In 2009 I found the courage to escape my abuser shortly after discovering I was pregnant. When I left, I was so traumatized that I couldn’t even carry a proper conversation.

Next began the daunting task of rebuilding my life, which included the legal system. I had never dealt with anything like it before and felt powerless. I spent a lot of time crying and complaining about how unfair the process was. Finally, I came to the realization that no one was going to do this for me. If I wanted my life back, I would have to take action.

I started doing research. I looked into countless resources and eventually found Battered Women Support Services. Their legal advocacy services were probably the most important support I had. They put me in touch with appropriate representation and helped me acquire knowledge on how to navigate the legal system.

This gave me some control over my situation and began a snowball effect. I started to regain my confidence. I began to feel empowered and knew my voice had to be heard. As my self esteem grew, I became motivated to make positive changes in my life, including pursuing my education. All of these things have been important not only because they’ve help me improve my life, but they also gave me creditability in court. I gained the strength to stand up to my abuser in court. I knew that I would be believed!

My battles in court are still ongoing and it is possible that I may have to do this many more times in the future. However so far I have done well and my abuser has yet to gain access to my daughter. Had I not had help from legal advocacy and become informed, I am certain the outcome would not have been as positive. Although this experience may be one of the most difficult things I’ve ever been through, it has also been the most valuable. It has taught me that I am capable of success and that I can protect myself and my child.