The CDC estimates that 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men in the United States experienced domestic violence at some point in their lives. While trying to overturn those numbers with its community-based violence prevention programs, Turning Points Network helps victims of domestic and sexual violence escape abusive relationships.
“Grace” (not her real name), fleeing an abusive marriage, asked Turning Points for help. “There was twisting back of arms, there was beating, he threatened to kill me three times.” Brutal as this was, Grace says the relationship was emotionally and mentally exhausting as well.
Victims in abusive relationships endure torrents of verbal abuse and, eventually as Grace says, “believe that you’re worthless that you can’t do anything right.” Which is why it’s such a struggle for victims to ask for help. “When you already feel that low about yourself, or you’ve been convinced that you’re the one constantly in the wrong and that these actions are ok to inflict on another person,” the victim often begins to feel like they don’t deserve help.
Making the decision to leave was monumental for Grace, “you see that there is hope and something on the other side.” And that’s where Turning Points entered the picture. They helped Grace to get her legal affairs in order, find housing, and secure in-state tuition so she could go to school.
Grace is now going to school full-time and working part-time. “I’ve become more of an optimist, It’s a whole different outlook on life.”
“I’d like to say that where I’m at is completely dependent on, but I know they would argue with me and they’d push their empowerment model. They’d say it was all me and the fact that I had goals and followed them. But the way I see it, when someone comes to them in a dark place, instead of simply turning on the lights for them they point them in the direction of the light. So all along the way they serve as your support.”
CDC Infographic on Intimate Partner Violence