When you are fleeing from imminent danger, when you have to leave everything you’ve always known behind, including most of your belongings and most of the things that are comforting and familiar to you, success can mean many different things than what we might normally think.
A resident in recent past, we’ll call her Molly, had come to the Mountain Peace Shelter months before and had stayed for a time, while she sorted through her life with her boyfriend that she had come to us to get away from. She struggled to see how she could possibly make it on her own. Although, at the shelter she was safe, there were a lot of obstacles in her path to making it on her own, and ultimately she decided to give her relationship with her abuser another try. That happens. Sometimes it can feel easier, even safer, to go back to what you know, rather than forge ahead into territory you’ve never been in before.
After about 3 months, Molly called the MPS Crisis Line and asked if we would let her stay with us again. She had tried to stay together with the person that was abusing her, but realized that she just couldn’t stand that anymore. Maybe the months she had spent away from him during her earlier stay had helped her realize that she could find a way out of being abused, even if she didn’t quite know how she would do that. All she knew is that she was definitely done being abused and wanted out. This time for good.
Molly stayed with us for a few months. She was determined to take advantage of the housing and advocacy help we offered, and she made a real effort to make a big change in her life. She had never lived alone before, she had never had to completely support herself before. She worked diligently with our advocates and volunteers, got a job, worked some long and difficult hours, and eventually had saved up some money. Through community connections she made while staying at the shelter, she was finally able to buy an old but drivable used vehicle, find a small apartment to move into, and to start a brand new life that was all her own. She didn’t have much in the way of belongings to take with her to that new apartment, but she didn’t care. She had her own place to live, away from the fear and difficulties of living with an abuser.
Many months after moving out of the shelter, Molly still keeps us updated. She’s doing well, feeling proud of her courage and her independence and the changes she made in her life. She has a few more things to fill up her apartment, and she has new activities and adventures to fill up her life. She no longer lives with abuse because she has found her way to a future where she can stand up on her own two feet and create the positive life she wants to live. That’s a huge success.