WCCS helps women and children discover the path to new, safe, fulfilling lives. Read these victim’s stories of escape, recovery, and success.
Samantha Breaking the Silence
“Samantha” and her three children entered WCCS through the Department of Children and Family Services. The 8-year-old son disclosed in school that his stepfather tried to strangle him. When police arrived at the home, they found the pregnant mother severely battered as well. During client’s stay in shelter, the mother was able receive therapy, support group, parenting classes. She was given intense case management and thus had success in all areas of advocacy: medical, financial, and legal. The two oldest children received therapy, art therapy, and on-site schooling as provided by the city school district. Ultimately, after many children’s court hearings, mother and children were allowed to return to their home in Hawaii. Her batterer received one year in jail and now has a criminal restraining order against him for 5 years and may not leave the state of California for that time.
Marta Reaching Across the Language Barrier
“Marta” came into our shelter with her one-year-old son. She spoke no English, and no one on staff spoke her native tongue. For three years she had endured belittlement, emotionally battering, and physically beatings. Her closed community offered no support and left her nowhere to turn since she was the only one of her family in this country.
Her husband, a United States citizen, had brought her here after they were married but had never petitioned for her citizenship. He constantly threatened her with deportation and separation from her son if she didn’t do exactly as he ordered. “Marta” found the help of a trusted clergyman who told her how to get to safety and promised not to betray her. When she found us in a few weeks, we connected with agencies that could help Marta in her own language.
“Marta” did everything right, but the system seemed to conspire against her. An order to appear in immigration court was not delivered to her attorney, and she was threatened with deportation. Our wonderful staff worked non-stop to straighten out each and every glitch. By the time Marta’s 45-days were up at the emergency shelter, we had a transitional home for her and her son.
“Marta’s” dream was to go back to school. As soon as the papers came through, she enrolled at a local college and has excelled at every course. She is working on her citizenship and continues with her schooling at the same time. We know that Marta will succeed and build a bright future for herself and her son.
Becky Getting Control of Her Life Back
“Becky” reached out to us after a prolonged period of sporadic physical abuse, daily emotional abuse, and threats of taking her son away − all from her then boyfriend.
Upon entering our shelter, “Becky” was depressed and overwhelmed, a condition that isn’t uncommon for people in her situation. As time went by though, she felt more comfortable and safe. Thanks to the legal action our staff took on her behalf and intense therapy from our in-house counselors and therapists, you could see her confidence emerge. With each day she became stronger and more determined.
One day, during a weekly workshop, “Becky” shared something that had been bothering her. “Becky” often wore a jacket with her hair tucked under the hood that kept her bleached white hair hidden. The state of her hair wasn’t her choice. It was something her boyfriend demanded. That day “Becky” revealed “the mirror is a constant reminder that he is still with me, still trying to control me.”
Her reflection, was like a ball and chain that she was being forced to drag around, and we needed to change that.
We reached out to a local salon, where one of the stylists volunteered to donate his time, providing a professional treatment, dye, and cut.
When “Becky” finally saw her new chestnut-colored-hair-reflection,” she was exuberant. Her words moved the whole staff. “I feel happy, I feel beautiful…I feel human again”.
“Becky” stayed with our shelter a few more weeks, continuing down the road to recovery, before ultimately entering into a long-term transitional shelter. A letter from her reminds us that what WCCS offers is often a transition from helpless victim to happy, independent person. In “Becky’s” words:
“Breaking the cycle of violence is a difficult journey but it’s not impossible! I’ve learned so much. My mind is now filled with positive affirmations, dreams, and goals. Don’t get discouraged. Always think about what you want out of this life; set yourself goals. I know that you’ll be able to achieve them! I’ve always said that good things come at a hard price. But the end result will be greatness and happiness because you knew you could do it. Much luck.”