Stories of Hope: Zara’s Story
Research has shown that following a disaster the rate and severity of domestic abuse can increase significantly. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Center for Hope and Safety has remained committed to ensuring that safety and support is only a phone call away, 24 hours a day, 7 days per week, for the adults and children who seek refuge from domestic violence.
During the pandemic, one of our newest clients is Zara*. Zara is a young mother of a seven month-old daughter, who was quarantined with her abusive husband. As the quarantine lengthened his stress increased and the violence escalated to the point where neighbors could hear him beating her from inside their homes. They tried to help. They called the police. Zara’s husband threatened her with more violence if she said anything against him, so she was silent.
As abusers often do, Zara’s husband strictly limited her contact with the outside world. Zara had no local family and very few friends. Zara’s isolation was exacerbated by the mandatory lockdown imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. She was truly alone.
Zara wanted to talk to someone, but her husband was always around, watching her. One night, he left the house and she saw her chance at freedom. She locked herself in the bathroom and called Center for Hope and Safety’s 24-hour hotline, but her husband returned home early and caught her. He smashed Zara’s phone and beat her again.
She knew it was a life or death situation, and she had to get away for her own safety and that of her baby daughter. She slipped away as her husband slept and called the police and Center for Hope and Safety’s 24-hour hotline again. She and her baby were admitted to our Safe House emergency shelter in the middle of the night. Knowing she was under the care and protection of Center for Hope and Safety’s expert and compassionate staff gave her a welcome sense of safety and security. For the first time in a long while, she told the staff, she slept easy at night.
The next day, Center for Hope and Safety’s team contacted the local police department to get a restraining order against Zara’s abusive husband. With our Program Director, in-house Legal Department, and Domestic Violence Liaisons advocating on her behalf, she was granted a Temporary Restraining Order. With the legal power of the courts behind her and Center for Hope and Safety on her side, Zara could begin to rebuild her life.
There were a few things Zara needed to get from her former home, including a swing her baby daughter needed to help her sleep. We coordinated with law enforcement and paid for transportation so that Zara could go back to the house to get the things she needed with a police escort. It was a major step toward personal empowerment for Zara to walk back into that house and get the things she had left behind in her desperate haste to escape her husband’s cruelty.
When Zara left that day, she did not look back. She was free.
Our staff will be with her as long as she needs, providing her with support, counseling, and most of all, hope, so she can build a new life for herself and her daughter, free from domestic violence.
Support our Time of Hope Challenge
Center for Hope and Safety is committed to ensuring that safety and support is only a phone call away, 24 hours a day, 7 days per week, for the adults and children who seek refuge from domestic violence. We need your support to make that happen. Please make a gift to our Time of Hope Challenge and help keep our doors open to those who need refuge from domestic violence during this difficult time and throughout the year. Thank you.