Clara's Story

From Fear to Freedom

Clara, a young mother in her early 20s, was quarantined with her abusive husband during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. It started with verbal abuse, and then the occasional “tap” because she “deserved it” for angering him.

Her husband strictly limited her contact with the outside world, as abusers often do, so she had very few friends and no one to confide in. The violence escalated to the point where neighbors could hear her husband beating her.

Her isolation was compounded by the mandatory lockdowns imposed by the coronavirus pandemic.

She was terrified of her husband, but she was also afraid to take her young daughter and leave for fear of catching the deadly virus.

She felt truly alone.

One night, after her husband beat her in front of her daughter, Clara knew she was in a life-or-death situation. She slipped away while he slept and called Center for Hope and Safety’s 24-hour hotline. She and her daughter were admitted to our Safe House emergency shelter in the middle of the night.

As part of CHS’ mandatory COVID-19 safety protocol, Clara and her child were temporarily placed in a hotel to protect her and the residents of the Safe House from possible infection. Knowing she was under the care and protection of CHS’ expert and compassionate staff provided a welcome sense of safety and security. For the first time in a long while, she slept easier at night. The next day, the CHS team contacted the local police department to get a restraining order against Clara’s abusive husband. CHS’ Program Director, Legal Department, and Domestic Violence Liaisons advocated on her behalf, and she was granted a Temporary Restraining Order.

With the legal power of the courts behind her and CHS on her side, Clara could begin to rebuild her life.

When she’s ready, Clara will move with her daughter into one of our safe, confidential Transitional Housing apartments. She will get help finding a job and permanent housing through our Economic Empowerment Team. Our Community Services Department will provide food, clothing, diapers, and anything else she might need once she’s out on her own, breaking the cycle of violence and rebuilding a new life for herself and her daughter.

Every step of the way, CHS will be right by Clara’s side, offering the support, counseling and, most of all, the HOPE she needs to live free from domestic violence.