A Survivor’s Story
My name is Esmeralda. Before I came to CAWC, I called myself a domestic violence victim. But through individual and group counseling and a new support network who truly care about me, I realized that I am a survivor. I am a champion. And I’m proud of who I am today.
Thanks to CAWC’s generous donors, I received help and hope. And I was so grateful to find CAWC because, without this amazing organization, I don’t know where I would be today.
I was abused as a child. Because of that, I learned how to pick myself up and keep going. I tried to be strong and brave. But I was only a kid. I wanted someone to protect me. No one did.
My story started like many love stories – everything was wonderful for three years. I thought he was the man of my dreams. I tried to please him. In return, he physically and emotionally abused me. When I heard the words, “I’m going to kill you and your children,” I knew I had to leave. During the last six months of our relationship, I was beaten with hands and baseball bats. He even bit me.
I lost my self-esteem. I lost the ability to believe in myself. But I never lost my will to survive.
No one believed me because my abuser, like many other abusers, showed one face to his friends and family and another face to me. I felt so alone and scared. I had no one to turn to at a time when I needed someone who would believe me and believe in me.
I created an escape plan and thought to myself, “I am finally free.” But, in less than a week, he found me. I got a temporary order of protection. That’s when the stalking began.
After I left my abuser, I became homeless. I used truck stops for sleeping and free gyms for showers. Eventually I rented a house. My first night in my new home, the house was set on fire. The fire chief said this was intentional.
But the MOST painful part of my story? The judge would not grant me an order of protection. She said there wasn’t ‘enough evidence.’ Did I need to die first to show the judge more evidence? The legal system really let me down.
I felt sorry for myself. But thanks to my amazing counselor, Maritza, and the other survivors in my support group, I’ve learned how to love myself.
I am a survivor.
I wanted to write this letter because it’s important for you to hear a survivor’s story. It’s not easy for me to share my past and my pain. Today, life is good. I am alive. I am moving forward.
Your support and generosity helped me heal from my abuse. By supporting CAWC, you are supporting ME. And so many other survivors.
I survived for a reason. To live a life that is filled with happiness and not with fear. A life that I truly deserve. Thank you for reading my story and for partnering with CAWC in their quest to end domestic violence.
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