Editor’s Note: This is the first in a series of articles by guest writer Christopher Yingling, marketing intern at The Beaman Home. The series is intended to shed light on the issue of domestic violence in the community. The happenings in this article are entirely true with locations and names changed in order to protect the privacy of the victim.
Dawn was a victim of verbal and emotional abuse from her husband. The harmful words and acidic memories changed her and the family she loved.
Dawn has three daughters, each of whom were directly affected by the abuse that held down their mother for so long.
“Our family is dysfunctional, to say the least,” she said. “The abuse that I went through translated into abusive relationships for them.”
While Dawn and her husband had each realized there were problems to alleviate, their conjunctive therapy sessions did nothing to stop the abusive relationship. “Anytime we’d go through counseling, he would get worse; he didn’t come out like he or I thought he would,” said Dawn. “He would have fits all the time, and it would get worse and worse.”
After 32 years of marriage, Dawn had enough with the abuse. Dawn’s brothers caught wind of her situation and decided enough was enough. Her brothers helped Dawn move out one night, quietly and to the knowledge of no one around her, including her husband and daughters.
“They came, picked me and my things up, and we disappeared with no warning to anyone. And for the most part, I am still ‘disappeared.’”
After leaving her abuser, Dawn began seeing a mental health counselor. The counselor suggested she contact Beaman Home’s DoVe Outreach program for assistance specific to the challenges she faced as she made her journey from domestic violence victim to survivor.
After seeking assistance from the Beaman Home, the DoVE Outreach program and the Basic Needs center, Dawn has found incredible service and assistance to help reclaim her life and her independence.
“The Beaman Home has been very supportive. I attended their self-esteem class. My instructor was a huge help and I was able to connect with one of the residents at the shelter,” she said. “The Basic Needs Center helped supply some food, clothing and household needs, and it’s been a huge help.”
Dawn’s involvement with the Beaman Home and the outreach program has reenergized her and given her a renewed confidence in herself.
“When I was just entering the program, I was walking around like a zombie with my head down. Now, you don’t mess with me. I’ve found this new sense of confidence.”
Thanks to her new sense of self, Dawn has been able to reach out to her husband again after seeing him at a social event. Her renewed confidence has allowed Dawn to be comfortable in communicating and interacting with her husband. The healing she has experienced through her experiences with Beaman Home allows her to be hopeful for the future.
“I don’t know where it’s going to go; I know where I’d like it to go. I’d like the abuse to stop.”
Dawn’s involvement with the Beaman Home and the DoVE Outreach program has inspired her to reach out and send a message to those who are in abusive households but are not actively seeking help.
“You have to let it out and you have to deal with it, face it, and until you’re ready to face it, you can’t move on. Until you face it, you can’t get better or stand on your own two feet,” she said. “I am totally changed. I am entirely different than I was when I came in, but I had to take that first step. The first step is the hardest.”
Dawn’s story of abuse and neglect is one echoed around our community. Domestic violence victims are everywhere, working up the courage to take that first step. For nearly 30 years, Beaman Home has provided shelter and outreach services to domestic violence victims residing in Kosciusko, Fulton and Marshall Counties. Advocates answer the crisis hotline 24/7 and you will have a chance to talk with someone about your options. Please call toll free 877-725-9363.
The Beaman Home’s plans for a new Emergency Shelter and Outreach Center will provide appropriate space in which to shelter victims and their children; and services to help empower them to take that step into a violence-free lifestyle. Beaman is in the final stages of raising the funds necessary to build the facility. You can help. The K21 Health Foundation has committed a cap grant of $250,000 to the campaign and will match all new gifts received between now and Sept. 30. To learn more about Beaman’s plans or to make a contribution to help build the new Emergency Shelter and Outreach Center, please call 574-372-3503 or visit Beaman’s website at www.thebeamanhome.com
For questions regarding this article, contact Tracie Hodson, executive director, at tracie@thebeamanhome.org or 574-372-3503.