Safe Places: A New Start

Safe Places

safeAlice* had been waiting for months for the perfect moment for her to escape her abuser. She had her car packed ahead of time with as many clothing items as she could fit. When her husband left for work she gathered her four young children and headed north from Georgia to Virginia.

Alice arrived at a domestic violence shelter in Fairfax County where she spent about two months. After being controlled by her abuser for over seven years, she decided it was time for her and her children to be free. While in the shelter, Tammy secured full-time employment, worked with the Office for Children to secure child-care for her children, and enrolled her oldest child in the local elementary school.

© Kathe Kollwitz

She was then referred to Christian Relief Services’ Safe Places Residential Program and worked with them to find an apartment with her children and get back on her feet. Alice and her children moved into the apartment without any furniture, and although her budget is tight, Alice has learned that all she needs is her children. Alice and her former abuser lived in a 6-bedroom house and owned luxurious cars, but Alice soon realized these things meant nothing to her compared to her happiness, safety, and the love she has for her children.

Since entering the Safe Places program, Alice has been able to secure a new full-time position to receive her pharmacy technician certification that is much closer to her apartment. She began working towards her certification while living in Georgia, but soon discovered that her abuser was not going to allow her to work; he demanded that she stay home with the children and take care of them along with the house.

Alice is very excited about where her life is taking her and recently won full custody of her children along with monthly child support. Within the next few weeks she will begin to complete the remaining hours of her externship and she will then receive her pharmacy technician certification. She is fully aware of all that she has overcome, and knows it will not always be easy in the future, but Alice is willing to give all she has in order to provide for her children and give them the life that they deserve.

*Names have been changes per our privacy policy.