Tami lived with her boyfriend, Tom, in a remote area of Jacksonville. As such, when Tom began to beat her, there were no neighbors to hear her cries; furthermore, she had no support system, so she had no friends or family to turn to and no safe place to run. Daily, Tami awoke feeling trapped and terrified, forced to face her ever-angry abuser alone.
As time wore on, the beating and other abuses intensified. During one episode of violence, Tami described how Tom shoved her to the floor. When she would try to get up, he would punch her, each blow harder than the last. Eventually, Tom strangled Tami until she lost consciousness. She woke to a blood-chilling threat: “I’m going to kill you someday, and no one will find your body.”
One evening in June, the violence came to a head when Tom dealt Tami an especially savage beating. He bloodied and bruised her body. He broke her nose and ribs. As she laid on the floor, she knew she had to do something. So, she waited for an opportunity, made her way to the bathroom, locked the door behind her, and called the police. Soon, officers arrived, Tom was taken into custody, and Tami was taken to Hubbard House.
At Hubbard House, Tami met with a Victim Advocate who helped her to get desperately needed medical care and a Court Advocate who helped her file for an Injunction for Protection. Soon after, she met with the Hubbard House Counselor who helped her to begin working through the trauma-related issues she was experiencing and to help her regain her self-concept and self-esteem. Days once filled with fear were now filled with art therapy, journaling, gentle yoga and most importantly, safety. She also attended a Hubbard House support group. As she listened to other victims, women just like her, key truths crystalized: the abuse was not her fault, and more broadly domestic violence is never a victim’s fault.
As Tami’s healing progressed, and she felt stronger, her eyes turned to the future and becoming self-sufficient. She met with the Hubbard House job coach who helped her put together a resume, search for jobs, and practice her interview skills. She was also provided with an interview outfit from the career closet and transportation to and from the interviews she landed. Within one month, Tami had a job.
Tami decided she wanted to continue rebuilding her life in Jacksonville. She searched for rentals in the local area and found one she liked, safe and clean, and close to work. She was able to cover the move-in costs on her own, but she had no furniture, linens or kitchen items. Again, Hubbard House was able to help. A voucher to the Hubbard House Thrift Store allowed Tami to furnish her new place with all the essentials at absolutely no cost to her.
The day Tami moved out of shelter, she met her Advocate in the lobby, and they participated in a joyful Hubbard House tradition: the key dance. The key dance celebrates a victim who has become a survivor and who is moving into a new, safe place. Today, Tami continues to do very well. She resides in the Jacksonville area and is living violence-free.
About Hubbard House
Hubbard House is a full-service certified domestic violence center providing prevention and intervention services to domestic violence survivors and their families in Duval and Baker counties in Northeast Florida.
Individuals who are in an abusive relationship, or know someone who is, are urged to call Hubbard House’s 24-hour domestic violence hotline at (904) 354-3114 or 1-800-500-1119.