|Veronica had suffered years of abuse at the hands of her son’s father when she was 15 years old. The abuse continued from verbal to emotional and Veronica had no control over her life and body. She became pregnant at the age of 16 and gave birth to her son Gavin. Veronica knew this would be no life to build for Gavin.
During a violent incident, Veronica’s partner grabbed her by the chest and pushed her onto the wall. He shouted at Veronica to leave his home and that she better not be there when he got back. Veronica knew that those threats were not empty words. In the past he had threatened to kill her and “dispose of her body” where nobody would ever find her. Scared and unsure of what he would do to her she packed her things and left the home with her son. Veronica walked to the police station to report the abuse, but the officers were unable to help. Unsure of where to go with her son she walked to a park where a woman told her about the CHEC Family Resource Center.
Veronica entered the CHEC Family Resource Center where she found safety for her and her son for the first time in a long time. She got help from a family support advocate who helped her in receiving a couple of nights at a motel until she could get into an emergency shelter. Through the collaborative work that Human Options provides through the Family Resource Centers, Veronica was connected with our Legal Advocacy Supervisor who was able to support in getting Veronica and Gavin to our emergency shelter.
At the shelter, Veronica participated in the Personal Empowerment Program (PEP), counseling, case management, and legal advocacy. Through legal advocacy Veronica learned about her rights and felt empowered to file a police report against her Gavin’s father. Veronica also filed a Domestic Violence Temporary Restraining Order (DVTRO) and obtained a one-year order against Gavin’s father. Through the DVTRO Veronica obtained full legal and physical custody of Gavin. Veronica attended an immigration clinic where she learned about her rights and her son’s.
Over the last several months Veronica has overcome her fear of the outside world. She started to use public transportation, something she was afraid of when she entered the shelter.
Veronica’s next steps are to find employment to provide a better life for her and Gavin. She is continuing with our services and support in hopes to find permanent housing for her and her son in the near future.
“I have to do this, I can’t be afraid all the time, I can do this.“ – Veronica, Mother, Survivor
By: Arezoo Shahbazi Roa, Prevention & Community Education Director One in every three teenagers will experience physical, sexual, or emotional abuse in a romantic relationship. Unfortunately, due to a lack