“I didn’t know when [my abuser] would come back, but I knew I had minutes.”
Naomi shared with us that in a chance moment of freedom many years ago, it was her father who came to rescue her and her son from their life of utter chaos. Sitting in Spot Coffee, Naomi bravely shared poignant moments from her own perilous journey of domestic violence with Lauren Gorlick from Haven House. Her reason for sharing? She said to Lauren, “I don’t want anyone else to silently suffer.”
Although out of harm’s way once home, she found herself out of sorts. “I was angry, bitter and in denial. I didn’t have the strength to do anything. I didn’t know who I was or even the things in life that I liked.” Her abuse was more than just physical. Like many abusers, Naomi’s ex used isolation as a tactic to maintain power over her. Under his watch, Naomi was told what to wear, what to eat, even what shampoo to use. Her friends and family became distant memories.
For the sake of her son, Naomi sought help. Thanks to a Google search, Naomi unearthed the counseling program at Haven House. It was her counselor Josie, Supervisor at Haven House, who finally gave Naomi the space to talk about her past. Josie listened. Josie comforted. Josie talked through the positives and negatives of making certain decisions. Josie helped her identify goals. “It really is a privilege when a survivor opens up to you and their life journey and allows you to be part of the healing,” said Josie.
Naomi’s journey wasn’t marked with setbacks though, “There were times when I felt like I was sinking. But in those moments, I would make a point to see Josie. A counselor will help you get yourself out of isolation.”
Today, Naomi triumphantly told Lauren, “I made myself strong! I’ve come a long way and I am happy now!” By opening up, she hopes that other survivors of domestic violence will find their own courage and seek out independence. “I hear stories from women I work with or those I meet while out and about. I recognize the patterns they share and I always tell them to call Haven House!”
If you need someone to talk to about personal abuse, abuse of a loved one or friend, or resources related to domestic violence, Haven House’s hotline is always staffed with a counselor on the other end. Call 884-6000.
What is Naomi’s wish for others in the same place she was many years ago? “I don’t want anyone else to silently suffer. It is scary to admit the reality, but you don’t have to feel alone. You need someone that cares about you and wants you in a safe place. Haven House makes people feel safe.”