At Samaritan House, we believe the human spirit is resilient, unbreakable and powerful beyond measure. We have seen survivors of violence rise up from the darkest times in their lives and take their lives back in ways that seemed unimaginable when they were trapped in an unsafe situation. We are not here to offer one-size-fits-all solutions for clients because we understand that no two stories of trauma are the same. We offer guidance and support throughout the process of healing, walking side-by-side with our clients to put violence in the past.
We recently received a letter from a former client, a “graduate” of our program (in her own words) that we want to share with our supporters as a story of encouragement. Your support helps us have this kind of impact in our clients’ lives.
It’s been 61 months of hiding while being stalked and tracked constantly like a animal through my social security number. State and federal protective orders, 3 states involving 2 law enforcements relocations and 9 private relocations after being found yet again. Four documented attempts on my life, over 2,500 threatening abusive emails, almost 400 emails with death threats, threats of harm and kidnapping against my daughter. Sexual abuse that has been sold all over the world, emotional, mental, physical, psychological abuse. You name it and it’s probably happened. It has taken 49 months for the legal system to have enough proof and psychiatrists to finally be able to get things under control and realize it isn’t just my life. There are numerous other lives my abuser was going to take with him.
“Domestic violence shelter” is a old school term that really doesn’t apply to Samaritan House. Samaritan House isn’t just domestic violence, life or death. Samaritan House is for all forms of victimization, whether it be human trafficking, stalking, sexual abuse, any form of domestic violence. Samaritan House is about empowerment, education, teaching resiliency, safety training and so many other things. Unfortunately, when you become a victim in any of these situations, you have been drafted against your will into a war on your life. The sooner someone realizes that the better because the price is your life. There isn’t a way to sugar coat it. There isn’t anyone who can rescue you from the situation. The laws are made to protect the abuser. Things done to victims by a stranger are a felony, but if it is a partner then a lot of cases it is a misdemeanor. Orders of protection don’t stop bullets and statistics show they escalate the abusers behavior which is why 1 in 3 leaving will not make it alive. The only way to win at this war on your life is to join a army ready to fight with you, that can equip you with the tools, education and help that you are going to need to be free. Samaritan House does that.
In the years I have spent working with Samaritan House, I have seen them constantly looking for ways to improve, tighten security, fight smarter, become more educated. Samaritan House has broken down one of the obstacles victims face by starting the lines of open communication between all the different laws, agencies, programs and help available to victims in these situations. While secrecy is needed for protection, these things don’t work if others don’t know they are out there. Samaritan House has taken that step to expand the army fighting with a victim by having all the different programs start talking and sharing how each one works, so people can be better prepared, better educated and by doing so will achieve a higher success rate. I hope others follow Samaritan House’s example and this is a trend that spreads across the country. It is to much for one person, one agency, when people’s lives are on the line. It takes everyone working together.
My daughter was seriously injured almost 4 years ago and while fighting for our lives, I was also taking care of my daughter 24/7. There aren’t words to describe the sheer exhaustion, fear, heartache of watching my daughter go through this, but my Case Manager kept fighting right along side of me, refusing to give up on my daughter or myself. Samaritan House did it! Somehow through this all, my daughter has continued to stabilize despite some life threatening issues to the point that she can now be moved to a hospital with the capability of doing comprehensive rehabilitation for the next couple of years. Instead of being permanently disabled, her prognosis now is in time my daughter will be able to go to school, get married, have a life that we didn’t think was possible. This could not have happened without Samaritan House helping.
As for me, it is my time to relocate for what should be the last time. I have started to dream again. I have started looking to the future for the first time in so many years. I’m working on opening a business after this last move and have so many options I had given up on ever being able to have again. Samaritan House has given me my life back, along with my daughters, and for that, I will always be eternally grateful! I have learned so many things working with my Case Manager and Counselor, but most of all, I have realized I am not a survivor. I am a warrior who did more then just survive. I won my daughter and I’s life back with Samaritan House and others fighting alongside us. As I start this new journey, I am reminded of Samaritan House’s Director once asking me what I wanted most. My answer was after so long in hiding, I just wanted to sit outside with a cup of coffee and just be. For the first time in 61 months that is what I am going to do! I am going to sit outside and enjoy a cup of coffee while crying tears of joy as I say a prayer of thanks for Samaritan House, and then I am going to walk down a sidewalk, just because I can. Only this time, instead of needing to be invisible, I will hold my head up high and know I am a Samaritan House graduate!
You have the power to help lift up one more victim of violence out of a desperate situation. Please consider showing your support to Samaritan House to fight violence in our Hampton Roads community.