Domestic Violence

  • 0

Diane, Cincinnati OH

Tags : 

The first time Diane (name changed to protect her identity) met some of the Families For Families (FFF) volunteers was during one of FFF's monthly dinners at Cincinnati's YWCA Battered Women's Shelter in March of 2009. The women started talking and Diane was happy to tell the volunteers how she was working on her transition out of the shelter. That said, having no furniture and no money made the thought scary but she was determined to give her two sons a new place they can call "home".

Life had not always been a struggle for Diane. Not that long ago, but in a different life, she was a typical Cincinnatian middle-class soccer mom and wife. When her husband became increasingly abusive and threatened her life, Diane's only chance was to flee to the Battered Women's Shelter. Days later, Diane and her sons were sent to a Shelter in another state for their own safety, where they remained for 18 months, until her ex-husband was incarcerated for life. With the perpetrator behind bars, Diane could feel safe enough for herself and her two sons to return to Cincinnati. And this is when she met the FFF volunteers, during her second stay at Cincinnati's Shelter.

Having listened to her story the FFF volunteers were eager to help. When Diane moved into her small apartment FFF was able to provide bunk beds and bedding for the boys as well as other small and bigger household items and supplies. Knowing that she was not alone made Diane's transition easier and gave a shimmer of hope.

It is 18 months later, Fall of 2010. One of our FFF volunteers receives a text message from Diane, telling the good news that the boys and she are doing well. Relatively well. The first apartment they lived in had been broken into during full daylight. The few expensive items like the computer for the boy’s homework and two game boys had been stolen, but mostly her younger son felt invaded and threatened and had to resume counseling. Then came the bed bugs and she had to throw away the comforters and other items that they had received from FFF.

But Diane is a fighter. They moved and she finally found a job, shift work. Many mornings she gets up at 4am to be in time for her 6am shift, the commute is over an hour. Luckily her boys are old enough to look after themselves during the day. And they are good boys – the older son hopes to achieve a scholarship to improve his schooling next year.

At FFF we felt that Diane passed our path so we could make a small difference in her life, hopefully ease it a little. Some of our volunteers got together to bring Diane and her boys a Thanksgiving dinner. We organized winter boots and coats for the three of them and provided warm comforters and new bedding. Just before Christmas some of the FFF volunteers made another surprise visit at Diane’s home and brought a Christmas tree and some gifts to open on Christmas Day. "I think that this is what people want us to do, when they donate money to FFF," a volunteer says, "to help the women and children who have been through the darkest dark in life and help them see that there is a light and people who care."

  • 0

  • 0

Gabbi, Denver CO

Tags : 

For as far back as she can remember, Gabbi’s life revolved around abuse. “I just thought it was normal,” she says. The 36-year-old endured a traumatic childhood, and the violence only escalated as she grew older and had children of her own. When Gabbi’s son Carlos was just three years old, she was forced to surrender custody to her mother after yet another boyfriend became abusive.

By the time Carlos was returned to her care seven years later, she was in the midst of leaving an abusive marriage and was deep in the grip of drug addiction. When Carlos was forced to drop out of high school to care for his newborn sister Bella in 2004, a remorseful Gabbi resolved to make a life change.

“I’d been stuck in a cycle of abuse for so long, and I wanted something different for my family,” Gabbi explains. “I found out about Champa House in AA, and I made up my mind to go at it as hard as I could.”

"Once I started talking with Elaine, I could just see her heart and how much she loves the women here," Gabbi recalls. "If I have a problem, I know I can go to Elaine; she never hesitates to help."

Gabbi entered Champa in November of 2008, sober, but broken. Though she could immediately see positive changes in daughter Bella, 6, Gabbi struggled to break free from her painful past and was hesitant to accept the outreach’s Christian teachings. Slowly, however, Gabbi embraced Christianity and began to grow as a mother, thanks to compassionate Champa staff members like Chaplain and Treatment Coordinator Elaine Phillips.

“When Gabbi initially came into the program, she was reluctant to accept much guidance from the staff, but her perspective changed immediately when she gave her life to God,” Elaine says. “She’s become an excellent role model for other residents, and it’s been amazing watching her grow.”

In Champa’s life-changing relationship and parenting classes, Gabbi learned how to set appropriate boundaries for her children and herself, a task once gravely affected by her childhood abuse. She has made peace with past mistakes she made with Carlos, now 19 and living with a friend, and she and Bella have found great comfort in establishing a daily routine.

“Champa taught me that abuse isn’t love; love is joyful and understanding,” Gabbi says. “I know how to be there for my kids now, and I can tell how much happier Bella is now that we have structure in our lives.”

. . . wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
2 Corinthians 3:17b (NLT)

Champa staff also helped Gabbi find spiritual and emotional freedom by doing the impossible—forgiving her many abusers. Gabbi says weekly counseling sessions helped her stop “living in victim mode,” and over time, she began to feel a surprising sense of compassion toward those who hurt her.

"I never thought I deserved happiness or loving relationships, but Champa changed all that," Gabbi says. "If you come here ready and willing to change your life, this place can do so much for you."

“I learned that other people’s pasts affect how they treat others later on, and withholding forgiveness only hurts me,” Gabbi explains. “I never thought I would be able to forgive, but that’s Champa.”

Gabbi is preparing to graduate from Champa’s New Life Program in October, and is using her skills acquired at Emily Griffith Opportunity School to land an administrative position. She and Bella are excited to move in with Carlos soon, and she says she sees a future full of love, stability and promise.

“Champa gave me everything I needed to move on from my past and be the mother God made me to be,” Gabbi says proudly. “I thank God for leading me here!”

– See more at:

Archived Website

This is an archived website. Visit for our newest website. We maintain this older website because we believe content on here is still relevant to people in crisis.