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How could I have missed the signs?

Sunday, May 4, 2014 – a day I wish I could forget.

It was my daughter’s birthday. She called me before I had a chance to call her. I don’t know what I expected her to say after she opened with, “Mom, I have something to tell you and I need your help”. I never imagined what she would say next.

She began . . . “I’m calling from a Starbucks outside an emergency room. I have a broken arm and need to see a specialist. Jay and I had a fight and he pushed me. I landed against a wall. The boys saw what happened and were crying, so I tended to them. Because my arm continued to swell, I took a cab to the hospital. By then, Jay had returned home with flowers, was much calmer and was apologizing over and over again.”

This phone call was the beginning of my first hand crash course on a topic I knew nothing about: domestic abuse.

For the next 30 minutes, I listened in disbelief. Then, I booked a flight and flew out west. I was shocked by what I saw was a “shell” of my daughter’s former self. My vibrant, self-assured, accomplished daughter “got lost”. How could I have missed the signs? I learned that this was the 4th time in two years he had physically attacked her. (I knew Jay was controlling—he even dictated what shampoo she used—but never did I realize that she was being abused.) She explained that because he had to control everything, it became easier for her to just go along with him than to argue.

Luckily, my story has a happy ending. My daughter and her sons had access to amazing support and counseling from a domestic violence agency. My daughter is once again the strong, successful, independent woman I know her to be. She loves life! My grandsons received counseling and have found their own healing.

Although I wish I could forget the days before Mother’s Day in 2014 when I joined my daughter’s broken family, I look forward to this Mother’s Day with joy and celebration.

I support Safe Harbor because of what I have learned first-hand. I’ve seen the value of providing safety, support and empowerment for families exposed to domestic abuse.

I’ve personally witnessed the positive impact of helping victims to lay a foundation toward their future. But most importantly, I have joined a critical effort to combat domestic abuse and to help survivors, like my daughter, to “love life” again. Won’t you join me?

Amy, Mother of a Survivor

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