At Safe Connections, we often say we provide life-changing services to survivors of domestic and sexual violence. There’s no better example of this than a former client sharing her story. Take a moment to meet Cecelia.
My name is Cecelia. I completed Safe Connections’ counseling program a little over a year ago. I’m sharing my story with you today in the hopes of doing some good for other survivors of abuse out there. I hope you will help me pay it forward.
I am a college professor. I raised my three children in West County with my abusive husband. I didn’t think of myself as abused. The Ballwin police were the first to name it after I called 911 fearing for my safety one night. An officer suggested on two occasions that I call Safe Connections before I actually did. And it saved my life.
I considered my husband a bully, but because he never hit me, I didn’t think he was abusive. I didn’t see myself as someone in an abusive relationship. It took me awhile to come to terms with what the police saw so clearly. It took me even longer to realize that I didn’t have to feel ashamed.
My husband was a master at controlling my life. Over two decades of marriage, he became increasingly cruel and manipulative. He had always been verbally abusive and isolated me from friends and family. But it got worse. He began sabotaging my work, turning our children against me because I was “so stupid.” He started ruining our finances, secretly spending our life’s savings on gaming and alcohol.
Shortly before I left for good, he almost killed me through what I learned is called medical neglect. For 24 hours, he refused to call 911 or take me to the ER, even as I begged for help. After he finally took me in and promptly left, an ER staffer handed me a Safe Connections Crisis Helpline card.
As I explained that I was already in therapy at Safe Connections, I thought, “Wow. How is this for a final wake up call?” After that, I left my husband as soon as I could.
My therapist at Safe Connections is one of my heroes. I owe her my life. She never told me what to do. She never told me to leave. She helped me to see my strengths. To see my own power. To make my own choices. She helped me find yoga, which I know seems like a small thing, but for me it has been huge.
Safe Connections helped me figure out how I could make a safer, better life for myself and my children. The fact that all services were free meant everything to me because my husband’s control over our money was absolute.
I’m happy now, living in another state, making a great living doing work that I love and enjoying renewed relationships with my children. My life is so much better. And Safe Connections helped me realize I deserve this.
I want other survivors to be able to experience a happy ending. I love my life now, and I want others to be able to get there, too. Please consider giving to Safe Connections this holiday season. I give every month, and now you know why. I am so grateful. Please join me in helping others who want to do the hard work of rebuilding their lives. We are all worthy of help.
Thank you for caring and reading my story. I hope you can help. Your help is crucial for survivors like me.