Courage for My Twin Boys
It wasn’t until I had the twins that a light clicked on for me.
I was in a marriage that was physically, emotionally, psychologically, and financially abusive—but I was initially in denial, just trying to survive. It culminated into kind of a big thing where he pushed me when I was holding one of the children. At that point, I sought out therapy, and for the first time ever in therapy I shared what was going on. My therapist (who is amazing) slipped me the card to call for help with domestic violence.
I knew I couldn’t stay in that environment with twin boys. When they’re little, they still see it, and they still feel it. I just wanted better for them.
It was a little bit hard to take in at first, because it’s a lot of shame and embarrassment behind that. It took me a minute to come to terms with what was happening, but it was getting to the point where I knew I couldn’t stay in that environment with twin boys. When they’re little, they still see it, and they still feel it. I just wanted better for them.
I knew I had to do something—but I didn’t have any family to help me. My mom passed away when I was about 15 years old. My grandmother, who also helped raise me, passed away when I was in my early 20s, and I never met my father or his side of my family. My nearest family is in South Carolina, and I can’t see them because of COVID.
With the help of so many wonderful people, I have been able to not only survive, but begin to recover, heal and thrive.
Even so, I got the courage to go down to the courthouse in the midst of the pandemic with my two children in tow and fill out all that paperwork and start that process.
With the help of so many wonderful people from AVLF, PADV, and my therapist, I have been able to not only survive, but begin to recover, heal and thrive.
The Safe Families Office staff helped me so much through the TPO process. Erika Voreh was so instrumental in getting the TPO granted. She was so sweet, even though I was still crying through my answers to her questions.
At least there’s not this black cloud of dread and doom anymore.
When my abuser was finally served at the house, it was very nerve-wracking. It took about a week—but after it happened, there was just a sense of freedom. There was some dread there too, obviously, because you don’t know what the future holds—but it was also a release. At least there’s not this black cloud of dread and doom anymore.
I mentioned to Mandy and Erika that I needed some assistance with the divorce. They had me go through the proper channels and I was approved for a free lawyer to help me out with my divorce. I had been fired from my job and I hadn’t been working for over a year and had two toddlers, so money was difficult. Having a family law lawyers was just a huge huge blessing. It just was amazing to get the support that I didn’t know that I needed. It was so crucial, so pivotal for the things that I needed to be able to get to a better place. To just get out of that situation first, period—and then get to a better place.
Someone helped me with the divorce and finding a wonderful law firm that’s helping me. Tina and Caitlyn and a couple of paralegals are helping – they are so communicative, and they have just gone to bat for me. They made me feel like I had a voice after feeling like my voice had been taken away from me.
It’s so much that it’s almost overwhelming – I’m just so grateful to know that people are coming through for me.
AVLF has also referred me to other organizations that have assisted me immensely. The staff at PADV shared a support group that I joined, and they do calls on Thursdays. It has been super, super helpful and supportive. And [AVLF Social Worker] Mary Koenig has been absolutely amazing. She has checked in on me and followed up even when I forgot to respond to her – she’s dropped off diapers and clothes for the boys. It’s so much that it’s almost overwhelming – I’m just so grateful to know that people are coming through for me.
After getting help, I had to adjust to work through all the changes and pivots. I started the whole TPO process and eventually the divorce process all while trying to take care of my small children, manage the household and the finances as well as now being a single mom with no income and trying to heal and manage my mental health after escaping domestic violence was also a lot to say the least.
From resources and information, to assistance and support groups, to legal advocacy and legal assistance/representation and just so much more. I am grateful.
Their assistance was divinely guided, whether they know it or not…and I am supremely grateful.
With everything I’ve been through, AVLF and PADV, (and the other organizations as well) and of course the beautiful souls there are doing amazing and extremely IMPORTANT work: their dedication and kindness is not lost on me. Rather, it is fulfilled in me being able to manage, provide, overcome, sustain, start a new journey and find my path to the amazingly blessed life I (and we all) deserve. Their assistance was divinely guided, whether they know it or not…and I am supremely grateful.
I want to give a very special thank you to each person who went above the call and helped to guide, encourage and empower me. It may have seemed small to them, but it was HUGE and so beneficial to me and my boys.
Mary Koenig, Erika Voreh, Amanda (Mandy) Sandifer and Jill Schirling-Allison, Coti Perez-Espinoza, Shatel Francis, Jamie Perez, Camille Millar have been absolute Angels.
I also must mention Miriam Gutman from Atlanta Legal Aid, as well as Tina Roddenbery and Caitlyn Kerr fom the Law Firm of Boyd, Collar, Nolen Tuggle, and Roddenberry. They have ALL been such AMAZING blessings to me.
Hopefully, I didn’t miss anyone, but if I did please know it was not intentional and I appreciate them all from the bottom of my heart.