Josette: We Must Free Ourselves from Domestic Abuse

For more than a decade, I was a victim of domestic violence. I stayed in the marriage because I did not know I could get help. But I was lucky: My doctor referred me to a nonprofit that helps abused women. There is no doubt they saved my life and helped me protect my three children from growing up in that environment.

When I finally left my marriage and my home, I had two young boys, 2 and 3, and was pregnant with my daughter. A local shelter took us in, and a nearby food pantry made sure my family was fed for more than 10 years. The shelter made sure I had a protective order in place and custody of my children. The organization even paid for my children’s summer school so they could keep up academically with their classmates—and for counseling when my fourth grader started to struggle with suicidal thoughts.

I was determined to overcome my situation.

Eventually, I was able to get a job with United Airlines. Today, I am celebrating 19 years with that company.  I went back to school and earned my MBA.  I now rent a house, and my children are all grown up and doing well.

The Next Chapter

I am grateful for the assistance I received from the community, the pantry, the church, and the shelter. It sure does take a village to survive some challenges.

The way I see it, it’s not about me anymore. People are moving into “affluent” Loudoun County all the time, but they are not all rich. Too many immigrants think they are completely on their own. Also, people just don’t know what services are available in this area.  So a lot of mothers and kids are staying in abusive relationships because they do not know they can get help.

So, I work as a member of the shelter’s board, and I travel to various events as a spokesperson for abused women. I want them to know they can get help—that there is a way out. I want them to learn how to ask for help.

I have also set up my own nonprofit serving women who don’t have a voice in third-world countries. I want to give them and their children the chance I had to build a better life when I came to this country. I am so proud to be a citizen of the United States.

But, we need to make it easier for women in abusive environments to find the help they need. All life matters. No woman in Loudoun should have to face the brutality of domestic violence. Won’t you help End the Need?