News | December 10, 2019

Meet Nicole

It was hard for me to find my own voice. For years, my husband told me when we could go visit family; he gave me an allowance each week to spend on things like groceries and activities for our son, I had to keep every receipt because he would check each of them down to the nickel. I could never have friends over unless he was home.

And the worst part, I thought this was normal.

My husband and I had been together for 15 years. For the 6 years we dated before we became engaged, he was fun, social and my family adored him. Once we moved in together, things began to change. He would always ask who I was with or where I was going. He would track my location on my cell phone but always said he didn’t care that much and that he just wanted to make sure I was safe. Once I became pregnant with our son, he became even more protective. I quit my job to stay home and take care of our son. My husband would give me money for the week to take care of us. As our son grew older, my husband started to limit my activities more. That’s when family wasn’t allowed to come over without him around; he said they were too loud. He didn’t feel comfortable with my friends being there if he wasn’t home. Pretty soon my phone calls were being monitored too.

When confronted he said it was just to protect our family. However, one night, things got really out of control. That’s when I realized he wasn’t protecting us at all.

An argument we were having about hosting Thanksgiving dinner escalated. He threw me against a wall and struck my face. My son overheard us arguing and came out of his room. My husband charged after him. He picked him up violently and locked him back in his room. I was so scared. As I laid on the kitchen floor sobbing all I could think was “this is not normal,” “where am I supposed to go,” “who is going to help us.”  The night seemed to last forever.

The next day while my husband was at work, I began to search online for resources. One business nearby came up, the Women’s Center for Advancement. I called their hotline to see if they could help me. With open arms, they helped me find a time to come in and talk.

After meeting with an Advocate to discuss my situation, she helped me find the right resources to begin to learn about divorce and how to keep my son and myself safe. The best resource was the free legal clinic at the WCA. At the clinic, I was able to talk to people who understood the law and what I needed to do in order to file for divorce and custody of my son. The volunteers helped me prepare for how things would happen in court and exactly what to expect. I filed for divorce, represented myself in court and won full custody! Finally I was regaining confidence in myself and finding my own voice.

I would have never been able to do that if it wasn’t for the overwhelming support and compassion I found at the WCA. 

The team at the WCA was there to answer my questions anytime I needed them. They heard me out and were on my side through the entire journey. The WCA is changing people’s lives and has a huge impact on survivors like me. I will forever be grateful for everyone at the Women’s Center for Advancement.

The holidays can often be a stressful time in any person’s life, please remember people like me who are celebrating their first holidays in freedom and those who are not yet as fortunate.

Because of your support and generosity, the WCA is able to boldly achieve excellence, drive innovation and grow impact for all survivors.