A Community's Hope for Love & Safety
This past Saturday I attended a wedding of someone special who had been in an abusive relationship. No it was not my niece that I have spoken about on several occasions but another young lady. A little history: This young lady met her new husband at the age of 11. She became pregnant at 12. He was maybe 4 or 5 years older. She ended up in foster care, ran away many times for various reasons, and ended up basically taking care of herself at 16. This is the age that I met her. Her mother was and is an alcoholic. The mother is only 15 years older than the daughter. This young lady enrolled in my program. I took a special interest in her. I helped her to find a beautiful apartment and found folks from the military relocating to other cities to donated furniture they no longer needed. They donated beautiful things. I assigned a social worker to work with her and to find her a place where she could get parenting and house cleaning skills. I also found her a job at the airport.
She was excelling until he entered her life again and she let him. One night he beat her badly and she was hospitalized. She called me. I went to the hospital and held her hand. I arrange for her to be put into a shelter. That didn't work for her. So I took my personal money and sent her to live in Florida with a relative. All this to protect her. Three months later she returned to him. The apartment was destroyed because of the fighting and allowing rough and other homeless people and dogs and cats to move in. Yes the landlord said they destroyed his apartment.
The last time I heard from her she had one child and was 17. Yesterday I attended her wedding to this same man. The agency that I used to work for allowed her to come back in the program at her request. They took her in a special program, entered her abusive boyfriend into counseling and a male mentoring program. Apparently he excelled. Learning that it wasn't right to fight and beat women.
Well to make a long story short. The agency paid for them to get married after they had more than 12 months of counseling and training. She is 24 with five kids, all but the oldest live with her because he is severely handicapped. The fathers' mother is caring for this child. All the kids are by him. She explained through counseling he has not hit her in more than a year. "We get along", she said. "We are older and we have a family to take care of."
The wedding was nice.
As I sat there watching I wondered is he healed? I say heal because men who beat women or sick or crazy to me. Will he revert to his old ways? Will this marriage last? I said a little prayer and I stayed throughout the entire wedding. She held me close and thanked me for helping her. The agency worked closely with her and taught them both life skills. They were young, too young and the stress of trying to be parents was too much for their young minds. But I am told that love prevails with help, hope, love and prayer.
I pray this family survives. They have a lot of people supporting them, in fact a whole community.