Charlotte’s journey from domestic violence victim to survivor began when she called the Harmony House 24 – hour crisis SAFEline and spoke with one of the Harmony House Advocates. Charlotte told the Advocate that she and her two children had been running for the better part of 15 years from her abuser and that they were in imminent danger because he had found them once again.
Charlotte and her sons had been living in a nice home, in a quiet neighborhood. Her abuser had not bothered them for some time and Charlotte thought he had finally given up. Just as they were really settling into normal lives, with everyday routines, the harassment, stalking and threats of violence began again. Charlotte and her two boys had no choice but to move and run for their safety. They found themselves living in a truck for almost two months while they tried to find a safe, secure place to call home, even if it was temporary. Life on the run was becoming their everyday, ordinary existence.
By the time Charlotte called Harmony House, she had been seeking shelter for many weeks and found herself nearing the end of yet another list of names and numbers to call. In one final attempt to gain temporary sanctuary, Charlotte dialed the Harmony House SAFEline number. As she spoke with our Advocate, she described fears and anxieties that were becoming overwhelming. Fear that her abuser would find them and that they would not be so lucky this time. She also had tremendous anxiety and concern about the health and well-being of her children. She said one son in particular consumed her fears as he has a disability and needed access to electricity for an oxygenated breathing apparatus. She went on to explain that
obtaining electricity while being homeless was becoming more challenging with every day that passed. After hearing her story, Harmony House Staff was able to find space for this family and welcomed Charlotte and her boys in to the safety of our shelter.
Charlotte and her sons arrived at Harmony House with nothing but a few changes of clothes and an old truck. They did not have social security cards or birth certificates and the kids left all their toys and school supplies behind. Harmony House staff immediately provided Charlotte and the boys with ten changes of clothing each and gave the boys toys and school supplies to help ease their transition. Charlotte was assigned a case manager who immediately began working with her to help her obtain social security cards, birth certificates and get the boys enrolled in school. Charlotte continued to meet weekly with her case manager to set goals and weekly action steps. During their time in shelter, Charlotte worked diligently to regain employment, get the kids settled back into school and began, once again, rebuilding their lives. She participated in life skills classes, support groups and classes on domestic violence. The boys participated in programs offered through our childcare department. After gaining employment, Charlotte was able to get assistance with permanent housing solutions.
After several months at Harmony House, the family left with a new found strength. They continue to participate in our Community Outreach Program and have regular contact with an Outreach Case Manager who provides support and guidance when needed. Charlotte reports feeling safer and believes that the risk of their abuser being able to find them is minimal. The
children are doing well in school and they are regularly seeing a counselor as part of their healing process. Charlotte says that thanks to Harmony House, she and her boys are thriving beyond what she ever thought would be possible.
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