With tears streaming down her face, Melissa recounted the horrible things her father had done to her. It wasn’t the first time this had happened, just the first time Melissa had decided to tell someone. Her school counselor listened, trying to hide the feelings of horror he felt inside, and then picked up the phone and called the police. Melissa knew there was no turning back and had no idea what her future held.
The local police took Melissa to be examined at the hospital, where the nurse asked if she would like her to call Tu Casa. She explained they could provide her with information about her options, give her unbiased support, and help her figure out what she wanted to do. Melissa nodded. Not only did she find the unconditional support and reassurance she needed, but the resources to make it through the hardest, scariest days of her life.
After staying several weeks in Tu Casa’s shelter, and receiving counseling and ongoing support from her advocates, Melissa graduated from high school, the only dream she had ever had for herself. Even though no one from her family attended, her advocates from Tu Casa did, and made sure she felt special at least for one day.
Melissa went on to confront her abuser in court and helped put him away for decades to come – “I wanted to make sure my younger sisters were safe.” Although Melissa has a hard road ahead in her transition from victim to survivor, Tu Casa is proud to have been a witness of her strength and courage.
Vanessa's StoryAfter 7 years of marriage and many incidents of both physical and emotional abuse, Vanessa left her husband, taking their 6 year-old daughter with her. Determined to create a safe, happy life for herself and her daughter, Vanessa worked two jobs, as a housekeeper and at a local convenient store. But as unexpected health-related expenses began to mount, she become overwhelmed, and 6 months later, her rent was past due.
Word of Vanessa’s financial troubles spread through her family and eventually to her ex-husband. He called Vanessa and told her she would never be able to make it on her own and threatened to file for sole custody of their daughter. He told her the only solution was for her to come back to him and he would in turn forgive her and take care of her financially.
Vanessa was terrified of losing her daughter and briefly considered her ex-husband’s offer. It was then that a co-worker at the convenient store she worked for told her to call Tu Casa. Her coworker explained that Tu Casa might be able to help Vanessa with rental assistance so she could become financially stable and avoid returning to her abusive relationship. Vanessa called Tu Casa immediately, and after speaking with an advocate and filing out the appropriate paper work, Tu Casa was able to pay a portion of her past-due rent. Today, Vanessa not only works two jobs, but is also pursuing her nursing degree. She is an amazing role model for her daughter.
When Michael was 14, he was sexually abused by his basketball coach. To make his situation even more difficult, his abuser was also a close friend of his father’s. Even though Michael wanted to reach out for help at the time, he was too afraid to say anything and feared his revelation would hurt his family and maybe even turn them against him. Instead, like so many child victims, Michael choose to stuff his pain and hope it would eventually go away.
Over 30 years later, Michael was still unable to heal. His past trauma from the abuse continued to affect him and his current relationships with his wife and children. He sought therapy and met with a counselor for several years, but to no avail. It was then that his counselor told him about Tu Casa, and the special technique called Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy, specifically designed to help survivors of abuse overcome trauma.
Michael felt unsure about calling Tu Casa, but when he did, he was instantly reassured that “men are victims, too,” and that he could come and see Tu Casa’s EMDR therapist free-of-charge for as long as he needed. Michael now sees Tu Casa’s EMDR therapist on a weekly basis and is making progress towards healing from his past, rather than hiding from it.
After 14 years of physical and emotional abuse, Jenny just couldn’t do it anymore. This wasn’t the first time she had left, but the first time she was determined not to go back. She fled her home in Arizona and arrived in Alamosa, hoping her distant relatives here would give her support. When they didn’t, she was not only hurt, but scared and seriously contemplated returning to her life of abuse. Jenny had seen a sign about Tu Casa, and decided to call for help. Not only did Jenny receive the unbiased support she needed, but her Tu Casa victim advocate worked with partnering agencies, including La Gente and Adams State University, to help Jenny reach her own personal goals of housing and higher education.
In less than a month, Jenny had her own place, fully furnished by a generous donation from Life Divine (formerly of Crestone), and is now attending Adams State College. Jenny continues to work with Tu Casa, along with the Alamosa Department of Human Services and other agencies, to make the best of her bright, new future.
Maria, a monolingual Spanish-speaker, was tired of the verbal, emotional, and physical abuse from her husband that she had endured for over 30 years. He kept telling her he wanted a divorce, but never filed himself. Also, he would torment her emotionally saying he was going to kill her because she wasn't worth it anymore, forcing Maria awake all night out of fear. With the constant arguing, fighting, and leaving the home, Maria was having to continuously pack and unpack her personal items over to the point that she just started keeping everything in the car. When Maria would visit her sister or daughter's homes or go to the grocery store, her husband would stalk her by slowly driving by or wait outside by her vehicle and surprise her.
Finally, Maria had enough and felt she was done living her life in fear. She walked into Tu Casa seeking help, unsure if there was someone who spoke her language. Tu Casa Bilingual Victim Advocate did speak her language and was ready to help her. Maria filed a Protection Order and gained the courage to leave her husband. With the help of Tu Casa's emergency assistance, Maria was able to flee the state to safety with other family members.