HER: “He left me. He says I am too stupid to be worth his time and our son is going to be stupid just like me. He’s mad because if he gets a job he has to tell child support and they will take 65% of his paycheck. He says I should work because I am a breeder just like the woman who had his first two kids and one woman should work to pay the other because we are both sucking out his soul.”
ME: “Where are you now? Are you able to pay for the motel on your own?”
HER: “No. I am at my father’s house and my husband is not allowed to come see me. But, I have a problem”
ME: “Okay, it sounds like you have a stable place to stay. What is your problem?”
HER: “My husband was driving me to Domestic Violence therapy and classes. How am I supposed to get there now. I hope my sister will drive me.”
ME: “Did you receive the money I gave you to buy a monthly bus pass so you can get around?”
HER: “Yes, but my husband spent that money. He said I don’t need no bus pass because I am too stupid to ride the bus by myself”
This is the actual phone conversation I just had.
When you think about Welfare Moms and domestic violence victims who can apply to receive aid for longer than five years – remember me and my phone call.
I have had this client for over a year and just this month convinced her to attend Domestic Violence therapy. She married very young and never completed High School. Her husband is hyper-religious and as the “Voice of God” in their relationship, he made all of her decisions. He isolated her from friends and family and kept her from getting an education. He and his first wife were on cash aid and he lived off of the it without a steady job. He was thrilled when my client got pregnant and applied for cash aid at the first possible moment and continued demanding that she collect bottles and cans to pay for the motel room they stayed in.
This month I have made her my special project and talk to her 3 times a week on the telephone and ask her to come in each week to see me in person. In addition, she has started Domestic Violence Therapy. I am hoping that their current relationship doesn’t have a prayer. My wish is that she stands up for herself and creates a healthier relationship with him: married, divorced, or whatever. But, that will take time. Building her self-esteem and then improving her remedial skills so that she can support herself and her son – we are looking at years of work on someone who can barely write her name as it is. Although many bright women fall in love with abusive men, my client was especially susceptible because of her I.Q. and lack of education.
GAIN and Welfare / CalWORKS will offer her Domestic Violence therapy, and we will pay for child care so she can attend therapy as well as classes to earn her GED and a vocational trade so she can work and pay rent. In addition, she will have a case manager, either me or someone equally skilled, to encourage her to keep progressing.
That is, unless she goes back to her husband wich is almost a certainty since the average woman leaves her abuser 7 times before separating permanently. Some women, however, don’t have the chance to leave the 7th or 8th time because they are killed by their abuser.
Why am I writing this in a Homeless Blog? Well, because Domestic Violence is the leading cause of homelessness in women and women and children are the fastest growing population in the Homeless Community.