The Verde Valley Sanctuary literally saved my life! My gratitude quotient is off the charts. You see, I didn’t realize I was being domestically abused. I lived with an alcoholic who was increasingly violent. It wasn’t until I was eight years into this violence that a female sheriff encouraged me to get domestic violence counseling.
Within two months of living together, he strangled me until I passed out. I knew three to six months before I left that I would die in this home if I didn’t get help. I’d come home from work, and he would be inebriated and raging. He would throw my possessions against the wall and out the door. There was horrifying name calling, degradation, and financial abuse.
He alienated me from friends and family. There was a withholding of affection, and he would tell me that I was repulsive. There were guns in the house. I lived in a very rural area and had no support system.
I learned about the VVS when I called a national hotline. One of the Advocates, Lisa, providing me with weekly education and therapy for nearly a year. VVS bought wood to keep my home heated. My oven broke down and VVS acquired a donation to replace it. It was the weekly therapy that saved my life.
There is help. It is scary and challenging to leave and walk into the unknown. Yet, there is nothing worse than staying in the abuse in your own home. This is an equal opportunity problem; it breaks all stereotypes, and it crosses all demographic boundaries. This can happen to anyone.
The VVS Outreach Advocate counseled and educated me about domestic violence. I remember Lisa telling me to anticipate that he would seek me out again within three months. And that is what he did. He pulled at my heart strings. However, my intellect and the education about domestic violence helped me combat it.
My home is peaceful now; it is my sanctuary. I will not allow people who exhibit unhealthy behaviors to remain in my life. I no longer feel shame. I am back on my feet. Now I am very vocal about my story. This was not my fault. This is my truth.
[This story is true in events and spirit, however identifying markers have been changed to protect the client.]