We worked for months with Charity as she tried many times to escape her abuser. He had kept her imprisoned and watched at all times coming home “unexpectedly” to catch her and to keep her in fear of leaving.

Charity lived about ten miles out of town in an unpopulated area on the side of a mountain. She had tried walking out many times before but had never made it.

Charity would call to ask us to pick her up when he was away only to call back later to say that he had found out about her plans. One afternoon she called to say she had a two hour window; her husband had to take his father to Medford.

We were always concerned about safety and a little anxious wondering if this were a setup her husband had put into place or would this finally be the time for Charity.

We drove up the mountain and our heart skipped a beat when we saw headlights coming our way. They passed us as we watched in our rear view mirror and thankfully kept on going.

We drove slow as we could barely see any mail box with her number. We decided after going thirteen miles that we had passed her driveway. We turned around and as we were driving back down we saw a movement in the bushes. We didn’t know whether to slow down or speed up but our concern for Charity gave us the courage to slow down a little thinking it might be her.

Little by little she emerged from the darkness; as we rolled our window down to call her name we saw headlights coming our way. We speeded up a little and kept driving watching the lights as they kept going on up the highway. With our hears rapidly beating we slowly turned around to go back looking intently for the driveway; once again we saw movement and were sure this time it was Charity. We stopped and called out the code name we had agreed on earlier as someone we were looking for in case we ran into trouble. Charity burst forth and was put safely in the back seat of our car. She had been crying and shaking with fear. But for the first time we gazed in the eyes of this beautiful woman that we had only talked with over the phone.

This is a very short version of Charity’s escape, it took work patience and planning, many women are not so lucky. It took a huge amount of courage for Charity to escape a life of abuse and violence where she had been imprisoned.  She is now safe with her family in another state.

Domestic violence is a pervasive, life-threatening crime that affects millions of individuals across the United States. Survivors have many options, from obtaining a protection order to staying in a shelter, or exploring options through support group or anonymous calls to a local domestic violence shelter or hotline program.  There is hope for victims, and they are not alone.