Jenn’s husband was romantic and charming when they first met. He took her and her five children into his home and promised to care for them. Over time, Jenn stopped spending time with friends who took her away from him and the home. She eventually quit her job to focus on raising the children, including the new baby they had together. When her husband got a new job in Tucson, Jenn moved away from the rest of her friends and family, and began to lose contact with them. That’s when the abuse really began.
Jenn was willing to tolerate a lot of controlling behavior and even violence, because she believed her children were getting a good life. But then one night, her husband got drunk and sexually assaulted her teenage daughter, Kendra. Like most victims of abuse, it wasn’t her own safety that concerned her, but the safety of her children. So Jenn called for help. The police brought Jenn and Kendra to the Children’s Advocacy Center, where we were ready to give them the support they needed.
During that initial visit to the Children’s Advocacy Center, Kendra was able to tell our Forensic Interviewer about what had happened, and she got the medical care she needed from our professional team of experts. She was withdrawn at first, hiding behind her curly brown hair, but once she could see that we believed and supported her, the stress melted away and she began to smile and laugh.
At the Children’s Advocacy Center, we know that domestic abuse and child abuse go hand in hand. We also know that the abuser is often the person who pays the bills for the home, sometimes even using that financial power to control their family. We’re here to break those cycles of abuse and build independence and strength in victims so they can survive and even thrive. While Kendra was with the interview and exam team, our Advocate met with Jenn. She gave Jenn gift cards for groceries and security cameras, connected her with housing, and established long-term support from the food bank. She even found a generous donor to pay for car repairs and insurance so Jenn can get the kids safely to school and find a job.
Our Advocate will always be here for Jenn and Kendra whenever they need us, including in the middle of night. We help all our clients whenever they need us. Most often they reach out to revise their safety plan, rebuild their support system, or understand more about the criminal justice process. They often tell us the most important thing we did was to believe in them, so they could begin to realize their own strength.
It has been four months, and Jenn and her family are in a much better place. They have a safe home and Jenn is working again. Kendra has fully recovered with a clean bill of health and we have learned that her favorite color is pink, she loves to draw and bake, and she wants to go to Japan someday! The Children’s Advocacy Center truly is the place where abuse ends and healing begins.