Raelyn is a middle aged woman with a significant history of substance abuse, trauma and domestic violence. Her addiction can be traced back to her childhood and early adulthood. A product of a violent home, she also married someone who became abusive during her first pregnancy. She lost her children due to her addiction and tried to deal with the grief of this loss. When she called the crisis line she was lost and self reported that this was her last chance at survival. The Crisis Line Intake Advocate assisted Raelyn in completing the intake forms and assessing her current level of safety and sobriety. Raelyn was living in her van after her current spouse assaulted her, including physical injury and rape. Raelyn was admitted into the shelter. Local law enforcement escorted Raelyn to the shelter and she was grateful to be able to sleep in a bed for the first time in two weeks. She reported she was on the run so that her spouse would not find her. She was hesitant to file charges because she feared this would increase his hostility towards her. Raelyn wanted to focus on her addiction and learn behaviors conducive to sobriety and safety. She also wanted to learn how to grief for the loss of her children. At the time of her intake, Advocates learned that her oldest child, recently out of foster care at 19, committed suicide. Raelyn blamed herself for her daughter's death and struggled with how to deal with it without using drugs. Raelyn reported she was a "broken person". Advocates met with Raelyn on a daily basis, several times a day to assess her needs, enhance focus and set goals. It was important to remove barriers to her sobriety. Raelyn took baby steps in her healing. It took two weeks before she felt comfortable leaving the shelter.
This was the beginning of a new life for Raelyn. She remained drug free during her stay at teh shelter and credited teh structure of Safety first for her healing.
She realized, through the intervention of Safety First, that she needed to process the grief over the loss of her daughter. She was referred to a grief group at an outside agency. She also attended 5 NA groups a week, and enrolled in GED classes at the BG Technical College.
Safety First (a program through BRASS - Barren River Area Safe Space) enabled her to look at herself in a new light. One of the tactics utilized by an abuser is to berate their victim and tear apart the sense of self. Raelyn needed intense intervention in order to reestablish her identity and self confidence. Shelter Advocates are expert at referrals and accessing resources for residents. Raelyn's service plan included referrals to grief counseling, therapy, GED classes, career assessment, rape counseling, and medical services. She realized she had a full schedule for the first time in years. This empowered her to reverse behaviors associated with her addiction. Raelyn was most enthusiastic about her GED classes and preparing to receive her certificate. She never realized what she gave up when she dropped out of high school. She realized that a GED would be a ticket to employment. Her abuser never allowed her to work or have her own money. She completed her GED in two months and received her certificate. The next step was employment. After a few weeks with a temporary service, Raelyn was offered a job in an office. Raelyn was referred to Section 8 housing and was issued a voucher. She was amazed that she was able to complete the entire process and assisted in finding an apartment. This was the beginning of a new life for Raelyn. She remained drug free during her stay at the shelter and credited the structure of Safety First for her healing. She also decided to file a protective order before she exited the shelter. She gained strength from making decisions for her safety.