U.S. Navy veteran Jerrica* returned from her tour and married her Prince Charming. Or so she thought.
The day after she said, “I do,” the abuse and the beatings began, all in front of the couple’s 1-month-old daughter. When Jerrica tried to leave, he held their daughter hostage. Jerrica stayed with her husband four years because she thought that if she could survive the war, she could change her husband.
Sadly, she could not.
On her daughter’s third birthday, her husband beat her in front of their daughter. Later, he pulled a gun on her and said she wasn’t worth killing. Instead, he said he would shoot and kill their daughter and leave Jerrica alive to deal with the pain. After she and her daughter survived that incident, she gathered her courage and moved in with her grandmother.
A year later, her husband showed up at her grandmother’s house, threatening Jerrica and her family. Jerrica knew she had to leave to protect her grandmother, but no Houston shelters had a room for her and her daughter. Finally, a counselor directed Jerrica to Catholic Charities as a place that provided shelter for women veterans in crisis.
Jerrica was invited to visit the Villa, a Catholic Charities shelter for low-income veteran women and their children – many of whom are dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder, homelessness and other challenges. She was given an apartment there – and her life changed dramatically.
The Catholic Charities Women Veterans Services program helped Jerrica find the resources needed to recover from her crisis and to heal, physically and emotionally. They helped her connect to job-preparation resources and classes.
She has since moved out of the Villa, found a job and has been living in her own place for a year. Jerrica said, “The Villa was here when I was at my lowest and wanted to give up.”
Without the Women Veterans Services that Catholic Charities offers, Jerrica believes she and her daughter would have ended up on the streets or in an even more dangerous situation.
“I am so grateful to everyone at Catholic Charities,” she said. “I pray they keep doing what they are doing because they saved my life – and changed my daughter’s future. She feels safe now, and she is not afraid.”
*Name changed to protect privacy
Our goal is to ensure that our women veterans have a safe place to sleep on our stormy Houston nights and receive the counseling, support and encouragement they need to thrive and become self-sufficient.
Learn more about our Women Veterans Services program how you can serve the women who served our country.