Once upon a time doesn’t always have a happy ending. “Emily” married her high school sweetheart. He promised her a house, children, and a rose garden. She meant every word of her wedding vows. To love, honor, and cherish Bob “until death do us part.” Emily believed those words had the same meaning to Bob because he was so protective of her. He was always around or on the phone with her- he loved her.

After Emily became pregnant with their first child, Bob’s jealousy and verbal abuse increased. When angry, he would punch a wall or break something. The first time he ever hit her, Emily felt her life shatter. Bob swore it would never happen again. But it did. Repeatedly. After six years and three children, the day came when he put her in the hospital. Emily had 3 broken ribs, blood in her kidneys, a concussion, and multiple bruises. She was so afraid of Bob, she told her doctor she had fallen down a flight of stairs. One of the children was so shaken over the incident, he told his teacher. The Department of Family and Children’s Services got involved and told Emily about S.H.A.R.E. House. She came to our shelter with her children and the clothes on their backs, no money and no way to make a living.

Emily wasn’t the only victim, her children had suffered too. Witnessing the abuse had made the younger children withdrawn. The oldest child was violent. He would say he had the devil in him and couldn’t get him out.

In addition to shelter and transitional housing, S.H.A.R.E. House provided Emily with social services such as GED classes, job readiness training, and connections with all the resources she needed including technical schools, education about domestic violence and support groups. In the shelter, Emily found safety and support. She found people who understood her family’s suffering and helped her see that there was hope in the future. It took nine months, but Emily got back on her feet. Today she is a paralegal and works for a group of attorneys. Her children have received intensive counseling and are beginning to blossom.

None of this would have been possible without the generous support of time and money from individuals, churches, organization and corporations. Emily, her children, and S.H.A.R.E. House thank you, for you saved four lives and made a future possible.