BENEFITING: FRIENDS OF ABUSED FAMILIES INC
ORGANIZER: FRIENDS OF ABUSED FAMILIES INC
EVENT: The NO MORE Challenge
FRIENDS OF ABUSED FAMILIES INC wrote -
Janet’s Story …
There he was across the room. What a dream boat! Without a doubt, he was “the one.” I was in love! So despite the warnings of friends and families the relationship progressed and by my 15th birthday I was pregnant. I was on cloud nine! We would be a family and Robert would take care of us. I was so certain we were headed for a bright future.
We moved in together and the abuse became apparent to everyone but me. My friends said they never heard from me, my mom was worried because I was always in a hurry and appeared anxious, and my dad saw the fear in my eyes. Still, I remained with Robert certain that the “happily ever after” would start soon. We were in love, happy, and a family. With pressure hitting me from both sides, I felt forced to choose. I chose Robert, eliminated contact with my family, and further limited my contact with friends.
I’m not sure which was worse the emotional abuse or physical abuse. Bruises heal. But the words are ingrained in your mind forever. With words and ten minutes of time Robert could demean me, label me as stupid, and soil my soul forever. He accused me of cheating, told me that no one else was ever going to love me, and that I would never be good enough. In a short period of time Robert convinced me I was worthless. I cut my hair short, started wearing baseball caps and baggy clothing, and never left the house.
The punching and kicking only served to strengthen my feeling of worthlessness. One time I convinced myself I could turn this all around if I was just good and paid Robert some special attention. I planned a family picnic lunch and a babysitter so Robert and I could go to the baseball game. Robert came home, walked in the door, looked at the basket and said “what’s all this?” I told him I wanted to be happy and make him happy, that I would do anything to make him happy. Robert smiled I went towards him anticipating affection but the closer I got to him I realized his eyes showed sheer disgust. He grabbed me arm, shoved me in front of the mirror and asked “what I saw?” then he laughed and said “nothing I did would make him happy because I was too stupid to even know what being happy meant.” I began to shake and cry he threw me to the ground and began with relentless name calling, kicking and punching. Later, as Robert sat the picnic lunch, he said “I wish you wouldn’t make me do that, if you would only remember how lucky you are that I let you and “that kid” stay in my house. No one else would want you.” Once again, I apologized. As I picked up his dishes I knew “happily ever-after” was stupid silly dream for a girl like me.
One day, our daughter dropped a popsicle she was eating onto the ground. She began to cry. Without hesitation Robert picked her up by the back of her neck and threw her face first into the couch, splitting open her eyebrow. Seeing the injury, I began to “wake up” to what was happening. Still where was I to go? Wouldn’t he find us? It was time. I contacted law enforcement.
After spending 30 days in jail for domestic abuse, Robert returned. I walked on egg shells. Having no money and Robert having lost his job I began looking for jobs where I was able to hide the bruises. Although I was the one who was working any money was considered Roberts and I got a weekly allowance. Knowing this couldn’t go on, the majority of my check was direct deposited into the joint account but I had opened my own account and squandered away what little I could each pay period. Despite needing the money, Robert always caused enough trouble for me to lose my job. I was lost. I didn't know how to escape.
After seven long years of abuse and numerous attempts at leaving, I found Friends shelter and a full staff who were willing to help me and protect my daughter. I pretended to get ready for work, grabbed my backpack with a change of clothes for myself and my daughter, my phone charger, and never looked back! It wasn’t easy but Friends staff helped me become braver and braver each day. I broke away from the abuse. Although I still suffer from the effects of the physical beatings, and have to remind myself each morning that “I am worthy” my daughter and I are alive and healing.
What your donation provides for victims of domestic violence:
$25 will provide one hour of art therapy for a child abused in their home.
$50 will provide a medical assessment for an individual residing in shelter.
$100 will provide one night of safe shelter and 24 hour access to a crisis advocate.
$150 will provide 3 counseling sessions for a victim recovering from the trauma of an abusive relationship.
$250 will provide 4 art therapy support groups for children exposed to domestic violence.
$500 will provide 25 high school students with critical education about healthy relationships and dating violence.
$800 will provide 15 hours of family law representation for a woman fighting for custody and placement of her children against their abuser.
$1,000 will provide rent assistance, case management, parenting assistance, and counseling for a family enrolled in the Transitional Living Program designed to help them obtain and sustain an independent non-violent home environment.
$5,000 will provide one year of groceries for those residing in Friends Emergency Shelter.
Your donation today is critical for helping victims of domestic violence achieve something many of us take for granted...safety and security in their home.
Over the past five years Friends has provided 14,704 shelter nights to 283 households or 503 individuals; responded to over 6,700 crisis calls: provided outreach services to 2,006 individuals; provided criminal justice advocacy and support to 1,1,742 individuals; facilitated art therapy services with 222 children; and presented 600 prevention education classes to over 18,000 youth and adults.
The need for our services continues to grow each year. An analysis of service numbers from 2014 to 2015 indicates a 30% increase overall in provided services. In contract to this increase, over the last 10 years Friends has lost $89,000 from the State of Wisconsin Bureau of Housing due to their change in funding priorities. During the fourth quarter of 2015 Friends was notified of two additional funding losses beginning in 2016. The first loss is due to the Greater Milwaukee Foundation cancelling their annual Match Day. The cancellation of this event amounts to a loss of $45,000 for Friends Crisis Intervention and Emergency Shelter Program operations. The second loss is due to the State of Wisconsin Department of Children and Families widening the pool of eligible recipients and changing the evaluation process. The loss of this grant is $25,000. In total, this is a loss of $159,000 in revenue that was serving victims of abuse. The dollar amount equates to the loss of 1,590 nights of safe shelter.
Thank you for supporting victims of violence!