After several years of marriage, Sarah* found that the happy family she had dreamed about as a small girl was nothing like the life she was living. Every day this loving mom feared for her safety and the safety of her children as her husband violently burst out over even smallest inconveniences.
Did you know that a staggering 92% of homeless women have experienced severe domestic abuse within their lifetime? Sadly, the fear of homelessness causes thousands of women each year to sacrifice their own safety, as well as the safety of their children, in order to maintain financial stability. Nearly half of abused women remain in domestic violence situations because they feel they have nowhere else to go.
After years of walking on egg shells, Sarah finally built up the courage to remove her children from this dangerous situation. She didn't have anywhere to go or much money, but she thought being homeless would have been far better than exposing her children to more violence. Sadly, like many abused women, Sarah ended up right back in the situation she attempted to flee, hoping this time it would be different. Instead, the violence intensified.
The last beating that Sarah faced should have ended in death.
Fleeing her situation caused problems of its own. Although, Sarah's family was now safe, she ended up losing her high-profile job. Without income, she could no longer provide for the basic needs for her children. "It hurts when you can't help your kids," she recalls. A local church stepped in to help until she and her children were referred to the Orlando Union Rescue Mission for assistance.
Sarah was immediately grateful for the clean, safe environment that O.U.R. Mission Home provided for her and her children. She is using her time at the Mission to rebuild her family—spiritually, emotionally, and financially.
Sarah's children are doing well in school and enjoy playing with their friends. However, statistics show that children exposed to domestic violence tend to follow a similar path as an adult. Sarah has already seen her son have tendencies toward violent behavior. Fortunately, the family has been connected with a local church providing anger therapy classes. "Most of the children here have been through so much and the Mission provides them a chance to bounce back."
The Orlando Union Rescue Mission receives hundreds of calls each year from women facing homelessness as a result of domestic violence situations. We work with outside counselors and other agencies to help moms start a new life, free from abuse for good. Fortunately, when Sarah and her family needed safety and stability, the Mission was able to meet that need.
*Fictional name to protect parties involved