Alison had a secret…she and her four children were living each day with verbal, sexual, and physical violence. Alison didn’t have anyone to share her secret with – her secret that her soulmate was hurting her.
Alison’s story began as many fairy tales do. She met the man of her dreams, who was charming, had an energetic personality, and shared all her interests. They fell in love almost immediately. His two children moved in with them and she had an instant family. Something she felt was missing all along. She had the perfect marriage and family – and when her partner didn’t want her to go out with her friends – she thought that was endearing.
She never saw the red flags.
Then he hit her. And he forgave her for making him so angry that he hit her. She kept that secret to herself and life continued as if it never happened. Six months later it happened again – only this time she was pregnant. The violent cycle continued. Alison just accepted this was the life she had chosen and it was never going to change. She was so embarrassed and ashamed that she couldn’t tell anyone. And if she could somehow move past those feelings, who could she tell as she found herself completely isolated.
“I didn’t have anyone to call if I was just a little lonely or wanted to discuss the results of a recent sports game – so I certainly didn’t have anyone to confide in that my house was a terror zone.” – Alison
Then the turning point occurred, Alison was preparing a meal for an Easter celebration with family. Her partner’s seemingly pleasant mood shifted rapidly to anger and he attacked her. He grabbed her by the neck and choked her, then held her face inches from a pot of boiling water. Before storming out of the house he broke her nose and left her to clean up the blood, host Easter, and to make excuses as to why he wasn’t there. When he came home later everything was back to ‘normal’ – but Alison wasn’t. It was an incident she couldn’t get past.
Alison realized that she needed a safe place to tell her secret…but had nowhere to turn. Then she found Alexandra House. Alison began attending Alexandra House’s support group for victim/survivors of domestic abuse to gain the strength and support she desperately needed.
“Despite my intense guilt over deceiving my partner, group became an oasis from the terror in my life. I attended the Alexandra House support group for nearly three years.” – Alison
As Alison became more and more determined to leave her partner, her situation became increasingly dangerous.
“It was clear to me that eventually he would kill me.” – Alison
She worked with an Alexandra House advocate to create a safety plan for her and her children and to obtain an Order for Protection. When she found the strength to leave her abusive partner, she was able to keep her family safe.
“Alexandra House saved my life…and attending the support group kept me strong and resolute in my decision to not return to my abuser.”- Alison
As you consider how you’ll direct your year-end charitable giving, please consider how much more you can do to help those women, men, youth, and children who are living in a terror zone by sending a special, tax-deductible year-end gift to Alexandra House.
Every community struggles with domestic and sexual violence. No demographic, no social class, no tree-lined street is immune. As you consider the size of your year-end gift, please think about the magnitude of the challenge you and I – and our community is facing:
- One in three women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime.
- One in four will experience sexual violence.
- In Minnesota in 2014, 23 people lost their lives as a result of domestic violence. And tragically we have already lost 24 people in 2015.
Please take a moment today to lend your voice and support by making a contribution. Your generous gift will help make every family, every community, safer.
As the only such service provider in Anoka County, we guarantee 85¢ of every dollar given will directly support the services we offer such as our 24-hour emergency shelter and help line, hospital advocacy, therapy and support groups, legal advocacy, in-home case management, and youth intervention and prevention services.
You may not know their names, but they’ll carry thanks in their hearts for your kindness and generosity.
With my warmest regards, and my best wishes for your health and happiness in 2016,
PS: I can’t stress enough how much your support will mean to those we serve – people like Alison.