We are always inspired by the stories of the people who are part of the See the Triumph campaign. Often, we share those stories of you, but sometimes things happen behind the scenes that we can't always tell you about. Last week, something truly amazing happened, and we were grateful that we are able to share it with you.
We recently shared the news that we will be hosting our first-ever Every Survivor Has a Story Retreat in North Carolina late this spring. Last week, we received the following message from the other side of the world:
"I am in Australia but would like to donate money towards women attending this day with no worry about the money. Please message me regarding this."
We were blown away by this woman's generosity, and by the way she saw a potential need and felt compelled to step in and help women all the way on the other side of the world who she had never met. Her goal was to provide some support for the retreat participants who will be applying for the need-based scholarships to attend.
She shared her story with us, and she let us know that we could share it with all of you. The story, which you'll find below, shows just how much the heart of so many survivors is to help others triumph after they have triumphed themselves.
My story is the same as most you’ve heard. I, too, am a survivor. I fell for the charismatic man that felt he didn’t fit in, and as in my job as an RN with over 20 years’ experience, I stood up to help shoulder life and help him. Or so I thought. What I didn’t know about was the alcohol and drug addiction that continued to worsen. Or that he had such severe depression (which he hid from me in the beginning) that he would go to bed for a full weekend and not speak to me or his daughter (from another mother) at all.
What broke me was that my father was diagnosed with cancer and died almost one year later, and instead of supporting me like the partner I had thought he had become, he told me the night before he didn’t like funerals and wasn’t going. It was a morning funeral, and I had to get up early as my parents lived one hour away, and I had to make sure that my mum showered and got dressed appropriately and got there on time. So, I told him to pack his stuff and get out. If he couldn’t support me when I needed him most, he could leave. It was my property, you see. The next thing I knew, I was on the ground with stars in my eyes. Now I was sufficiently frightened, but I managed to get him out of the house and put his stuff outside and locked the doors after getting the keys back, and went to the funeral the next morning.
I hate to say it but he managed to fool me again. I took him back.
I never saw the warning signs. I wasn’t looking for them. I’d never been in that position before. How could I tell anyone? He was using my car to go to work, and I was taking a bus. (I know, I know.) He rang me from work and accused me of an argument that we hadn’t even had. That’s when my warning bells sounded (a little bit too late unfortunately). I believe he was an undiagnosed bipolar sufferer who had decided that I wasn’t good enough to be his partner.
I came home from work the next day and he had removed everything of mine from the bathroom and put it into a garbage bag. I told him to put it back or there would be consequences. I was angry now. Hadn’t I given enough???? YES. YES, I HAD! That prompted an argument, and we went to bed, with him in the spare room. The next day was a national holiday in Australia. I made him go to the dawn service and then that night after yet another argument he strangled me. I knew then that he would try to kill me if I didn’t get away.
Long story short, I did. But in the meantime, he had taken my car and driven it 2.5 hours away and hidden it. The police wouldn’t help as they said it was a domestic dispute. A friend and I managed to convince him to drive us to where it was so I could drive it home, which he did. I got an AVO (apprehended violence order) through the police, and he was charged, but only got a good behaviour bond for 2 years and no jail time. A week later, they came to repossess my car (he hadn’t paid the payments like he said he would).
Four years later, I am standing back on my feet. Everything is up to date. And after a year of what you would call therapy I have moved on. He hasn’t, but that’s not my problem. I am no longer afraid. If I can help one other person get this far then it was all worth it. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not wealthy by any means. I live pay check to pay check. But I work hard for my money, and I will spend it how I like. Supporting survivors in your retreat would make me happy.
Sending big love to all those you help.