The choice of the Gillette Abuse Refuge Foundation is a natural for the Hypatian Society. Although they offer help to anybody who needs it their primary customers are women.
Combined with the fact that April was National Sexual Assault Awareness Month we feel that opening with a donation of $500 to this organization is very appropriate.
We hope that by making donations to GARF they can have success stories like Catherine’s.
When I first met my abuser, I was just 14 years old and he was 20. I thought I was in love, so I ignored the disapproval of my mom and sister. I became pregnant with my daughter with another man during our on and off dating, and this caused huge problems in our relationship.
We moved in together and the abusive situation became apparent to everyone but me. I was convinced that I was in love and happy; that we were a family. I felt forced to choose, and decided I didn’t want my family in my life for the sake of my own “happiness”.
Then the psychological abuse began. My abuser accused me of cheating and told me that no one else was going to love me as much as he did; that I would never be good enough for anyone else. I started to believe I was really worthless. I cut my hair short and started wearing baseball caps and men's baggy clothing. Eventually, I did not leave the house at all.
One summer day, my three year old daughter dropped a popsicle she was eating onto the ground. She looked at me in fear and began to cry. Alerted by her cries, our abuser picked her up by the back of her neck and threw her face first into the couch, splitting open her eyebrow. I “woke up” then to what was happening. After an investigation by the Department of Human Services, he wound up with a record, which only made things worse.
After that, the physical abuse started. I looked for a job where I would not have to deal directly with customers and could hide the black eyes and bruises on my face. I was lost. I didn’t know how to escape. I tried shelters, but I wasn’t strong enough to stay away from him on my own.
After seven long years of abuse, I found someone who was willing to help me find a place to stay. I pretended to get ready for work, grabbed my backpack with a change of clothes, my phone charger, and left for good! I am glad I was able to break away from the abuse. I still suffer from the effects of the physical beatings, but my daughter and I are alive and healing!
On their Facebook page GARF describes their purpose as
We provide services to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. Our services are also available to friends, family, and other support persons to help them better understand the crisis the victim is experiencing. We have 10 staff members, 9 board members, and 16 volunteers from the community to assist victims. Trained advocates are available 24 hours a day to help individuals explore their options; provide emotional support and information on resources available.
They are open Monday through Friday 8:30 AM through 4:30 PM and are located at 910 E. 3rd St. Gillette, Wy.
You can also reach them by phone at 686-8071.
Or on the web at https://www.facebook.com/gilletteabuserefugefoundation
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