75 Faces of Impact: Fern’s Story

If I had not found Wings of Hope, I would be dead either by my husband’s hands, my own, or simply by circumstance.

My story of abuse began when I was abused by my family as a small child and it continued throughout my life.  I lost all trust in people because even the ones I loved abused me or turned away from me because they could not handle my despair. The man I married began abusing me after seventeen years of marriage and it lasted for four years. As a result, I am a shell of my former self. I never thought I would laugh again, listen to music, or enjoy the things I had once loved because of the ongoing physical, mental, and sexual abuse in my life.

When my husband hit our son, I knew I had to make a change. My desperation to protect my child and the advice of a co-worker led me to Wings of Hope Family Crisis Center. I admit I was hopeless things would get better. I thought this would be another cry for help that would go unheard, and I would soon go back to the pain and fear that drove me here.

Now, my son and I have been at Wings of Hope for two months. The other women who live here have become my family. They give me understanding and complete acceptance.  Although we all come from different backgrounds, ethnicities, religions, careers, and circumstances, we are united by our experiences as victims of abuse. Together, we finally understand that we are not alone.

Wings of Hope helps us become independent again. There is no pity, judgement, or misunderstanding. We receive counseling that helps us heal, and we now understand the abuse and trauma we experienced is not our fault. We are treated with kindness by all the employees and volunteers. To them, we are not trash, a statistic, or the forgotten. They make us feel like we deserve a life of happiness. They help us with Emergency Protective Orders, childcare, appointments, clothes, food, and shelter. They even refer us to other nonprofits to make sure all our needs are met.

The last year has been hard for the employees and volunteers at Wings of Hope because Covid-19 has made their jobs more challenging than ever, and there are more people who need help than ever. I am inspired by their passion to help us.

I am so grateful to those who support Wings of Hope. Because of your generosity, I am no longer a victim – I am a survivor!

*The client’s name and photo in this story were changed to protect her privacy and safety.

The Oklahoma Bar Foundation funds legal expenses, trainings, and transportation for survivors of domestic violence at Wings of Hope Family Crisis Center in Stillwater, OK.

Domestic Violence occurs in all families not just economically disadvantaged ones. The OBF is dedicated to raising awareness about the perpetual cycle of abuse that can harm multiple generations within a family if it is not stopped.

Your donation to our 75 for 75 Campaign can end family violence. Give online: https://75for75.swell.gives/

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