Survivor Stories


Jessica was new to Colorado after fleeing her state to escape her violent husband, who had severely beaten and nearly killed her.  She was not familiar with the resources available in the Colorado Springs region, so a family member referred her to TESSA.  Jessica came to TESSA seeking help and information, which she quickly received through a confidential victim advocate.  The advocate provided Jessica with information about TESSA’s counseling services, which would help her to heal from the trauma caused by her husband’s abuse.  Since she had fled in such a hurry, Jessica did not have many basic living items, such as clothing and toiletries.  In fact, she was still wearing the same clothes she had on the day that she left her husband and her home.

Jessica relocated to our beautiful state, because she has family here who can support her as she works to redevelop her self-sufficiency.  She is focused on transforming her life so that she can regain parental rights of her children, who are in foster care due to the domestic violence incidents that occurred in her home. Jessica was very upset as she talked about losing her children and her desire to provide a better life for her family. The advocate offered understanding and support as Jessica relayed her story, and offered to supply her with some supplies to help her through the next few weeks.  She was accompanied to the donation area where she found some clothes and a coat to protect her from the winter weather.  Jessica chose some toiletries, and she was provided with a gas voucher to help her drive around town as she looked for employment.  Extremely thankful, she cried and hugged the advocate as she left TESSA with a warm coat, a gas voucher to help with job searching, toiletries to help prepare her for interviews, and a plan to enroll in the counseling program. 


Thirty-four year old Rebecca came into our main office lost and confused. With a toddler and another baby on the way, she was realizing that her controlling and manipulative husband was not willing to change his behaviors.  Not quite ready to leave, she talked to an advocate who helped her develop a safety plan and explore her other options. After one particularly violent night, Rebecca left her house with her child and entered the TESSA safehouse. Using the knowledge she gained from her visit with the advocate, she knew exactly where to call and what to do when the time came. During her safehouse stay, she attended groups and individual counseling, and made plans for life afterward. With the help of a local church program working with TESSA to provide transitional housing funds, Rebecca was able to get her first month’s rent and security deposit paid for, and she and her son moved into their own home.


"I am so grateful for the help I received from TESSA. I was in an abusive relationship, but since I wasn't the girl with the black eye or obvious bruises I didn't think I was a victim of domestic violence. When I had to call the police when my fiancé threatened my life and they gave me info on domestic violence I realized maybe I did need help. I called TESSA and set up counseling. It was the best decision I could of made. All the mental, physical and verbal abuse I had endured for a year and a half was not normal and if someone loves you they wouldn't treat you like that. I looked forward to my counseling sessions every week, everyone in the office was so great. Now I am in a healthy, loving relationship and couldn't be happier. I would encourage anyone who is in an abusive relationship to seek counseling at TESSA, it really does work. And it was also super helpful when I had to go to court and testify against him to have court support from TESSA be there with me. I never would have made it through that day!"


My name is Andrea and here is my story.  I came to TESSA back in August of 2009 to get a restraining order against my husband at the time.  I used the resources there to get the restraining order in place and I felt the counselors extremely helpful.  They gave me step by step instructions and seemed empathetic to my situation.  I already felt like trailer trash and dirty since my husband did rape me but I had yet to even mention that to my friends or to TESSA.   I got the restraining order and received comfort from a TESSA Advocate that was there in the courtroom to help me through the emotions and turmoil of going in front of a judge and everyone else there.  It was intimidating, overwhelming and devastating to admit that you have a domestic problem with a spouse. 

A week went by without incident until my ex decided to violate the restraining order and became emotionally unstable and emotionally erratic.  He started to contact my place of employment and they were aware of the situation and called the police.  From there a woman police officer came and finally got me to admit the real truth of what happened that night.  She (the woman police officer) is the one that truly started my independence of my new life.   My ex was arrested and I was trying to move on but was still in a shock even after a week.  A couple nights later I received a phone call from the "vine" stating that he was released from jail.  I had a feeling something wasn't right.  I packed my things as quickly as I could into my truck, grabbed my kids, and drove to anywhere but there.  My friends put me in a hotel that night and I checked into the safe house the next day. 

When I showed up to the safe house, I was approached with kindness, patience and understanding.  I can't even describe the feelings I was having and they seemed to understand.  With no family in the area and friends afraid to help this was my only option to keep my kids and myself safe.  I had no idea how much this was going to help me.  I woke up that following evening having to go to the restroom and thinking to myself, "I am OK, I am safe and no one can harm me."  A feeling of relief washed over me that I hadn't felt in weeks. 

I was at the safe house for a little over a month, which is a long time.  It did take me longer because I was working and trying to do balance work, court and my divorce. In the safe house I was privy to all types of help, such as weekly therapy sessions individually and in groups.  Also my kids were allowed to have the same therapy sessions and someone was always on staff to answer questions regarding court, or how to respond to my kid's questions, or just to let me cry.  I found the emotional support that gave me strength to change my life.  There were days where I felt I couldn't go on but I didn't give up because I knew the end result would be my salvation.

After moving out of the safe house, my kids and I continued therapy through TESSA. Now, it has been 3 1/2 years since I started my new life and I am truly grateful for what TESSA has done for me and my children. My ex was convicted and I don't live in fear anymore.  I am in a healthy relationship and I know that is because of the resources TESSA has given me.  They helped me and my children emotionally with therapy, help with getting my divorce, and letting me know I was never alone.

Thank you so very much.  


*The names used in the survivor stories above have been changed to protect the identities of the victims.


Love is Respect provides peer mentors 24/7 online, by text and by phone for youth and young adults.


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