A Survivor's Story: Achieving the Impossible
Ivy came to Hope House straight from the hospital emergency room following a fight with her abuser. She said the nurse recognized that she needed help. Ivy said that she never even knew that Resolve Family Abuse Program even existed. The nurse and the hospital social worker told her that she could get help if she wanted to leave her abuser. At six months pregnant, Ivy felt that Hope House was the right place for her to be.
As with many survivors of domestic violence, Ivy said "At first everything was awesome." But as the relationship progressed, she could see little things, like how he would take her everywhere, have her call to check in when she went out and eventually isolated her from her friends and her family. While she was with her boyfriend, she became pregnant.
As the abuse and and violence escalated, Ivy decided that it wasn't safe for her daughters to stay with her. She left them with a family member because she knew what might set off her abuser. She didn't want to expose them to harm or witness the abuse happening to her.
Her abuser was so violent, she slept outside a few times.
At Hope House, Ivy said she was scared and lonely when she arrived, but she was made to feel at home and that she was safe. The case manager at Hope House told her that her children were welcome to join her. To Ivy's surprise, the staff coordinated the reunion with her children that same night. "They helped me with everything - pullups, clothing, getting them whatever they needed."
To others who are experiencing domestic violence, Ivy said, "I would love to tell them that Hope House is a safe haven. The staff are loving and caring and want to help you achieve what you think is really impossible - but it isn't impossible because they help you."
Ivy spent around 30 days at Hope House. During that time she began to realize "everything was just flowing. As soon as I went to Hope House, things started to get better. It got better every day."
As for finding Resolve, Ivy said, "If I had wanted to see it, I could have. I was too locked up and confined in my own disaster. I didn't see Hope House because I didn't think I needed help. Once I decided that I needed help, it was there. It's an amazing program."
Ivy and her daughters eventually moved to the YWCA Alicia McCormick Transitional Homes. "I went from being around a lot of nice people at Hope House to being just me and my kids. It was nice to be in our own space and cook our own food as a family. I got to learn how to be on my own, but I wasn't really alone because of the program."
Looking back, Ivy said she would tell others that there are signs to look out for. "That anger is there. If I had recognized it for what it was along with the controlling, it might have made a difference. Him telling you what to wear, who to talk to, where to go - all the signs were there. Those things happened and that's in the past. Now I'm just moving forward. The things that you've been through, you just don't forget them."
If you or someone you know is experiencing abuse, please call YWCA Resolve Family Abuse Program at
1-800-681-8663 or 304-340-3549, or visit our 24/7 free chat online at ywcacharleston.org.