Survivor Stories


Jessica*

Jessica was new to Colorado after fleeing her home to escape her violent husband, who had severely beaten and nearly killed her. Jessica came to TESSA seeking help and information. She met with a confidential victim advocate, who offered understanding and support as Jessica relayed her story. Together, they visited TESSA’s donation area, where Jessica found some clothes and a coat to protect her from the winter weather. She also received toiletries and a gas voucher to help her look for employment.

Jessica enrolled in TESSA’s counseling services to heal from the trauma caused by her husband’s abuse. She is focused on transforming her life so that she can reunite with her children, who are in foster care due to the domestic violence incidents that occurred in her home. She and the advocate made a plan to find Jessica a job and help her regain parental rights of her children. Jessica plans to stay in Colorado because she has family here who can support her as she works to redevelop her self-sufficiency, as well as the support of TESSA staff in reclaiming a life free of interpersonal violence.

Rebecca*

Rebecca came to TESSA’s main office lost and confused. She had a toddler and another baby on the way, and she realized that her controlling and manipulative husband was not willing to change his behaviors. Not quite ready to leave, she talked to a TESSA advocate who helped her develop a safety plan and explore her other options. Later, after a particularly violent night, Rebecca left her house with her child and entered the TESSA Safehouse. Because of her earlier visit with a TESSA advocate, she knew exactly where to call and what to do when the time came. While in the Safehouse, she attended group and individual counseling, and made a plan for herself and her children. With the help of a local church, which works with TESSA to provide transitional housing funds, Rebecca was able to get her first month’s rent and security deposit paid for. Rebecca, her son, and her future child moved into their own home to begin a new life together, free of family violence.

Erin*

Erin was in an abusive relationship, but because she didn’t have any physical signs of abuse like obvious bruises, she didn’t think she was experiencing domestic violence. Then, Erin had to call the police because her fiancé threatened her life. The police gave Erin information on domestic violence, and that’s when she realized she needed help. Erin called TESSA and enrolled in counseling services, and later said it was the best decision she could have made. She realized the mental, physical and verbal abuse she endured for a year and a half was not normal, and that the person who said “I love you” shouldn’t treat her that way. When Erin had to testify against her abuser, TESSA was there in the courtroom to support her. TESSA’s counseling services helped her to heal from her abuse. Now, Erin is in a healthy, and loving relationship, and credits TESSA’s counseling services with helping her along her healing journey.

Andrea*

Andrea visited TESSA to get help securing a restraining order against her husband, telling TESSA staff that he was physically abusive. TESSA victim advocates listened to Andrea and gave her step-by-step instructions. TESSA advocates were in the courtroom to help Andrea get through the emotional turmoil of acquiring a restraining order, which the judge granted.

A week went by without incident, but then, Andrea’s husband violated the restraining order and became emotionally unstable and erratic. He contacted Andrea’s place of employment. Thankfully, the employers were aware of the situation and called the police. An officer visited with Andrea about the situation, and Andrea finally felt comfortable to share that her husband not only physically assaulted her, but sexually assaulted her as well. Andrea’s husband was arrested, but she received a phone call from an acquaintance a few nights later who said he had been released from jail. Trusting a gut feeling that something wasn’t right, Andrea packed as quickly as she could, put her kids in the car, and drove away. Her friends put her and her children in a hotel that night, and they checked into the Safehouse the next day.

Andrea was met with kindness, patience and understanding at the Safehouse. She had no family in the area, and her friends were afraid to help, so the Safehouse felt like the only option to keep her children safe. She woke up in the Safehouse their first night and thought to herself, “I am OK, I am safe. No one can harm me.” A feeling of relief washed over Andrea, and she felt safer than she had in weeks.They stayed in the Safehouse for a little over a month, and she and her children joined both group and individual counseling sessions. Andrea regularly talked with staff about her court questions, her children’s questions, and her emotions surrounding the entire situation.

After moving out of the safe house, Andrea and her children continued receiving counseling at TESSA. Now, a few years later, Andrea has divorced her husband, is in a new healthy relationship, and her ex-husband has been convicted. She and her children no longer live in fear.

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