27 year old Charlie was an independent, strong willed person before meeting her partner. She was a California native who loved growing up in Southern California. She was secure in and loved her job as a business associate, and had many hobbies like working out and going to the beach. She cared for herself for as long as she could remember. Even though she was not as close as she wanted to be with her family, she always made it a point to keep in contact and maintain some sort of relationship with them as an adult. After meeting her partner, she was convinced to move out of state to Texas for her partner’s job. That’s when things started to change for Charlie. Charlie got married just 6 months into the relationship and moving in with her partner and had two children shortly after getting married. Her identity changed. For starters her partner didn’t allow her to work and wanted her to be a “stay at home housewife and mother.” Her partner made all the money in the household, but Charlie did not see nor enjoy any of that income both for her and her children. For years, Charlie quietly endured both emotional and physical abuse so that her children wouldn’t know. She would get yelled at and berated on a daily basis and when she tried to stand up for herself she would get badly beaten. Because of the financial abuse, she ended up going into debt, and has since been in heightened state of survival to protect herself and her two children under the age of three.
Knowing that she had no access to support in Texas, one day Charlie built the courage to get in the car with her two children and drive from Texas to California. She wanted to be back in an environment she knew and felt safe in. Unfortunately, her family was not supportive and wanted her to work things out. She even tried with her younger sister, but due to her own struggles, help was nowhere to be found. Charlie went into an emergency shelter in Long Beach but needed something more long term. She was living out of her car with her children for some time until she learned about Human Options’ transitional housing program. Being a strong willed person, Charlie connected with a case manager and advocated for her and her children to be accepted into one of the units.
Since moving to our transitional housing program, Charlie has always been on top of her goals and shows how determined she is to better her life for her and her children. Charlie knows that the journey to healing and full independence will take time but she is committed to everything that’s been offered to her. Since moving into her unit with her children, she has been actively looking for jobs in hopes to start building an income. Although she does not have a reliable source of income yet , she has been working with our partners at Sparkpoint to increase her credit to get herself back on track.
Charlie wants to be better off than when she left her life in Texas and go back to what things were like before getting into the abusive relationship. She has been gradually working to remove the many barriers she’s experienced from the being in a dangerous relationship, to her financial troubles, to rebuilding her support network. Although she is in temporary housing, Charlie and her children are safe, happy, and on the road to a more stable life. Her end goal is finding a good job, her children in daycare, and all of them living in permanent housing.
When Charlie was asked about a quote that speaks to her and her experience, she shared, “Life is like a book, and this is just a chapter. Not every chapter is good. But the end can still be great.” Charlie and her children are now able to go to the beach, live a violence free life and are finally on the journey of healing.