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Victims come to LSS CHOICES at different stages in their lives but for one very important reason, to find safety and healing. Each person’s story is unique. We strive to meet our clients and residents where they are and serve them as individuals so that they can better their lives. Here are some of those unique stories.
Andrea called the police in a desperate act to protect herself from her abuser. The police quickly responded to her call and completed a Lethality Assessment. Due to the high danger of her situation, the assessment flagged a call to the LSS CHOICES crisis hotline.
Through the hotline, Andrea spoke with an advocate on call and explained her story. As she had never taken steps to get out of her abusive situation, she was fearful of how her abuser would react. She shared her experiences with the advocate, explaining that her abuser was very violent and had recently broken her arm. After hearing her story, the advocate arranged for her to come into the shelter immediately.
Upon arrival, Andrea was incredibly upset and afraid, but the advocate was able to speak with her and help her calm down. She was now in a safe place and was grateful for the opportunity to finally be safe, no longer having to constantly fear for her life. While her abuser had previously controlled every aspect of her life, Andrea is now able to build better a life for herself apart from him.
I now know that what happened in my life can happen to anyone. I’m almost 40, with a good civil service job that I enjoy, an undergraduate degree, two wonderful teenage children, a car, and am active in my congregation. This was not supposed to happen to me.
I’ve been married about a decade and it has gradually become more and more negative. I tried everything I could think of to make it better. My husband flat out refused to work, and even though I made a decent salary, we got so far behind on our bills that part of my paycheck was deducted to cover what we owed. Finally, we lost our home and were living in a temporary place.
One night my husband came home at 3 a.m. accusing me of all sorts of things and demanding to see my phone, which he then broke. He then threatened me with a knife and hit me in the face and stomach. I managed to get away and get help to call the police. After the police came, they offered me the chance to speak with an advocate at LSS CHOICES.
After I explained that I had no place safe for my kids and I to go, CHOICES offered me the chance to come to the shelter. I gladly accepted. I was at the shelter about two and a half months and it truly made a difference. I got my kids enrolled in a new school, notified my job about my situation for safety reasons, and was able to maintain my work schedule. I was even able to receive counseling and a domestic violence education that I wish I had years ago! Finally, I started to feel better. CHOICES linked me and my kids with a supportive services program and as a result, I was able to find an affordable place to live. As we were leaving to move into our new home, CHOICES even provided us with move out boxes to help us get started. I now know that we’ll be alright.
Before I came to LSS CHOICES, I had no idea of the services they offered, and I’m not sure I would have used them if I did know about them. Having a legal advocate there to hold my hand through all the trial hearings and disappointments gave me the confidence to push forward. My advocate was a sounding board, and she helped me walk through all the pain of the court system. I’m not sure if the divorce would have been granted if I wasn’t referred to another attorney by my advocate. It gave me courage to sever the tie when the divorce was finalized. I can now focus on myself and my daughters, and I have gotten another piece of the puzzle to put my life back together. He no longer has control, and it empowers me to keep moving forward.
Nine-year-old Marcus came to the LSS CHOICES shelter with his mother and two brothers after his father, who had been abusing his mother for many years, choked her and threatened the kids. At first Marcus didn’t know why they were at the shelter, only that his mother was very sad. She soon explained to him and his brothers, and while they missed her making their favorite foods and being able to watch all their shows on TV, they were glad their mother said she felt safe. Marcus says he likes the toys at the shelter, playing basketball outside and that there’s no more fighting and yelling.
Lutheran Social Services of Central Ohio is a United Way agency, a member of Lutheran Services in America and a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization.
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