It was when he hit the baby in her arms that Lisa decided she was done.
Almost eight months before, in an effort to appease Child Protection, Lisa (then pregnant) and her one year-old son moved into her parents’ townhome. Lisa was referred to Alexandra House through the County and began work with a Follow-up Advocate.
Lisa, now 24 years-old with two children, applied for housing and began working with a public health nurse. However, she remained distant from those people trying to help her. Lisa frequently pulled away, but her advocate, sensing that more was going on, persisted.
During this time, Lisa continued to bring her children to visit their father on the weekends. Although no court mandate existed, she felt it would be best for her children to have access to both parents. She wanted to be a good mother.
One Monday morning, Lisa’s advocate walked into her office to find three missed calls and text message from Lisa, “Call me as soon as you can.” This was it. Lisa was done. She wanted an Order for Protection (OFP) and she never wanted to see her abuser again. He had gone too far. While willing to put up with abuse to herself, Lisa was never going to let her children get hurt. Hitting the baby in her arms crossed a line of no return.
Despite lack of transportation and intense fear (that she kept hidden), Lisa made her way to Hennepin County and filed for an OFP. She and her Follow-up advocate developed an action plan. She applied for work and researched parenting classes. Maybe most importantly, she began to see the importance in caring for herself.
After becoming gainfully employed, Lisa finally achieved something she had held little hope for: her own home. When her advocate told her about the United Way subsidy, Lisa couldn’t believe her. Proud and independent, she rarely asked for help— but now someone was offering to give her the boost she needed.
Lisa and her two boys live on their own. Lisa is working and hopes to return to school. She practices better self-care and is beginning to recognize her own value. Lisa is still trying to protect her children, as her abuser is now trying to manipulate her through the legal system. She is learning to cope with a system that sometimes fails to give adequate justice, but refuses to stop fighting for freedom.
Lisa’s resolve and strength inspires those around her. With the support of Alexandra House and the United Way, amongst others, she has found her footing and continues to make huge strides. She tells her advocate that her goal is to eventually give back, helping those who find themselves in a situation similar to her own.