When I first had to go to court for my case against a man that is stalking me, I was put in contact with the Domestic Violence Center. A woman had come up to me and handed me her card, telling me to call the number, saying that I could receive additional support there. At first, I was skeptical because I didn’t feel I was a victim of domestic violence and figured my case was way different from anyone else there.
Soon after it became clear that this whole ordeal was taking a toll on me and that I should seek additional help. I had decided to give the hotline a call but for awhile that’s all I did, just think about it. I wasn’t sure what was keeping me from calling the help center, maybe I was in denial about what was happening to me. Maybe it was that I felt I was so alone and that not even the law was on my side.
One night I finally got up the courage to call them and remembered that it was a 24-hour hotline. I dialed the number and spoke to a woman on the phone and asked if there were any support groups in my area. She gave me the name of a woman that I could contact and I did, the next day. The woman was very friendly and told me about the support group, that it ran an hour and a half long and that there were usually six to eight people in it. Sometimes more, sometimes less. She told me that the location was confidential, gave me the directions and I told her I would be at the next meeting.
For some reason, the rest of that week I had been freaking out because I wasn’t sure if I really wanted to go. I didn’t want to talk to anyone about my situation, I guess I just wanted to go there and listen to get a feel for the group. I ended up calling the woman back and asking her if I was required to speak during the meeting and she said no, it was entirely up to me and that I could just sit back and listen if I wanted to. That eased my mind a little, but I was still nervous about going.
The night of the meeting I showed up and remembered that I had forgotten to ask for the room number. I saw a few women standing around outside of a room and discovered that they were there for the meeting as well.
We all head into the room and sit down. By the time the meeting was supposed to start there were only me, myself and the woman running the group. She looked at me and the other woman and asked if we had anything we wanted to share. I don’t know what came over me but I piped up and said I would go first. As I told my story, more women started to show up and it didn’t scare me one bit. I had some of the women asking me questions as I talked, wanting to know more about my situation because I was new. After I was done, I felt relieved. I felt like these women were really listening to me and were interested in helping me out.
As I listened to the other women tell their stories, I realized that while our cases might not be the same, we all felt the same feelings about what was going on with each and every one of us. We were all scared and fearful of our lives. We all needed someone going through something similar so that we could understand our own feelings.
When I left, I asked myself what I had been so afraid of before. I know I am going through a lot, and it is nice to have more people there to support me and telling me that I’m doing the right thing. For anyone that is a victim of domestic violence or stalking, I would recommend contacting the Domestic Violence Hotline and having them direct you to a local support group in your area.