Sarah's Journey (part 2 of 3)
13 January 2017, 9:25a
We are often asked to describe the typical client’s stay in shelter. While each story is unique, here is one survivor’s journey with CARDV.
Previously in Sarah’s* story, her husband was removed from the home by law enforcement after he physically assaulted her. While still on the scene, the officers called the CARDV hotline and connected Sarah with an advocate. Sarah and the advocate made a plan for her immediate safety and arranged for transportation the next morning to apply for a restraining order. Click here to read part one of Sarah’s Journey.
6:00AM Sarah wakes up, wondering if the events from the night before were just a dream. She looks across to the empty side of the bed; it must not have been a dream. She remembers the police taking Aaron, her abusive husband, away. There was enough evidence of domestic violence for them to hold him in jail overnight.
She had tried so many times to get Aaron to stop being abusive—to pacify him— but nothing worked. She thought if she could just keep the house clean enough, or keep the kids quiet and doing well in school that Aaron would stop hurting her. She thought that the abuse was her fault, that she wasn’t good enough. Last night while talking with the advocate she finally felt heard. The advocate listened without judgment, and did not suggest that she just try harder to make her husband’s violence stop. For the first time she heard the words, “This is not your fault—it is a choice that he is making and he is the only one that can choose to stop being abusive.”
Sarah feels solidified in her decision to file for a restraining order that will protect her and her children. She doesn’t know how all the details will play out, but she knows she has to provide a safe home for her kids to grow up without fear.
Re-invigorated, Sarah quickly gets herself and her kids ready to go. A CARDV advocate will be picking them up at 7am so they can arrive at the Linn County Courthouse in time to obtain and complete the restraining order packet, and be ready to appear before the Judge that morning.
7:15AM On the drive to the courthouse the advocate explains to Sarah what to expect in the courtroom. In Linn and Benton counties, restraining orders are presented to a Judge and a ruling is decided on the same day, allowing people to find safety quickly.
7:45AM At the courthouse a CARDV volunteer plays with the kids while Sarah and the CARDV advocate work through the restraining order packet and go before the Judge. CARDV advocates are not attorneys, but are present in the Linn and Benton Courthouses daily and are very familiar with the restraining order process. They can help survivors navigate the system and also accompany them in the courtroom for moral support.
9:00AM Sarah is granted the restraining order. She learns that Aaron will soon be released from police custody and will be served the restraining order while still in jail. Sarah and the advocate agree it is not safe for her to go home now. The advocate will take Sarah to one of CARDV’s free and confidential shelters where she and her children will be provided a safe, warm bed as well as food and toiletries during their stay. It’s not their own home, but it’s the next step to a life free from violence.
If you or someone you know is experiencing abuse, please call. All calls are FREE and CONFIDENTIAL. Se habla español. (541)754-0110 or (800)927-0197
*We have changed names and removed any identifying information for confidentiality.