By: Pave Sweet Thanks Committee
If survivors of domestic violence had a face, a name, a family, a home, a job and were able to share their feelings and their history, would the world take more notice? If the recipients of services at PAVE (People Against a Violent Environment) had a story behind their survivorship, would our community take more notice? As the annual Sweet Thanks fundraiser planning is underway for 2016, PAVE would like you to meet one of their past clients. By sharing her story, you may more fully begin to understand the weight of the decision for a victim to come forward and break out of their situation.
How did you first hear about PAVE? I heard about PAVE through another domestic violence shelter. PAVE was willing to help and the shelter is closer to my area.
How long did you take to consider utilizing their services? A couple of weeks.
If it took you a couple of weeks to consider PAVE’s services, what kept you from seeking a shelter immediately? It was getting here. It’s pretty hard traveling with 8 children, and I was scared.
How many days, months or years were you abused before you came to PAVE? My first time being abused was at 18 years old. I was abused by my kids’ father for 12 years.
How do you feel your abuser felt about his abusing you? Please help readers understand what the abuser might be thinking if possible. He used to say, “I barely touched you!” or tell me if I kept my mouth closed it wouldn’t happen.
What are three words used to describe your feelings or situation before you sought out PAVE? Scared, confused, worried.
Did you plan to bring your children with you to PAVE or did you come alone? How did that affect your decision? I waited until he went to work and left. I have custody of the kids and I would have never left without them.
What was your journey from the first moments you stepped inside PAVE to now? It was scary walking through the doors, but they showed me and my kids so much love they made it a little easier.
Who did you meet that helped you get acclimated and feel safe? Ashley, who took me and my kids in and made me feel a little better when I arrived here.
How did Ashley make you feel better? (Did she hug you, give you chocolate, just say comforting words and reassure you in some certain way to make you feel safe?) She was the first person I saw and she welcomed me. It calmed me down a little.
If I’m a new client at PAVE, what do I have to do when I get to PAVE? Will I have to complete paperwork? Do I have to be accepted or put on a wait list and come back later? Do I get to choose a space/room for me or my kids or is that chosen for me? Do I have to find my own meals, clothing, medicine? You do have to fill out papers when you get here. With everything I was going through, I didn’t really care about my room. I was happy to be away from my abuser.
Did you have to pay for services provided by PAVE? Was there any cost? You don’t have to pay for any services you receive at PAVE. I worried about how we were going to make it to PAVE with no money, but it turned out okay.
What services did you find most helpful? The advocates…just listening and hearing what it feels like to be abused.
How long did you stay at PAVE or was that determined for you? There is a time limit, but the staff here are willing to work with you.
Did you get to interact with other PAVE clients there? If so, what did you learn about them or yourself through the experience? Even though we come from all walks of life and come to PAVE for different reasons, we all are survivors of abuse.
What would you tell other women who consider seeking out PAVE? Do it. The staff will not judge you, no matter what.
What are three words describe your feelings or situation after you received services from PAVE? Calm, motivated, ready.
What minimal info can you tell us about yourself? I’m a woman, I have 8 kids, and I feel like I can try. I never thought I was able, but I now feel I am.
How are you doing today? What ongoing things are you doing for yourself and your situation now? I’m about to start my CNA classes and trying to start a new life for my kids and I.
What are 3 goals you hope to achieve in “your new life,” as you suggested you will find on this side of receiving help? 1) Go back to school, 2) Get a job and 3) Find a house for my kids and I.
Why should someone donate to PAVE to keep services going? Because of women like me who need help. There are so many women out there being abused; more than you guys can imagine. We need more places like PAVE out there.
PAVE is about saving lives and empowering those affected by violence. The community is invited to attend the annual Sweet Thanks event scheduled for March 4, 2016 at Chapel of the Archangels in Beaver Dam. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 each and available for purchase at Rechek’s Food Pride, Piggly Wiggly and Black Waters Coffee. Attendees will enjoy a live dessert auction, silent basket auction, appetizers and door prizes. The event concludes at 8 p.m. The event is sponsored by Animart and Beaver Dam Women’s Health.