Survivor Stories

In her own words
“Elizabeth Stone house was my only support at a time when I felt like I had no one to turn to. When my case manager first referred me to ESH I was scared. For so long I kept my situation a secret and I felt ashamed to share my story.

When I got to groups everything was set up to accommodate me. With the child care alone I was able to get a moment to process and heal with other women who knew first-hand what I was feeling. Hearing everyone share their experience unapologetically, made the difference. I realized a lot from attending those groups.

While the groups were so helpful, I decided that working one-on-one with someone would be best for me. Jackie was amazing and was there for me whenever I needed her, whether it was a “back-to-school” allowance for my son or meeting me at court for a court date just to support me. She guided me through some of the toughest times in my life. One thing I always admired was her ability to tell me like it was without offending me or victimizing me. She didn’t treat me like a client and I appreciated that.

ESH has been a true blessing and has pushed me to accomplish great things. Even after all I have gone through I am looking forward to the future and I know ESH will be there with open arms if I ever need them. I want to thank everyone who took a moment to listen to me and I want to thank Jackie for being the reason why I became involved. I am forever thankful for your continued dedication to serve your community. Now that I am stable I look forward to furthering my education. I will be applying to Simmons College this January to pursue my MSW. I hope to one day give back to my community with the same compassion ESH showed me. I am going to dedicate my life to empowering at-risk women!”

—former community client; award winner of 2016 You Did It! award

Tammy
Tammy* was referred to the community department at the Elizabeth Stone House after she was raped on the street near our building. Case management staff worked closely with her to assess her needs, and she began attending Domestic Violence and Anger Management support groups as well as individual counseling.

After engaging with services surrounding her trauma for some time, her housing situation began to surface as a more pressing issue. At the time, Tammy, 22 years-old, and her daughter were living in a shelter. The Elizabeth Stone House paid for her first month’s rent to get her out of shelter and into her own apartment. Soon after, however, she began receiving complaints from her neighbors who rose concerns about loud music and substance use, which were grounds for eviction.

When the conflict arose, Tammy began working with Jackie, the stabilization case manager at the Elizabeth Stone House, to meet with her about her housing. Jackie was able to mediate the situation by listening to her complaints and the complaints of her neighbors. Her landlord chose not to evict her and instead moved her to a different unit in the building as a compromise.

Tammy and her daughter been living together in their own apartment now for four months. While Tammy continues to struggle with substance abuse and trauma related to her rape, she has been able to not only keep her housing, but has also kept her job and her daughter still attends school regularly. When she does find herself in the midst of a crisis, which still happens, she calls case managers at the Stone House who help her assess the situation and provide any necessary supports.

Tammy is grateful to be able to live in her own apartment with her daughter. Her mother, who lives close by, has also noticed a significant change in Tammy. She reports that without the support services in place, her daughter would not be nearly as mentally, emotionally, or spiritually sound as she is now. Tammy still faces many challenges ahead, but she remains motivated to stay the course and reach out for help when she needs it.

Alice
Alice* is a woman in her early 20’s and single. She was referred to us from one of her service providers when she was living in Woods-Mullen shelter in Boston’s South End, where she found respite after she broke up with an abusive ex-boyfriend. She began seeing Page Clark, director of community programming, for one-on-one counseling sessions to deal with her experiences with domestic violence and trauma. After working with Page for some time, Page referred her to Yuri, Spanish-language community stabilization case manager at the Elizabeth Stone House, because she wanted to stabilize her life and reconnect to her Puerto Rican heritage.

Alice participated in Money Smart classes where she learned how to manage a bank account, create a budget, and save for the future. These classes, along with individual financial coaching sessions and other support services, have helped her to stabilize her income, build her self-esteem and secure permanent housing. She has even used her savings to buy a plane ticket to Puerto Rico; her first trip to the country where she will get to spend time with extended family. Today, she is a confident young woman who his proud of her heritage, despite her violent past, and she has the skills she needs to build her future.

Tasha
After years without her own home and repeated attempts to fully break free from her abuser, Tasha* now has her own apartment for herself and six-year-old daughter.

“I took Olivia* this weekend to see the apartment and she was so happy! She cried and said she is so proud of us! I couldn’t have done this without you and the Elizabeth Stone House. This was the BEST Mother’s Day of my life!”

That’s what Tasha wrote in the spring of this year to Ruthy Rollins, who coordinates survivor outreach for Stone House. In early 2016 Tasha was referred to Ruthy and the Stone House through another local agency.

Tasha was raised in an abusive environment. As a child, her father abused her mother, Tasha and her siblings. The family would attempt to escape, but because of financial insecurity, her mother would return to her father. As a teenager, Tasha moved in with family friends. Eventually, she began a relationship with someone in the home. He would later become the father to her only child, and also Tasha’s abuser.

Tasha spent years trying to evade him and in doing so, found herself homeless, constantly couch-surfing and seeking new places to stay. Then she found the Elizabeth Stone House. For months, Tasha attended support groups and worked closely with Ruthy, receiving intense individual counseling. They worked together on keeping her and her daughter as safe as possible. Ruthy guided her to see the connection between her abuse and her homelessness, as well as its impact on Olivia who witnessed much of the abuse.

Tasha learned how to maintain a job while facing domestic violence, thereby preserving financial independence. And in May of this year, she and Olivia moved into their very own apartment.

Angelica
When Angelica* arrived at the Elizabeth Stone House at six months, she had missed every developmental milestone. Even among our kids, her symptoms were extreme. Angelica spent countless hours each week with staff and teachers in our Parent Child Center, a program that offers children and their families a therapeutic, supportive environment to grow and rebuild. And now, about two years later, she’s exactly where she should be. She meets her caregiver’s gaze, she communicates with words, she can follow instructions, she walks and often times, she runs!

*name changed to protect confidentiality

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