June 24, 2015

Karrin’s Story

clientStory_KarrinKarrin was newly divorced and in a new relationship with someone who had a substance abuse problem. She said his addiction exasperated the domestic violence that began, “His background probably led to the abuse along with all those things you don’t know about until it’s too late.

Karrin recounts the difficulty in realizing she was involved in a domestic violence relationship, when this was never supposed to happen to her: “Domestic violence is a situation that you can’t get out of for a long time. If I hadn’t of gone through it, I would have been judgmental about it all, ‘Why do you put up with it?’ When you get slowly broken down, you want to show yourself and others that it’s really not what it appears to be. I was constantly figuring out what I can do to fix it. But it’s not really me that’s broken. It’s an up and down struggle; I can see how women stay in for years.”

In 2005, things were really bad and her abuser became very violent. She removed herself from the situation by entering into the YWCA Confidential Safe Shelter. After being in the shelter for a month, Karrin received a job offer and went back into the same living situation with her abuser. Then, again in 2008, she decided to leave again, “because I can’t control the abuse,” and she came back to the shelter, staying for another month. Karrin found a job and an apartment, not returning to her abusive past again.

Getting back to work was important to Karrin, “so you have identity and your own personal worth. When someone is taking that [personal worth] from you with name-calling and things that aren’t true, you know you can hold yourself up. When women lose their financial independence, or childcare, or just help in general, they’re prime for more victimization by the abuser.”

She doesn’t know that she’ll ever be totally away from the situation, especially the memories of what happened. Karrin says having the resources available at the YWCA help in dealing with it. She says there are people to talk to so women are not isolated.

Karrin says she used all the YWCA resources offered, “I don’t know how I would have gotten to where I am now without the just the child care. Being able to bring your kids in while you’re working on resumes and classes—just for state of mind that they’re safe.

She says these services offered by the YWCA are like nothing she’s seen before, “the health, yoga classes are really important. It’s so nice here; it’s not some worn down building where you think, ‘Oh my, this is where I am in life.’ It feels good and safe here.”

Even though the YWCA remains a very confidential environment, that security provides peace of mind for participants escaping domestic violence, “It’s nice to be able to walk in those doors and know that no one can come in behind me. You walk in and you’re safe behind those doors.”

Although Karrin works full-time now, she relied on the YWCA’s Women’s Opportunity Center to complete her homework while attending school, “I had no where to do my homework, I could come here and do that. I couldn’t afford even a computer before, so these services meant so much.”

Now that Karrin is finding her own independence, she says she gets what other women go through, “The worst part is being blamed for it [domestic violence] by other people, ‘You let this go on. If you were strong enough…’ If it were a stranger, we’d all stand up against it. You struggle because children are upset, begging you to not put daddy in jail. For women, there’s a lot of guilt to carry around all the time.

“The people here at the YWCA understand and don’t judge us.”

Karrin’s advice for other women going through domestic violence situations is to take one day at a time, “You just have to try and take care of yourself. Don’t blame yourself. If you think someone is going through domestic violence, let her know that people are here.”

“I’m very grateful for the YWCA and think it’s important to have these resources for women. I don’t know where I would be right now if this wasn’t here. The shelter and building here does save lives.”

By: Erica Schreiber

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