Advocating for Domestic Abuse, and Not Seeing She is in it Herself

Jun 24, 2019 | by Kristal Knudtson

With a background in education and social work Sharron never thought domestic violence could happen to her.

Sharron states, “It was a slow progression that started with subtle manipulation. It escalated into absolute control that I felt I could not escape. Domestic abuse can happen to anyone no matter their race, gender, social class or educational background. The physical abuse is rough but bruises disappear. The emotional abuse stays with you especially if a sound or smell reminds you of the traumatic experience”

In Sharron’s case the abuse started with a verbal breaking down of character and self-esteem. Her abuser isolated her and convinced her to move away from her family and friends. He promised that he would keep her safe and she would have a better  life; The complete opposite happened.   Threats increased to extreme isolation and stating he would kill her son or her. It began to get physical. Sharron left when her abuser chased her son with a knife and her son fell down the stairs.

The next day Sharron left when she could obtain a ride. She took her son from the school bus, and left with a few clothes and important paper work.  She and her son went to Harbor House where staff gave her local housing services she could apply for. That is how she came to Salvation Army and starting working with Salvation Army employees  Mindy Howell and Joe Van Roy through Scattered-Site Housing/TBRA. This program helped her secure a Section 8 voucher and stabilize her mental health. She then transitioned to Pathway of Hope. Sharron explains that “Pathway of Hope helps me feel like I am a human being, makes me feel normalized, and makes me feel like I’m not the only person that something bad has happened too.” The Pathway of Hope (POH) program at Salvation Army – Fox Cities provides families with case management and supportive services while assisting them towards self-sufficiency and personal accountability.

“I like that the people at The Salvation Army actually care. They don’t see me as a number and they don’t push religion on me.  Any other program I went to that was religious based pushed what they believed onto me. The Salvation Army does good, from the heart with the foundation of faith but does not push it on anyone. Staff make me feel like it’s not something that I did wrong but it’s something wrong that happened to me. ”

Looking back, Sharron says with tears in her eyes, “he made me believe that I wasn’t good enough to be with him.  He told me that “he would help me become a better person, but instead he sucked the breath out of me.”

We asked Sharron what she wants the community or society to know about domestic abuse? Sharron answers, “it is NOT the person’s fault. In my situation, if the police didn’t’ arrest him, this would still be going on.  The police made him accountable for doing something against the law.  Our society in general makes it seem like abuse is okay.  it’s not okay.  No one deserves to be abused. It needs to be taught by others the do’s and don’ts of how to treat each other in a relationship.”

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