Faith, hope and courage in michigan


(Flint, Michigan, Genesee county)

I am a registered nurse who was in a domestic violence relationship for over 10 years. I was abused during both of my pregnancies.

I went to work with black eyes. When the cops came to my home they told my ex-husband he cannot do that or would ask me who did this to me. I finally left after getting a DUI and living from home to home to get away from him and finally deciding that I wanted my life back. I left my 2 children with my family with bracelets that said love and 750.00.

I decided to seek help at the local hospital for depression, anxiety , high blood pressure and abuse of alcohol. I was treated kindly by the physician and asked if I wanted his help. I gladly said yes, and he called in a social worker who was in tears after hearing my story and asked if she could pray for me. I felt sad for her for being sad for me.

I went to a wonderful treatment center whose counselors felt my problem stemmed from the domestic abuse I had suffered for years, and I was abusing alcohol to cope to deal with daily life. After a couple weeks at the treatment center I was going to be released because they felt I had did so well and that my problem was not the alcohol but the abuse.

Two wonderful counselors decided not to send me home just yet, but to send me to another treatment center where I would get daily counseling and housing so I could learn to live on my own again. I also would be allowed to go home every day if I wanted, but I just had to be in class everyday (I was advised not to return home due to safety concerns for myself, that my kids would be okay.

I did not know at this time my ex-husband had asked my family to visit with the kids and did not return them. Instead, he went to court and received temporary custody and temporary rights to the home. I drove home every day anyway because I missed my kids so much. I felt they were my strength, that they had kept me going. They gave me the will to live. I drove 1 hr and 20 minutes everyday to take care of my children with my batterer still in the home. He would not leave and no one would remove him. At this time I also thought in my mind if he saw the drastic change in me he would be moved to change. That never happened.

What did happen is I came home to a court system that decided to label me as mental and emotional, a male judge. My ex-husband was granted sole custody and later legal custody over my sons. To show you how corrupt the court system in my area is, before he was granted sole custody he spent 8 days in jail for violating a no contact order (the judge still would not give me my kids). He was found guilty of medical neglect from cps. The judge still did not give me my kids. Finally cps was called on him again when he took the youngest out of a Doctor's appointment when they were going to admit my son to the hospital. Due to cps being called on him a second time, the judge took my legal rights away because his attorney stated we could not communicate.

I have been told I must be the most unluckiest mother or that God had important work for me to do. I have helped other women of domestic violence by talking to them, encouraging them to leave, to stay strong and encouraged and to put their children before themselves and their spouses. I continue to fight and to look for lobbying groups, feminine groups, government officials, and anyone willing to help me get my kids back.

I recently was diagnosed with post traumatic stress. I completed weeks of therapy and continue to see a therapist who tells me how impressed she is of me and how a lot of women could not have remained as strong as I have been and would had given up. But, I will never give up.

Since this I have lost my father, started attending graduate school and have remained sober for 3 years. I will not let this judge dictate my worth or allow him to allow my batterer to continue to emotionally abuse me. I shall overcome this. I will truly be a survivor and not a victim.

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