21 Oct Theresa’s Story of Recovery: “I was very close to giving up my life…but I am able to live happily with my son.”
Theresa, a primary school teacher from China, met her husband while visiting the United States on vacation. What she thought would be a two-week stay became the beginning of her new life of marriage, children – and abuse. After their first son was born, Theresa’s husband began to grow impatient with the stresses of being a new parent. Over time his impatience grew into frustration, then into anger, and then finally abuse. He began to hit her, yell at her, and isolate Theresa and her son from the outside world, taking her car keys so she couldn’t leave the house.
During one particularly extreme instance of abuse, Theresa decided she couldn’t take it anymore—she took her son and ran away, seeking the safety of a neighbor’s house. Once there, Theresa called 911 for help. Her husband was arrested, and Theresa was taken to the emergency room. After this incident, her son was taken by Child Protective Services (CPS). Despite going through physical, mental, and emotional abuse for years, for the first time Theresa felt truly alone. After her son was taken by CPS, a counselor provided Theresa with a list of resources for survivors of domestic violence, in which WTLC’s services was included.
When Theresa first arrived at WTLC’s emergency shelter, she was nervous and had difficulty calming down enough to begin addressing the trauma she had faced. As she began attending support groups, parenting classes, and empowerment series with WTLC, she slowly began to relax and feel safe again. She was connected to an outside therapist to help address the trauma of her experiences, aiding her on her road to recovery. She began speaking of herself differently and even carrying herself differently—with a sense of hope for her and her son’s futures. Theresa continued to work hard every day looking for housing, knowing that one day she would be reunited with her son and he would need a safe place to stay. With the help of WTLC’s Bridge Housing program, Theresa was able to find safe housing and was soon reunited with her son. When asked about her experiences over the past six months, Theresa said, “I was very close to giving up on my life, but thanks to the people I met at WTLC, I am able to live happily with my son. I am so relieved.”
If you or someone you know may benefit from resources on domestic violence or human trafficking, please contact WTLC’s Helpline at 877-531-5522.