T knew she was in an unhealthy relationship, but she didn’t know what to do about it. She couldn’t afford a place on her own and she didn’t have family in town, and anyway, she had a son to think about. “With all the other stress in my life, it was easier to stay in the relationship,” says T. “It didn’t seem like something I needed to figure out. A lot of people are in unhealthy relationships.” T was attending Hope @ Work classes when another Hope client invited her to the Rise Above Abuse class. On a whim, T went.

“My boyfriend never hits me, but if the argument gets really intense, he’ll occassionlly choke me. I never thought it was ok or right, but I didn’t define it as abuse. The Rise Above Abuse class helped me see things differently. I grew up watching my dad hit his girlfriends. Seeing that hurt me and I happened to think that if my son ever saw me being mistreated, he would have to go through the hurt and confusion I went through.”

T began meeting with a mentor to help her sort through her options. “I still have some big decisions to make, but I’m glad I can make them with educated information and helpful advice. I have a safety plan and I’m continuing to work on myself. I feel healthy and I’m experiencing peace I’ve never had before.”

April is Stress Awareness month, a topic that’s important to everyone, but particularly important at Hope. Most of our women have experienced long-term poverty, crisis, abuse, and often, great loss. These adversities compound and create chronic stress. We know healing and positive change are possible, but we also know it takes time, consistency, and unlimited compassion. These are the things we offer at Hope. Thanks for helping make it all possible.