After immigrating to the United States when she was a little girl, Elizabeth later met who she thought was a nice guy she was going to start a family with. But that guy turned out to be a source of physical and emotional pain that led Elizabeth to feelings of fear, hopelessness and worthlessness.
At Catholic Charities, we see many clients who are survivors of domestic violence, and we provide them with counseling and immigration services to help them overcome a difficult period in their lives.
But thanks to you, we provide support to help domestic violence survivors like Elizabeth with the services and help needed to rebuild their lives.
In recognition of October being Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we are sharing Elizabeth’s story. With your help, she received the support she needed to make a better life for herself and her children:
“My name is Elizabeth and I emigrated from Mexico when I was 8 years old. When I was 15, I met a guy who showed me he was different than the other men in my life. He started walking me to class and after getting to know each other for a while, he asked me to be his girlfriend. He was so sweet to me and supportive when I told him everything I went through as a child. I felt like I finally found someone to protect me and show me what love was.
A few months after we started dating, I found out I was pregnant. He was excited and happy about us starting a family together. My parents were not so happy so I moved in with him. During the first few months of my pregnancy, he was kind and loving. He made sure I was being taken care of and did anything he could to make me feel welcomed. One day we were at a get-together with his friends. I told him we needed to leave because I was hungry, which made him angry. When he finally drove me home he slammed on the breaks and started to hit me in the face with the back of his hand. I reached for the door knob and was almost out of the car when he pulled me back in by the hair. He hit the gas pedal and turned so hard the door closed on its own. The entire time he called me a bitch, a hoe and that he hated me.
This became my life for the next seven years. He was in and out of jail, and I was in and out of shelters trying to survive with our three children.
This became my life for the next seven years. He was in and out of jail, and I was in and out of shelters trying to survive with our three children. I went through so much physical and emotional abuse I started to believe I was worthless. My third child was conceived on a night he treated me like his property. I cried the entire night, and I remembered all the nights I cried wishing it would all just end.
The day I finally left, he physically hurt me for the last time. After all the times he hit me, dragged me by my hair, left me to deliver our three children on my own and sexually abused me, I was finally done. I used all the days he told me I was ugly, worthless and all the times he abused me as strength to leave and not look back.
After years of disappointment, pain and hopelessness a better chapter of our lives begins.
I am working on getting my GED in order to attend college and work in the medical field. After years of disappointment, pain and hopelessness a better chapter of our lives begins. I know there are many challenges to come but thanks to Catholic Charities the challenge is no longer to survive day by day, but to work and strive for the life that my family and I deserve! With counseling sessions and immigration services, Catholic Charities has provided us with new hope, and the opportunity to a better future.
They have changed my life, and for that I am immensely grateful!”
HOW TO GET HELP:
If you are experiencing an emergency, dial 9-1-1 for assistance.
Contact the Crime Victim Assistance Program at 713-874-6750 or CVAP@CatholicCharities.org.
Houston Area Women’s Center
Domestic violence hotline number: 713-528-2121
Sexual assault hotline number: 713-528-7273
National Domestic Violence Hotline
800-799-SAFE (7233) or 800-787-3224.
LASSA (Free Legal Aid for Survivors of Sexual Assault)
Texas Council on Family Violence