When Becky met her husband Ron, she felt like a princess who found her prince.
He was sweet. Attentive. Supportive. They bought a house and had two children: a son and a daughter. They looked like the perfect family.
But things took a dark turn.
It started with the insults and accusations. Ron did not like when she spent time with her friends. He criticized what she wore, accusing her of dressing to attract another man. He called her stupid, fat and ugly. With every verbal insult came a damaging blow to her self-esteem.
Then the mental blows became physical.
“It started with a shove,” Becky explained. “It was over something small…I think I had forgotten to buy milk. It always started over something small. The shoving turned to slapping and then it escalated after that. I became good at covering the bruises.”
LIVING IN FEAR
Becky tried her best to stay out of Ron’s way. She desperately wanted to keep her family together, but she also feared for her life.
“No one knew what was going on behind closed doors,” Becky said. “I wanted to leave, but he was the sole provider for our family. I wanted my kids to have their father. My world became smaller and smaller. I never knew what was going to set him off. I was living in constant fear.”
Becky wanted to take the children and leave him, but she was fearful he would find them and the repercussions would be dire. The situation wasn’t black and white. When he lashed out in anger, he would then apologize profusely and tell her how much he loved her and the kids.
One night around 2 a.m., Ron began shouting at Becky. His anger quickly went from verbal to shoving to more physical.
“He was in a full-blown rage,” Becky said. “Our windows were open, and the neighbors heard us shouting. They called the police. I was terrified. The officer who came to the house gave me a card for Shelterhouse. I learned it was an organization to help those who faced domestic and sexual violence. The next day, a crisis advocate from Shelterhouse called me and helped me to sort out feelings and questions about what came next. They were the first to ask, ‘What do you need?’”
Ron was arrested. Though he was behind bars, Becky still felt fearful because his family kept contacting her.
“After that first phone call when my husband was arrested that night, Shelterhouse stayed in contact with me and helped me with the journey through the court system,” Becky said. “But my husband’s family kept calling me. I was scared. I called Shelterhouse. The shelter advocates helped me and my kids come into shelter safely.”
Becky said the first night at Shelterhouse allowed her to feel some sense of peace: something she hadn’t felt in a long time. “When my kids and I arrived, it was the first time in years we felt safe and slept through the night,” she said.
Shelterhouse also helped Becky get connected with community resources to help support her family.
“The advocates at Shelterhouse worked with us, helping my children get counseling and getting my son one-on-one tutoring at The Legacy Center,” she said. “They also connected us with Hidden Harvest so we were able to get food and grocery shop with dignity.”
Becky said Shelterhouse helped give her and her kids the support they needed to start a new chapter…most importantly, a safe chapter.
“I didn’t have to go through this alone,” Becky said. “Shelterhouse helped me feel empowered, which meant so much after feeling powerless for so long. We didn’t just receive a night of safety. We were able to experience all this community has to offer. It gave us a second chance to rebuild a safe, happy life.”
WE ARE STRONGER TOGETHER.