The pain sears in Emily’s broken wrist as the police officer gently asks her questions. She rubs her belly as hot tears roll down her face. We’re having a baby, why is he doing this?
“Has he threatened to kill you?” says the officer. “Has he strangled you? Is there a gun in the home?” As she answers yes to these and more the gravity of her situation becomes heavier.
The police officer is using an assessment tool to screen for lethality. She scores high. That’s not good. Her life is in danger. Grave danger. Can you imagine? The officer dials the local YWCA helpline on her cell phone and hands it back to her. The warm comforting voice on the other offers her refuge at the shelter you make possible. This is a desperately welcome change for her and the baby that is coming soon.
Arriving at the shelter. Emily arrives at the shelter later that day and is introduced to Autumn, her advocate. Autumn receives her unconditionally and positively. With empathy she senses the client is broken. But because of you the mission to empower women is alive and resolute. Emily is shown her room, the laundry, and where the dining room is located. She receives new pillows and sheets. A supply of shampoo, toothpaste and the like are given to her. She settles in. We are safe now.
Emily enrolls in classes for our domestic violence program. Develops her safety plan. Learns her true worth. Understands how to cope. How to heal. Knows her rights and the community resources you make available. In time she enters transitional housing at YWCA. During this time her daughter is born. Prematurely. And doctors believe the complications may be due to the ridiculous violent trauma she experienced.
Emily’s adorable newborn girl coos as she snuggles her in a new hand tied blanket. Surrounded by a changing table, baby swing and dresser full of cute clothes. All your kind donations. Emily is fighting back for a new life. A better life for her and her baby. Momma bear grows stronger. Within a month she lands a new job at a gas station and works her way up to Assistant Store Manager.
Feeling more secure and with good intentions she tries to set up co-parenting. She also wants her daughter to have a relationship with her father’s grandparents, so she makes the trip to Chicago. The drive and visit are fine. Then it happens. I shudder to tell you. The father, the batter, convinces Emily to leave the baby with her grandparents while they go out.
It’s a brisk March evening as she drives. Arguing starts. Suddenly, he points a gun. He aims it at Emily and she feels the heated car suddenly turn cold. As cold as ice. He’s yelling but it doesn’t register. Is it loaded? Oh my baby girl. He looks forward as she slams the brakes. Emily bolts out the driver door. He grabs her leg. She kicks free onto the road. She scrambles to her feet and waves as she runs toward the car in front of her for help. As the driver in the car ahead turns around the batter slides
into the driver’s seat and takes off. She frantically looks around and sees the fire station. Emily bangs on the door until it opens.
Emily receives housing assistance from a YWCA grant and works with her social worker Jasmine to position herself for success. She also takes out a protective order against the batter. She is moving forward, gaining strength. And power.
The road sometimes bends. Sometimes forks. Sometimes it’s blocked. However, you make the work at the YWCA North Central Indiana possible. It is critically important, and it doesn’t stop. It helps, tremendously. Violence in the home is outrageous. And now more than ever women and children need you. They are surviving and changing their lives for the better with the programs and services you support. Now with COVID-19, matters are made worse. But there is still hope. There is a great help. You hide them in your wings. Thank you, for your care and kindness. For your generous heart toward women and children.