Reba*, 12 year old son Austin*, and 9 year old son Robbie* do the usual things: homework, family dinners, household chores, but this wasn’t always what life looked like for them. Before, their lives were filled with hunger, fear, nightmares and abuse. Before, they were prisoners in their own home.
Reba’s husband, Kyle* controlled every aspect of her life. Kyle wouldn’t allow Reba access to their money. He wouldn’t let her have a job. When Reba’s mother sent her money, Kyle would take it. Kyle refused to allow Reba to use the money from her mother to purchase clothing for their sons. Even though Reba qualified for food assistance, Kyle denied food for her and their children. He used her food assistance to get food solely for himself. Kyle hid the family’s birth certificates and other legal documents so Reba and the kids would not leave.
If Reba displeased him, Kyle would beat her. He often left Reba bruised and bloodied. He not only left physical scars, but humiliated her by abusing her in front of others. Kyle’s mother, brother, and sister often witnessed the abuse and did nothing. Reba never told the police because she was afraid her husband would kill her. Kyle used to threaten Reba: “You’re never going to leave me, you don’t have anywhere to go.
When Reba learned of the YWCA, she knew that she did, in fact, have somewhere to go.
Reba summoned her courage to leave Kyle and his abuse. She took the boys to the YWCA Emergency Shelter. At the YWCA, she worked with her advocate to connect with legal counsel, transitional housing, food, education and support for her sons. Reba found hope. She was able to get back on her feet, reclaim their important legal documents, reconnect with her own mother and get a secure apartment that is now their home. Her sons are enrolled in school, have made friends and are happy.
“My life changed when I found the YWCA,” Reba said. “They helped me and my sons begin a new life with good memories, friends, and confidence. Now I am in control of my own life.”
*Names have been changed to maintain confidentiality.