By: Carmen Hubbs
This Holiday season we would like to share with you the impact you have. Your time and generosity makes a difference. It truly takes a village - Thank You for being part of ours.
Where were you on May 8th, 2011?
If you were a mother on that day, you were likely being celebrated. Your children surprising you with breakfast in bed and promises of good behavior and chores to come.
For Shelly*, a mother of two young boys, May 8th, 2011 was a very different Mother’s Day. Today she had a law enforcement officer in her living room, her husband sitting in the back seat of a patrol vehicle, and her children clutching to her, scared and upset. On this day, Mother’s Day 2011, Shelly’s morning started with a slap, ridicule, and being called a name no mother should be called.
At a very young age, Shelly learned abandonment and instability. Her parents’ relationship was volatile. “They were fighting. Every time my mom and dad would get in a fight, she would kick us out – both of us. She decided to kick us out and let my dad back in. I lived with my aunt for a little bit, then she decided to kick me out because she said it was my dad’s responsibility, not her responsibility. So then from there I went from friends’ to friends’ houses and they were letting me stay the night. I was only 11.”
Looking for love in all the wrong places isn’t just words to a Johnny Lee song. At age 13, Shelly was pregnant. Her mother allowed her back home, but being true to her Modus Operandi, kicked her and her 6 month old son out of the house … again. In comes her knight in shining armor, or so she thought.
“My child was 2. You don’t think they remember a lot, but they do. They never got abused, but seeing it is stressful. That was the worst thing. I would never want to put them in that situation again. He goes to therapy just because he does stuff like his dad. And that’s the last thing I want is for him to ever hit a woman. It’s hard because I’m gonna try to break that cycle before he gets older.”
Her sons watched their dad slap their mother on Mother’s Day. They watched their mom cry; they watched their dad handcuffed and hauled to jail. Shelly remembers, “It affects the kids the worst.” Unfortunately, this wasn’t their last rodeo.
For those who want to leave an abusive relationship, it’s a process, one many of you reading this story will never experience, while others know it all too well. For Shelly, she admits, “It was hard to get out of that relationship. You try to get out of that relationship. A lot of women don’t understand, when you get in a[n] [abusive] relationship you cover for him, you cover, you cover, you cover, you cover, you cover. And when you lose your family and friends it’s when it’s the hardest to get out of that relationship because you’ve done lost everybody.”
“And you can do it,” champions Shelly. And she did. “There are people out there that can help you. I worked with a domestic violence advocate after I lost my children. They helped me for two years. They don’t just help you mentally and physically, but they help you get on your feet. Need to call with anything, like it’s awesome! It’s a great program!”
I was Shelly’s advocate that day on Mother’s Day 2011. I’ve been privileged to witness her survival and growth ever since. Her drive, her love for her children, her tenacity to keep going despite her odds motivate her. When asked how her kids are these days, “They see me happy, and they’re happy and they’re safe at home.”
It takes a village to end domestic violence. Shelly did it with support from many resources, one vital one being Rise Above Violence. Consider your gift a gift to others like Shelly, where an advocate walks alongside them for however long their journey takes to happiness and safety.
Till it ends,
Carmen Hubbs, Executive Director
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