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Starting a New Life – One Woman’s Journey

Lisa and her two children now live in Orange County in a safe and peaceful home. But it wasn’t always that way.

For years Lisa was married to a man who created a home environment in which Lisa and her children felt hurt, afraid, isolated, unsafe and manipulated. Lisa was constantly ridiculed and called names. She felt like she couldn’t do anything right. At times she would be trapped in rooms, pushed against walls or have objects thrown in her direction. In addition to concerns for her own safety, Lisa was very worried about how her husband’s abuse was affecting her children.

She couldn’t believe that she had stayed in the relationship so long and felt ashamed to talk about it. She was so focused on getting through each day safely without a substantial abusive incident that it was hard to imagine she could have a different life.

At the suggestion of a friend, Lisa agreed to call Compass Center’s hotline. The advocates who worked with Lisa helped her understand that she was not alone and that what she was experiencing was abusive. She talked a lot about what she had experienced and how it was affecting her while the advocates provided emotional support. Lisa also benefited from talking about the advantages and disadvantages of telling friends and family about what she was experiencing.

The advocates were able to help her understand her options for getting a protective order or filing criminal charges if she ever chose to do that. She planned for her safety and that of her children to minimize harm when incidents occurred. Lisa also joined one of Compass Center’s support groups for women who are experiencing or have experienced domestic violence. She really appreciated being able to talk to other women going through what she was and seeing how they were dealing with their own relationships.

Over time Lisa made a decision to slowly take steps to separate from her husband. Compass Center provided her with attorney referrals and continued to help her plan for her safety. The network of support Lisa received from Compass Center for Women and Families, friends, family and other local services helped her to complete the separation, gain freedom and successfully adjust to the life she and her children have now.

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