April 2, 2019 Advocacy, Domestic Violence and Disabilities, Our Stories 0 Comments

An encounter with an occupational therapist during a hospital stay in 2017 was the first step in Denise’s journey to safety.

“I was in the hospital for a multiple sclerosis flare up. I had a week before I had to go home. My living situation was toxic. Mental and psychological abuse,” says Denise. “I was scared and my blood pressure was going up. An occupational therapist asked me about my blood pressure and she ended up telling me she had been an intern at (Barrier Free Living’s) Freedom House domestic violence shelter.”

( View a virtual tour film of Freedom House here.)

The therapist connected Denise to Freedom House, where she found safety and began to see her life choices going forward.

“It was awesome. Freedom House was the best experience to get me where I am today. I was being abused and didn’t know it. My social worker brought to my attention that when someone controls your money or your thoughts, that is abuse.”

During her stay at Freedom House, Denise attended domestic violence support groups and began to explore her options.

“I found my sanity, my emotional well-being and my self-esteem. I started caring for myself,” she says. “When I got to Freedom House I was a scared little mouse. When I left I was a lion.”

Denise attended the Shine Foundation’s financial empowerment workshops at Freedom House and learned about restoring good credit and creating a budget. Working with the Freedom House team, she was able to find her own apartment, and today is pursuing a Master’s degree in counseling.

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