In Her Shoes…A Victim’s Story
My name is Francine Johnson…
I am 38 year old and I have three children. I am married to Hosea. He and I have been married for 12 years. Hosea did not allow me to work. Often he would come home stressed and angry, and hit me. Over the years, I have tolerated my husband’s behavior, including the name-calling and the threats of killing me and the children.
One day, Hosea came home very angry. I recognized the behavior. Knowing what was about to happen and thinking of the safety of the children, I hurried to put them to bed. I try hard to protect them and keep them from witnessing what I experience.
Hosea approached me; he threw me on the floor and forced himself on me. This time I resisted, I tried to get him off of me but he was too over-powering. With his hands over my mouth, he raped me. Yes, he raped me. I could have called the police but I was too afraid. I just wanted the entire night to be over. After he finished, he got dinner and went to bed. I decided then, it was time to leave. It was hard. I was scared for me and the children, but at that point I was willing to try to get away. I waited for him to leave for work the next morning and I grab only what we could carry and I left. We had no money and no place so I turned to a friend but I was afraid he would find me there; my friend took me and my children to social services.
Yes, even though I am his wife, it is still rape because I said 'no.
Social services immediately placed me in a shelter for emergency housing. After I was settled, I was able to meet with a worker, who assisted me with getting services and cash assistance. I forgot some of my important documents such as birth certificates, social security cards, but I explain to the worker that I just left my husband and I had nothing. The worker explained to me that there was a person available who could help me with my situation. I met with a DVL, Domestic Violence Liaison; she was really helpful and nice. She did not make me feel bad or ashamed. She told me it was ok that I didn’t have my documents and all she needed me to do was sign a sworn statement. The DVL was able to help me get a waiver so I could still receive services without putting me and the children at further risk of harm.
I later decided to relocate to another county, for a fresh start. Even the social services in the new county were able to get my information from my old county and continue to offer me assistance. It has been a long road and I have had many sleepless nights but I think I am finally feeling safe to move forward with my life.
This is one of many victims’ stories that exist for women and children who experience domestic violence. If you feel like this is your story or your life is similar to this, there are services available that may be able to assist you. Please contact your local social services agency for assistance right away.
If you are a victim of domestic violence
- You don’t need all your personal documentation about your domestic violence situation to get help and assistance. Talk to the Domestic Violence Liaison (DVL) about providing a sworn statement.
- Make sure at any point in your visit to DSS you let the worker know you are a victim of domestic violence