Mary is a survivor. After enduring years of physical, emotional and sexual abuse at the hands of her husband, she found the strength to escape to a new life with her two young children.
“I didn’t even pack underwear” (Janney, 2017, paragraph 4), she explained. She grabbed the children’s diaper bags, formula and carriers and took off in her car. She had tried to escape once before, but her husband had caught her. As she tore down the road, making her way from Georgia to Kansas, she was terrified that he would find her once more.
A child of poverty and violence, Mary never knew there was any other way of living. Her mother, a victim of domestic abuse, physically abused Mary during her childhood and threw her out of the house when she was only 14-years-old.
She married an abusive man at the age of 16 and very quickly became pregnant with her first child. When her children were born, the abuse escalated, and Mary knew she had to escape.
Mary thought her troubles would end once she had gotten away from her abusive husband, but life in Kansas presented her with new difficulties. She knew no one, had no skills and no idea how to care for herself or her children: “When I got here, I was scared. I was emotionally messed up” (Janney, 2017, paragraph 21).
With nothing to anchor her, Mary fell in with a bad crowd and began using drugs to escape. After several arrests, she went to jail for a year and her children were removed from her custody.
“Getting in trouble was actually what saved my life”(Janney, 2017, paragraph 29), says Mary. After being released, she was assigned a caseworker who got her a referral to Options, a group providing free services to survivors of abuse and sexual assault.
“I had never had anyone in my life that had been there for me… They obviously can’t give you a brand new life and a brand new car and job and a husband that is not going to try to kill you, but the little things they do offer are huge to people” (Janney, 2017, paragraph 33 & 37) Mary explained.
The road to recovery was not smooth for Mary, and a final relapse ended her hopes of regaining custody of her children. Though difficult, she believes it was right for her children to stay where they were. Letting go of her children gave them the ability to have the life she could never give them: “I agreed to let them stay where they were. I didn’t know how to be a parent” (Janney, 2017, paragraph 40). Her children remain in touch with her and she is allowed to see them on weekends.
Today, after a lifetime of abuse, Mary is healthy and happy. She married to a new, loving husband, and is a self-employed cosmetologist. Most importantly, Mary has learned the strength within herself.
She encourages anyone enduring abuse to accept help offered to them: “Even if you don’t believe in yourself…accept the help…[You] can overcome anything. Anyone can. I believe that” (Janney, 2017, paragraph 47 & 49).
For more information on this topic, please read “Hays Woman Tells Tale of Escaping Abuse to New Home in Kansas” by Cristina Janney.
Janney, C. (2017, June 28). Hays Woman Tells Tale of Escaping Abuse to New Home in Kansas. Hays Post. Retrieved from https://www.hayspost.com/2017/06/28/hays-woman-tells-tale-of-escaping-abuse-to-new-home-in-kansas/