Beautiful Not Broken
Three survivors of domestic shared their stories of how Helpmate has impacted their new lives.
Please be advised that this story includes an actual account of violence experienced by survivors, small children and babies.
He took me apart, piece by piece. Broken heart, shattered dreams, crushed spirit. Small, fractured, afraid, isolated. His obsessive, controlling behavior overwhelmed me and made me feel desperate and constantly on edge. I lost myself. I knew that no matter how I placated him, no matter what promises he made, no matter how I tried to shield my children, it would never be enough. Crushing despair gripped me as my voice was ignored and no help was given when I cried out. Blame and shame were heaped on me everywhere I turned. Excuses for HIS behavior and how I could change was the advice most freely dispensed. I was dismissed, marginalized, chastised, and discouraged.
I don’t know where I found the courage to call Helpmate’s hotline. I believe that the people I encountered at Helpmate and our Buncombe County Family Justice Center saved my life. The support I received there has changed my perspective
and my path and has empowered me to pick up the pieces of myself that are worthy and valuable to create a different future. I know now that I am brave. I am a protective mother. I am strong. I am your sister in this fight. I am an active and outspoken advocate. I no longer look over my shoulder in fear. I choose to look forward, to be a warrior and to raise my voice against the power and control of domestic violence. I am resilient and hopeful, despite the cracks and dents that shaped my story.
I am no longer broken, I am beautiful.
After being set up on a blind date by a friend, my life was forever changed. In the beginning, I thought, “Wow-this is an ideal relationship!” My first clue that something was wrong was when he didn’t pick me up from work after using my car for the day. Asking him about the car turned out to be a big mistake. After going to bed, he flipped the entire bed over with me in it. When I went to the doctor to get checked out, I found out I was pregnant with our daughter. While I was pregnant, his jealousy and control went through the roof. He assaulted me again during my second pregnancy, pinning me down on the steps and telling me to never think of leaving him. What he did not know is I already had plans to leave. My next door neighbor recently left an abusive relationship and she told me about Helpmate.
My abuser left us alone for weeks at a time, and I was hopeful that he would stay away, but he left a voicemail telling me he would be in my apartment waiting on me. One night, I woke up to the sound of glass shattering. My daughter woke up and was crying. When I saw his hand coming through a broken window to unlock the front door, I began banging on the wall hoping my neighbor would call 911.I ran down the steps yelling, “Please don’t do this!” He went straight for a knife in the kitchen. My neighbor ran over in time to see my abuser swinging the knife at me. Our daughter was screaming, “No, Daddy!” and we could hear police sirens. He knew he was outnumbered, so he dropped the knife and ran. Helpmate saved our lives nineteen years ago after the police took us to the Helpmate shelter. I completed an eighteen month program through Helpmate that allowed me to work, go back to school, and save money. I was able to get my power back.
My name is Joy, I was an Army Airborne Mechanic in the 82nd Airborne Division. My story takes place around the time of my exit from the army.
In 2005, I met a man in my Basic Leadership course for the military said all of the right things. We planned a future together and I ended up pregnant with his child in 2009 while still serving. He told me not to worry and that he would take care of both me and the baby.
That was until one night I came home and he accused me of cheating on him. He beat and assaulted me. I ended up losing the baby and he faced no repercussions even though I informed our commanding officer. We got sent on a deployment in 2009 and were placed in the same room. That same room is where he would later threaten me with a sniper rifle after telling me he was going to commit suicide.
In 2010, I got pregnant again with a son. It wasn’t until he threatened my baby with a knife that I finally decided to leave because I had someone other than myself to protect. I called my sister and mother and finally told them everything. They stayed on the phone with me the whole drive to my sister’s house. I felt as though he was going to come after me and kill me.
It took me many years and lots of therapy to finally feel ready to give support to someone else. I had always known that supporting other survivors was what I needed to do because no one was there to save me and that feeling was lonely, overwhelming, depressing, and real. I have chosen to work with Helpmate because I am ready to help a survivor get that “saved,” feeling I never got and get to their happily ever after like I was able to get.
Helpmate works with the community to eliminate abuse and fear by providing safety, shelter, and support for victims/survivors of intimate partner domestic violence.
Helpmate has worked with Our VOICE, Mountain Child Advocacy Center, Pisgah Legal Services, and a community-based task force to implement the Pathways to Prevention Plan. The Plan is the first of its type in NC, using CDC-endorsed strategies to prevent domestic violence, sexual assault and child maltreatment. The organization aims to teach residents of Buncombe County how to form healthy relationships, resolve conflicts without violence, and respect boundaries so that we end the cycle of domestic violence.