Laughter radiated the halls as Angelique and her roommate walked to their first Personal Empowerment Program (PEP) class together. Evelyn sat comfortably, wearing a vibrant pink dress that matched her personality. Her bubbly manner and frequent jokes temporarily masked the recent trauma that she had endured.
Evelyn had just given birth to her first child, a daughter. She had been pumping breast milk and recovering from a C-section although the most important factor was missing…her child. The day she gave birth, Evelyn was attacked by the father of her newborn child while she was still in the hospital. Expecting the police to simply take him away, Evelyn was left stunned when the DCFS retrieved her newborn daughter from her as well.
“I don’t even feel like a mom,” she said during the PEP class.
Evelyn had already planned to come into Radiant Futures’s shelter program with her baby, but was left to enter the program alone with an active and challenging DCFS case. The relief of being far from an abusive partner was drowned out by the longing for her baby girl.
The need to get her daughter back motivated Evelyn to be proactive in the PEP classes as well as while finding a stable housing program that would accept her baby and herself. She regularly met with her counselor at Radiant Futures and her social worker, and never missed a supervised visitation with her baby. The process was hard and lengthy, however, Evelyn refused to give up and accept that her daughter would be cared for by someone other than herself.
Evelyn completed the program at Radiant Futures and moved onto a second step program where she was reunited with her daughter. It is there that she will work on attaining employment and transforming her life.
The services at Radiant Futures such as PEP provide participants with the knowledge about domestic violence that they need to process and understand the trauma they have experienced prior to coming into the program. PEP classes teach participants about domestic violence and how to identify the ways it manifests as well as how to form healthy relationships. Such information is vital for unhealthy patterns to cease, and to dispel various preconceived notions about domestic violence that often harm the survivor more than the abuser. Radiant Futures offers free PEP classes to the community; survivors can call the hotline at 877-531-5522 for assistance.
You can help parents like Evelyn have a chance to take back control and life a happier, healthier life. By generously giving to Radiant Futures, you are ending the cycle of violence and making your voice heard.