Client Stories

Yasmin

"I don't know if I would have been able to leave. I'm still haunted by the statistic where women return to their abuser."

“Life was hard, but I didn’t know any better,” says 35-year-old Yasmin. “I feel like I was too close to that lifestyle [of abuse] that I did not recognize there was a problem. I didn’t have the confidence or belief that I could leave and that I deserved to be treated better.”

Yasmin’s friend, Maria, told her about Community Solutions but she was too embarrassed to seek help on her own, so Maria brought her to our office. “Walking into the office was hard,” she says, “I feel like it was hard accepting that things needed to change. It felt like it was a betrayal to do anything to go against what my husband established for me and my family.”

Thanks to you and your generosity, when Yasmin walked through our doors, she found a caring and supportive advocate ready to help her. Your support provided her with safety planning, assistance filing a restraining order, legal advocacy, peer counseling, and other services to help her and her children safely and permanently escape the abuser.

Yasmin was initially very traumatized, afraid and self-conscious. “I was trying to gain her trust,” says her advocate. “I could tell she had been through a lot. Every time I would try and have a conversation, she would burst into tears but not disclose much. She knew she was being abused by her husband but also kept making excuses to protect him. In the beginning, she did not even want to disclose his name to me in order to protect him.”

For a while, Yasmin kept trying to make it work with her abuser. She would do everything he wanted. She knew the behavior was not right but she would still try to make it work. He got more aggressive with her and began stalking her and controlling her.

Peer counseling with her advocate helped Yasmin a lot. Her advocate listened, helped her create personal boundaries, and they created a safety plan together. Yasmin was provided with a Ring camera when her abuser began stalking her in her new home, and her advocate taught her how to create an incident log, which she was later able to use as evidence in court. During this time, her advocate kept reminding Yasmin about the legal advocacy services available to her, as well as, what a restraining order is and the process to file one.

As Yasmin engaged in peer counseling and learned about healthy relationships, she grew more confident and self-reliable. She was able to establish and implement boundaries for herself and developed the confidence to finally disclose her abuser’s name. When she finally decided to apply for a restraining order, the appointment lasted four hours due to the extent of the abuse she disclosed and the need to document all of it.

When Yasmin’s day in court came, she was confident, firm and direct. She went to court prepared, wrote an impact statement, and was very poised when speaking in front of the judge. She knew she wanted protection for herself and her children. The judge granted a 3-year restraining order. When she walked out of the courtroom with her advocate, Yasmin was beaming. She stood a little taller. “I was proud of her, and I can tell she was proud of herself too,” says her advocate.

Today, Yasmin is more confident and self-assured. She says that she has never felt more at peace. Since the restraining order was granted, she has filed for divorce. She understands that the process is not over, but she feels stronger and prepared to handle it. And she knows that she is not alone.

“[I’ve learned that] the situation I was in was not okay,” says Yasmin. “I thought that the behavior was normal. There has been a lot of growth in the belief in myself and that I deserve to be treated with respect. I feel like the real change was when I was given [by Community Solutions] tickets for my children and I to go to Gilroy Gardens. This showed me that my children and I could have a nice day, a nice outing. That event showed me so clearly that we could have peace and joy and a different kind of life. When I was with my husband, we could not enjoy these types of things. Something so simple yet so joyful, really opened my eyes.”

“Yasmin has come a long way,” says her advocate. “She met her abuser at a very young age, and he was much older than her. She now sees the signs of being groomed to his liking. She spent years living manipulated and controlled. She realized the behavior was not okay when he began acting aggressive towards the children. It took her a long time to leave him.”

“I don’t know if I would have been able to leave. I’m still haunted by the statistic where women return to their abuser,” says Yasmin. “There were times in the beginning where I wanted to give up. This program is very valuable to the community, and it can change everything for somebody.”

“I feel like [this program] gives people hope, opens your eyes to new possibilities,” she adds. “You are capable, and you are not alone. This program definitely offers a lot of support and allows you to rebuild your life. You can see the light at the end of the tunnel. You don’t need to be stuck. Without this program I would have never felt strong enough to leave.”

Thank you for helping Yasmin and her kids – and so many other survivors like them – escape the abuse and begin rebuilding their lives free of violence. What a gift!

“This program is very valuable to the community, and it can change everything for somebody.” – Yasmin

 

 

 

 

Names and images have been changed to protect client confidentiality

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