knew my sisters and mentor at Hope were praying for me.” While she waits for closure, G is taking abuse prevention classes and job training at Hope. Occasionally, she shares pieces of her story. “For so long, I thought I had a hopeless story. It’s a hope story now.”
Yes, it is. That’s why we do what we do at Hope. Thanks for being a part of it.