Domestic violence has been a part of my life since I was little. I grew up in a family that had no support system. It was literally every man for themselves. As a result, everyday stress and struggle became an excuse to be abusive.
As I grew into an adult, I found myself mimicking the patterns of my parents. I selected relationships that were often abusive in some way, shape, or form. I never felt victimized at first – I always blamed myself – much like my parents blamed me as a child for their abusive actions. I found myself rationalizing others’ behavior and telling myself, “If I just did better” or “If I just tried harder not to make them angry” or “If I just changed this about myself.” I had done this for so long, for so many years, that I literally lost sight of myself.
You see, domestic violence is a much bigger problem than other people abusing you. Living in domestic violence situations changes you internally; eventually you begin to abuse yourself, and convince yourself you deserve the abuse of others.
Without SafeCenter, I would have never been able to break this cycle. It is not enough to take a victim of domestic violence away from the abuser. They must be taught how to think all over again. SafeCenter offered counseling services that educated me on domestic violence and helped me rebuild my confidence and self-esteem. Their Shelter program gave me a place to stay while I figured out what I was going to do. Their Transitional Housing services gave me hope and the courage to be independent through case management and referral services.
Now I am doing it, building a life of my own, free of abuse. I no longer feel responsible for the abusive actions of others. I am more able to avoid these types of relationships because I value myself and have learned to set goals and not be dependent on others. None of this would have been possible without the support of SafeCenter.
My experience at SafeCenter was different than the other two shelters I was in. The staff at SafeCenter made my stay at the shelter feel like a normal home. It was nice having someone sitting on the porch waiting for me when I arrived. She greeted me with a cheerful smile and a happy attitude.
Before my stay at SafeCenter, I did not have healthy eating habits. I was eating things like mac and cheese with scrambled eggs in it (yuk!!). The staff taught me how to make better food choices. Eating healthier made me feel better. The food program is excellent.
I was a victim of spousal abuse. The staff at SafeCenter helped me to work through the emotional trauma. They were very supportive while I was dealing with my divorce. The divorce is now final and I am very grateful for the kindness and support I received from the entire staff at SafeCenter.
I am truly grateful to all the staff at the SafeCenter. Through their kindness and support I was able to overcome the abuse and now I am a survivor.
I am writing this letter to say thank you to the employees of SafeCenter. Without their kindness, compassion and caring I do not know where I would be today. I fled an abusive boyfriend in Florida and came to Michigan with $4 in my pocket and the clothes on my back. I knew only two people here in Michigan.
I was scared and confused and these women all listened to my crying and complaining, they also listened to my shouts of joy and my long stories- just to name a few. They also made sure I had clothes, toothpaste, shoes, all the things most people take for granted. They made me feel human again, like I was worth something and they reminded me that I could and can do anything I set my mind to.
None of these women judged me for the situation I was coming from. They steered me in the proper direction when it came to finding resources to regain my independence. They went beyond the call of duty. I didn’t have a car and was looking for a job. Several of the employees gave me rides to Owosso and picked me up. Not once did these women complain or make me feel as if I was putting them out.
Due to the caring help and guidance from these women I am now in the process of purchasing a home, I bought a car, I am in my second year of college; I have had a baby and have my teenage son living with me. This has all taken place within the last three years. My life keeps getting better and better. I am so thankful!
I want to say thank you to the staff, I could not have done all this without you! You are all truly special people and I will always be grateful.
My daughter and I were at the SafeCenter shelter for about three months. During that time, I accomplished getting housing and a lawyer for Social Security. I also accomplished, through the help of CACS, getting my car repairs done and getting papers on food assistance, and free clothing centers in the county. This helped provide my child with the things she needs.
I have also felt, seen and learned that I am not the only person with needs or struggles. Thank you and someday I and my daughter will return the favor and kindness of helping others.
Two years ago I didn’t have many options; I was stuck in an abusive marriage that was not only unhealthy for me but also for my children. Since I was married, he was able to take our children and threatened to leave with them several times.
I remember it was a Tuesday and I finally got up the courage to call RAVE. I told the person who answered the phone my situation and asked for help. Later that day I left my home with nothing more that a few articles of clothing and my children. We stayed at the shelter and received help completing a Person Protection Order and was referred to Legal Services for an attorney.
I was also enrolled in a housing program through RAVE that assisted me with rent and supportive services for two years. During that time I was able to get our lives together and make a stable home for our family.
I am so grateful for the support of RAVE. They gave me the opportunity to raise my children in a safe environment. The emotional support I received was wonderful.
It was a scary journey, but I am know I made the right decision for my family.
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