House of Ruth

Shannon’s Story

Shannon* came to House of Ruth’s Domestic Violence Support Center (DVSC) in August of 2015 seeking counseling in order to determine what action she should take with her marriage. Shannon’s husband of five years had become increasingly emotionally, verbally and recently physically abusive. They had a four year old daughter together. Shannon was very unsure of whether or not she wanted to leave her husband, as she feared he would become violent and she would be unable to protect herself. She was also uncertain how she would be able to support herself and her daughter without his financial and parental help, as she had no family in DC.

Over the course of her work at the DVSC, Shannon decided that she would leave the marriage after a violent outburst from her husband while the family were out of the country on vacation. Shannon left their vacation early with their daughter to come home, filed a protective order, and had her husband served upon his return. Shannon went through the court proceedings of divorce, accessing legal resources in the community, and took on a second job to offset the financial stress of separating from her husband (who refused to pay child support).

Through her counseling sessions at the Support Center, Shannon had learned how to enforce boundaries with her ex-husband, which greatly improved her quality of life. She also decided that she needed to be near family and have a stronger support system close by. In order to do this, Shannon successfully navigated mediation with her abusive ex-husband to have the custody agreement revised, finding and obtaining a new job (which required new licensure) while in DC, and securing housing for her and her daughter.

Shannon has successfully separated entirely from her abuser, and was able to advance her career and move back to her hometown, which had always been a goal she never thought was possible.

*Name has been changed.