2018 End of Year Appeal
A Lifetime of Abuse
“My mother’s tears, her screams, the bruises, the permanent emotional scars inflicted on her, on my brother and me, week after week, year after year, are like ghosts haunting our psyches at every corner of our lives.”
- Testimony of a 15-year old girl entering the House of the Good Shepherd program with her mother and younger brother
For years this young girl and her brother witnessed the repeated sexual, physical and emotional abuse of their mother. Over time, the intensity and frequency of the violence escalated to such uncontrollable rage that for five years her brother did not speak at all. To make matters worse, the family was also exposed to lethal community violence as well.
**At the age of seven, her brother attempted suicide. During this living hell, the daughter took care of her mother, her brother and herself during multiple hospitalizations.
Domestic Violence Does Not Discriminate
Domestic violence knows no boundaries. It is unpredictable. In its aftermath, it leaves a thunderous silence where closed doors shield a wake of heartbreak, havoc, and humiliation that echoes throughout victims’ lives, and all too often, results in death.
Fortunately, the daughter in this story continued to reach out for help until she found safety, security and compassion for her family at the House of the Good Shepherd Chicago. Because of kind people like you, your support has enabled House of the Good Shepherd to open our hearts and our doors to more than 5,900 women and children survivors of domestic violence since 1980. We see dignity in the eyes of each survivor beyond the frightened, thousand-mile stares — the blank, unfocused gazes usually associated with soldiers who have become emotionally detached from the horrors around them. It is at this moment when healing begins.
We See Dignity in the Eyes of Each Survivor
We look beyond the frightened, thousand-mile stares — the blank, unfocused gazes usually associated with soldiers who have become emotionally detached from the horrors around them. It is at this moment when healing begins.
- First and foremost, **we help our families gain stability by avoiding further victimization. We provide them a safe place to live and the support they need to access appropriate health and welfare services.
- **We help survivors to confront and overcome their traumatic experiences. We earn their trust by helping families develop, regain confidence, resilience, independence and dignity.
- **We assist our families in accessing legal assistance, trauma-informed counseling, addiction services, education, child welfare, immigration, housing, employment, health and medical services. Ultimately, we provide opportunities for families to develop positive relationships and the skills necessary to live successful, independent and fulfilling lives.
Below are highlights of this family’s participation in our programs, only made possible with generous and steadfast donations from friends like YOU.
In partnership with our staff, volunteers and community outreach, YOU continue to make big, positive differences in the lives of families like this one as well as the lives of so many others.
• The family is actively involved in both individual and family counseling sessions.
• The daughter, now 17 years old, is able to pursue her education with a passion. She is enrolled in college and secured employment.
• Upon arrival at the House of the Good Shepherd, her brother was enrolled in a new school. At the age of 9, he found his voice again. He continues to attend the same school to ensure safety and consistency.
• Mom’s diligent commitment to her coursework in our Adult Learning Center enabled her to obtain employment.