My mother was in an abusive relationship with my father since before I was born. They met when she was 18, and even then he had a tight hold on her. When I was a child, my grandparents gained custody of me because of my father’s abusive and controlling behavior. A few years later, my mother gave birth to twin girls, and my father’s desire for control intensified. He worked to isolate my mother and my younger sisters from the rest of my mother’s family. He controlled where they went and who they could see, as well as all of their finances. After he lost his job, the financial abuse got worse. He took my mother’s paychecks so that she had no money for herself, my sisters or even basic necessities.
Growing up, I never knew what a holiday was like with my mom and sisters. My father ultimately got the final say in where they spent holidays and who could be there. My mother would often work on holidays to earn overtime pay, which my father would then take from her. This went on for years, and in my early 20s I decided that I had to help my mother and sisters get away from my father.
I started researching resources for women living with domestic violence. I came across the National Domestic Violence Hotline late one night and saw they were a 24-hour hotline. I gave them a call, and that was where I found my saving grace. I didn’t know who else to turn to, but knowing I could call experts who could help me handle my situation, understand my frustrations and let me vent meant so much to me. I would even say the advocate, who I talked to on a nightly basis, became one of my best friends. She listened to me for hours and truly became a friend, someone I could trust.
After a long struggle, and several calls to The Hotline, my mother and sisters are finally free. To be able to call my mother whenever I want, see her whenever I want and have her and my sisters spend holidays with me is an indescribable feeling!
I now donate to The Hotline’s Giving Campaign every December. I feel it’s my duty and my way of saying thank you for what this organization has done for me and so many others who reach out to them for help. The Hotline truly helps you see the light at the end of the tunnel, even when you feel you are crumbling. I can’t explain the love I have for this organization!
Because of my family’s experiences, I have become incredibly passionate about raising awareness about domestic violence and organizations like The Hotline. It’s so important to understand this issue and what so many people are going through. I hope that with my story, I can reach victims and their friends and families worldwide and let them know that it is NEVER too late to escape a life of abuse and control.