mother mom madre, dia de la madre

As we approach Mother’s Day, my heart is with the moms among us who are trapped in abusive relationships. Our clients often tell us they had stayed in an abusive relationship for their children’s sake. They didn’t want to uproot their young ones from the familiar comforts of their home, neighborhood, friends, school, and community.

They didn’t want to break up the family or separate their kids from their father. They grappled with the stigma of divorce, the pressure from relatives to keep up appearances, and the threat of a custody battle they couldn’t afford. Women who were undocumented were afraid of being deported if they told law enforcement about the abuse. So, they endured the insults, gaslighting, the isolation and even the bruises or forced sex, all while striving to shield their children from the horrors unfolding behind closed doors.

But then things got worse. The abuse had escalated and could no longer be hidden. It was threatening to leave their children motherless.

Breaking free was not just an act of self-preservation, but a crucial step in safeguarding their children’s future. They didn’t want their sons and daughters to wake up to the sound of mom being shoved against the wall, or hear the constant put downs. They didn’t want the abuse to become a part of their childhood. Even worse, for them to think this is how a relationship should function.

And so, these moms summoned unimaginable courage: they packed a few bags, gathered their precious children and embarked on a journey toward healing, safety and hope.

They stayed in our emergency shelter as they planned their future. Some met with our attorneys as they pursued a Protection From Abuse order and custody of their children. Those who were undocumented met with immigration attorneys who helped them access their rights. They found a new home, managed their finances, and juggled a demanding work schedule with caring for their children. They broke what could otherwise have become an intergenerational cycle of abuse and gave their children a safe future. A future with a mom who is alive and well; happy and safe.

This Mother’s Day let’s remember the moms who tragically lost their lives to domestic violence. Let’s celebrate the resilience of those who have escaped abusive relationships. And let’s keep a watchful eye out for the moms among us who may not be safe. Look for opportunities to offer help, support, and understanding.

Mother’s Day

madre mother latina mom
Madre latina abrazando a su pequeño. Foto archivo Impacto

To the moms in it now – you are strong, this is not your fault, and you are not alone!

We at Women Against Abuse are here, ready to walk the journey to safety with you. We have emergency safe havens with security and confidential locations, transitional housing, and exceptional legal representation – all free of charge. You can reach us through the 24/7 Philadelphia Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-866-723-3014. All calls are confidential and interpretation services are available.

I’d like to share the words of a former client who wrote:

“I was seven years old when my mom said we are going to the shelter….it was the safest I felt in all my life. And I was even more happy my mom was safe and she was happy…I just wanted to say thank you and I am sure you made this difference in lots of lives…. that was 30 years ago, and it still is one of my best memories.”

*Katie Young Wildes is the Communications Specialist for Women Against Abuse


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