United Way Fox Cities

How I Left: A Domestic Violence Survivor’s Story

TW: This story mentions domestic violence, which may be distressing for some individuals. Please use discretion before reading further.

As we observe Domestic Abuse Awareness Month, we feel compelled to share the resilient story of Patricia.

Patricia, an older adult in our community, spent many years in an abusive marriage. After finding a way to leave her husband, she sought refuge with a family member.

That haven quickly turned into another nightmare, with Patricia being subjected to additional abuse. Fearing for her safety, she found a lifeline at Christine Ann’s emergency shelter.

Patricia began rebuilding her life in Christine Ann’s supportive and welcoming environment. She worked diligently with staff advocates to receive emotional support, legal aid, housing advocacy, and education on maintaining healthy relationships. Patricia was able to secure a one-bedroom apartment for herself and her pet — just in time to spend the holidays in her own safe space.

Patricia is not alone. 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men experience domestic abuse in their lifetime, including physical violence and coercive control. According to End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin, Wisconsin has the 8th highest death rate in the nation due to domestic violence.

Patricia is also not alone in finding hope. Like many others in our community, she found safety through a network of partners including Christine Ann Domestic Abuse Services, Harbor House, and Reach Counseling. These organizations provide shelter, prevention, advocacy services, aftercare, and more for local survivors of domestic violence.

Survivors need our support to become self-sufficient and to cope with the complexity of leaving a dangerous environment. Your gift to United Way Fox Cities helps our community stand against domestic violence and help more people like Patricia find safety, peace, and a new beginning.

If you or someone you know needs confidential support surrounding domestic violence, please reach out to one of the following 24/7 helplines:

  • Christine Ann Domestic Abuse Services: (800) 261-5998
  • Harbor House: (920) 832-1666
  • Reach Counseling: (920) 722-8150

Not sure where to start? Call 211 to get connected with the right local resources. If you are in danger, call 911 immediately.

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