I’ll never forget the Pennsylvania State Police trooper who used to stop by the restaurant where I worked in the mid-‘90s. His wife worked there, too, and one day, while he was waiting for her to finish her shift, he asked me, “If you could do anything in the world, what would you do?”
“I’d leave my husband,” I said, surprised at myself for being so personal, but he was kind, and I knew he sensed the emotional pain I was in.
He looked at me and smiled, and said, “You know, when you believe you’re worth it, you’ll do it.”
Not long after that, I had become so depressed that I was struggling to keep it all together. I knew I needed some counseling, but I couldn’t afford it, so I called the local women’s center, a place like Safe Passage, to see if they knew of any community mental health resources.
I told the nice woman who answered the phone what I was looking for, and told her I didn’t need the center’s services, just to find out about these other resources.
She was very kind and asked me some questions. She gently probed and learned some things about my life that I didn’t tell anyone.
She found out that my husband wasn’t very nice to me, that he didn’t hit me, but he got very angry, very often. He would go into rages and throw things at me.
She learned he wouldn’t let me get the mail or open it, that he made me give him all the money I made, and then doled out just enough to me to buy food.
She found out he tracked my every move and that when I worked nights at the restaurant, he came and sat at the bar and drank. Then he made me use my tips to pay his bar tab.
I admitted to her that I was afraid of him.
Then she said something that shook me to my core: “You might not have bruises, but honey, you’re a battered woman.”
She told me they could help me, that I didn’t have to live this way, that I should come talk to them. I told her I was scared to, but I’d think about it.
I hung up the phone and began to sob. That woman told me something I knew but couldn’t admit to myself. That phone call was a turning point for me.
It took some time, but I was finally able to leave that marriage, and today, my life is better than I ever could have imagined back during those difficult days.
That woman on the phone at the women’s center knew something I didn’t. She knew that those dark chapters of my life didn’t have to be the ending. She knew I had the power to change the narrative. She knew I was worthwhile.
Just by answering the phone and talking to me, she helped me save my life.
Safe Passage does this every day. They help survivors of domestic abuse and sexual violence find the power to say, “This is not how my story ends.”
Safe Passage also provides education and awareness to help prevent those dark chapters from ever being written.
Join me in supporting Safe Passage and help survivors know they are worthwhile.
Let’s support good in the world and make a difference.
Just a small donation will go a long way to helping me meet my goal for Safe Passage.