A Safe Place for Hope
* Name changed.
He took Hope to an abandoned house, no running water. He took her clothes, her shoes. And then he sent in his dealers, every man he owed money. He retrieved her after three days of no food, no water. And he wanted sex. When she told him where to go, he beat her and refused to give her any food.
This wasn’t the first time he’d pimped and starved Hope. Why not say no? He threatened to break her arm. She believed him. He’s broken it twice before. And her jaw, her teeth, her feet and her ribs.
Why not just leave? She’d tried to leave him, gotten a restraining order. Of the 89 charges on his criminal record, 32 were for assaulting her. 19 happened after the restraining order. Because of his violence she lost custody of her children. “I couldn’t keep them safe,” said Hope.
Hope left and wandered for two days. Five days without food, Hope said, “I was so hungry. I could have hurt somebody for a burger. I had no one to call and nowhere to go.”
Then, he found her. He smashed her cell phone. Then he smashed her until an “angel” intervened. And called Community Welcome House.
30-year-old Hope arrived at Welcome House bruised and pregnant. She stayed in bed for three days. She stayed inside for two and a half weeks. It was month before she could sleep with the lights off.
Hope says, “I wouldn’t have stayed in that relationship as long as I had, if I had known this place existed. But I think it’s good that it’s secret, because I feel safe here.”
Welcome House got Hope medical care she needed. She said, “I’m safe and I’m healthy. The baby is healthy. They were concerned because I lost a lot of weight.”
Hope has a vision board on the wall of her Welcome House room. She’d like to work again in medicine, but needs to move away to protect herself and her unborn child. She said of Community Welcome House, “You don’t get comfortable in a place like this. This is a stepping-stone. This place provides hope. They give you good resources to rebuild your life. I’m really grateful to be here.”
She’s making plans to relocate, plans that don’t include trips to the E.R. “I have the right to live without fear. I know I can make it. It’s all because I got here,” said Hope.