26 Apr You Make the Difference!
By Gigi Tsontos, LCSW, MPA
Chief Executive Officer, WTLC
As WTLC works to END THE CYCLE OF VIOLENCE AND EXPLOITATION, your investments have allowed us to keep families together by including the furry babies, increase access to counseling services, ensure access to victim’s assistance by meeting people in their homes and the community, and by creating opportunities to change the cycle through prevention services. Every day I’m reminded that it takes a village; the staff of WTLC provide high quality services that are victim centered and include the full family.
I had the pleasure of sitting with a family recently to learn the story that led them to WTLC. It was a windy road of details with setbacks, family resistance, guilt, regret and acknowledgment. The matriarch Joanna raised five children with an abusive spouse. Her youngest son became her caregiver as she became frail. He married. She was a bully. She was angry. And his wife was a person who harms. She structured the family life with strict rules, she kept his mother in her room with little company, she ran the finances, she even hit him. He often wondered what he deserved this for. She was always loving until they had their first child. He saw a change in her. He thought the pressure of caring for a senior and a child was getting to her. She was happy and sad at the same time.
Tony is his name. He was at a community event with his youngest daughter when they came upon WTLC’s table. Our staff shared our services. He asked questions. He didn’t realize he could be a victim of domestic violence. He signed up for the Personal Empowerment Program and within those ten weeks, HE CHANGED HIS LIFE.
Tony shares that he understood that something was wrong. He was able to share with his wife, Tammy, how he felt and what was happening in their marriage. He asked her to attend counseling. The family is still working on their next steps, but life has changed. Tammy is in the midst of an assessment to learn if she has some chemical imbalances that may be affecting her. She is learning coping skills. Joanna is now more part of the family and feeling healthier. This process is long. It hasn’t been easy, but when I asked Tony why he stayed, he said, “The WTLC Advocate showed me how to ask for help without telling me that I had to.”
Thank you for making a difference in the lives of Joanna, Tony, Tammy and their children. THE CYCLE CAN END WITH YOU.