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A Journey of Hope: Stephanie’s Story

On a seemingly quiet Sunday evening, Stephanie returned home to find his car in her driveway, knowing this wouldn’t end well. Her husband was passed out on the couch in the basement, even though they’d been separated, and he wasn’t to be there. She could smell the alcohol, and the thought of waking him up was like standing in a bear cave without protection. She didn’t want to do this anymore. She didn’t want her kids to witness this one more night, so she woke him up, knowing this would be the last night.

Before she could understand what was happening, she had to pick herself up off the floor. With their daughter hanging off one of his arms and their son tugging on the other, the man who was supposed to protect and love them was in a rage of terror. Making her way through punches and screaming, she managed to get her children safely into the other room and somehow called 9-1-1 before he ripped the phone from her hand and threw it across the room. In a panic, Stephanie rushed to the car, leaving her children alone in the house with their monster, but she knew she couldn’t leave without them. Her son and daughter came running for safety and jumped into the car before he could make it out after any of them. Stephanie took off a few blocks away but did not know where to go. So, there she sat, bruised and frozen with children sobbing in her parked car, just streets away from the dangerous bear cave.

Stephanie didn’t want to leave her kids when the ambulance showed up. She was safe, but nothing was sound. The kids were screaming, her head was throbbing, and her home had become a war zone. In a fog, Stephanie floated through it all. People were asking questions about shelters, she found herself at the hospital, her home wasn’t safe, her husband was in jail, her physical wounds were being treated, and she didn’t have the words or answers for what might come next. After Stephanie left the hospital, she packed their stuff while the kids were at school. And when she picked them up that day, she tried to explain that until things settled down, they would have a new home for a while. And while she explained this all to them, she tried to explain to herself that she always thought she was strong enough to handle things on her own. She’d taken on plenty of unknowns in her life, but this was one she couldn’t manage alone.

Moving into Alexandra House was overwhelming at first. Stephanie had two small children, three little bags, and no idea what to expect from a shelter or what would come next. She walked into their new room, answered questions, wondered about safety and her children’s comfort, and had no idea what tomorrow might bring. But with each day, she was surprised. She was surprised at the timid excitement of her children when they climbed up the bunkbeds of their room. She was surprised at how kind the other people were in the shelter with her, feeling the unspoken connection of hard, similar experiences. And more than anything, she was surprised at how helpful the Alexandra House advocates were through court proceedings, meals, basic needs, and every other aspect of their new daily life.

Stephanie recently took her kids on their first vacation to Disneyworld. Never in her wildest dreams did she think they’d be safe and free to have this life. She has a good job, her kids are healthy, and she has found a new love for herself and their new life. They still struggle, but it gets better with every passing day. Alexandra House was a huge stepping stone to finding a safer life for Stephanie and her children. Without her advocates and everyone who supports Alexandra House, this safe, new life would not have been possible for them or anyone else seeking refuge from a life of violence.

Domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking are serious crimes that profoundly impact the public health and safety of every community in the United States. Shockingly, one in three women in the U.S. have experienced rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime. In 2022 alone, there were 13,793 domestic and 930 criminal sexual conduct radio calls to Anoka County (including non-intimate partner incidents). Programs that are working to end this violence provide critical support in times of crisis and are integral to the health and safety of communities across the state.

We are incredibly grateful for your essential support in making our community safer and more vibrant for everyone. We want to acknowledge that our work is only possible with generous individuals like you. You hold space for those who need it most and create a collective voice to stand up for what is right. Alexandra House relies on our community to ensure we can continue serving those who need us most.

We have been fortunate enough to receive a generous $25,000 matching grant from an
Anonymous donor! That means every gift (up to $25,000) received by 12/31 will be doubled!

If you have not made a year-end contribution to Alexandra House, please consider joining our Luminary Society, our treasured community of monthly donors. Your gift will not only be a sustainable way to support victims of domestic and sexual violence but will also have twice the impact! We know that we are all facing great challenges at this time, but we hope that you can find some peace in knowing that because of your generosity, you are creating a community of support, a safe way forward, and a future free from violence. Your sustained giving will enable us to continue serving our community and ensure that survivors like Stephanie can build safer and more stable lives as we take one step closer to a future free from violence together. However you choose to give, know that it is deeply appreciated and will help strengthen our community so that we may one day see an end to domestic and sexual violence. If you have given recently, thank you so much for your support!

On behalf of everyone at Alexandra House, we are grateful for your incredible support. Please know that we could not do this vital work without you, and we are thankful for your partnership and collaboration as we work towards a life free from violence for all. We wish you and your family well this holiday season and beyond.

As you consider the size of your year-end gift, please think about the magnitude of the challenge our community is facing:
  • 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men aged 18 and older in the US have been the victim of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime.
  • On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the US.
  • Intimate partner violence accounts for 15% of all violent crimes.

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