Mary is a 32 year-old mother of two children, ages 5 and 8. She was married to her abuser, who is the father of her children, for 10 years. At the beginning of their relationship, he was very kind and made Mary feel special with the amount of attention he paid to her. Things quickly changed, however, and he became very jealous and possessive and began mentally abusing Mary with put-downs and innuendoes. When he asked Mary to marry him and move out of state, Mary rationalized that once they were married, their situation would improve. She couldn't have been more wrong. Once they were married, the abuse became worse and would occasionally get physical. With the pregnancy and birth of Mary's first child, the physical abuse became more frequent and severe.
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One day about 1½ years ago, Mary began to realize the effect that her husband's behavior was having on her children. Although her husband never physically abused the children, they had witnessed his abuse of her for quite some time. She made the difficult decision to leave and after multiple phone calls, she found an emergency shelter, where she stayed for 10 weeks. While in shelter, Mary secured an emergency restraining order against her husband, which led to him counter-filing to get custody of the children. This is still an ongoing issue.
Mary came to TSS from the shelter and within two months secured employment in a professional setting. As Mary had attended college prior to her marriage, additional training before finding a job was not necessary. Her 5 year-old attends the local Head Start program and her 8 year-old attends the local elementary school and our Therapeutic After School program. Mary was able to utilize various local agencies to secure new work-appropriate clothing, a reconditioned automobile, as well as a computer training workshop, upon completion of which she was provided with a computer.
Fifteen months after moving into The Second Step and 1½ years after going into emergency shelter, Mary was offered permanent housing in Newton. Mary is extremely proud that 18 months after leaving everything behind, she has rebuilt her life and is self-sufficient. She is working, earning a good income, has a home and an automobile, and is able to provide for herself and her children. Mary feels that her biggest accomplishment is evident in her children, who are happy, healthy and thriving.