Tina's storyMy Aunt Jane lived with us. She was a nurse and that is just what I wanted to be. I finished high school as a nurse’s aide and my union paid for me to become an LPN. I met Jack while I was working and going to nursing school. He said he loved me. I told him I loved him.

Telling him was not enough; I had to prove it to him. We started to have sex. He was rough. I missed work because I was hurt. I lost my job. When I lost my job the union wouldn’t pay for school anymore. Jack said, “What do you need work and school for when you have me?” When the babies came, Jack just got rougher.

Aunt Jane took me to a shelter. Women’s Survival Space saved my life. When I moved to my new apartment, I didn’t know how to run a family. I thought, maybe it wasn’t so bad with Jack after all. My case manager from Women’s Survival Space said, “Go to the Center, they will help you.” I joined the Support Group. The women gave me the support to go on alone in my apartment and not to call Jack for help.

It seems so long ago. I look back and see the things the support group did together, like the Christmas and Mother’s Day parties for the women who used to be in the shelter, and I know I can do a lot more than I thought I could.

I am excited about life now. I am attending culinary school, training to be a pastry chef. My girls are doing well. I sleep at night.