Escaping Domestic Abuse

Last year DuPage County officials reported 6,452 domestic abuse cases. With the help of a local shelter, victims no longer have to feel trapped. Through housing and counseling Family Shelter Services aids more than 600 abusive relationships in DuPage County each year. One person who couldn’t be more thankful for that is Murl Honeywood. She spent nearly two years in an abusive relationship before finally getting out

“There was an incident where the police had to be called and actually I stayed in my car for a week, then I stayed with family for about a week, and then I made the call,” said Honeywood.

Karen Kuchar, Executive Director of Family Shelter Services believes recognizing you’re in a dysfunctional relationship is half the battle.

“Sometimes they call us and they don’t know,” said Kuchar. “It never really hit but ‘He’s got financial control, He’s emotionally abusive and he doesn’t let me see my family.’ We help them talk through the relationship and what their steps could be.

Kuchar says that 90% of victims are women and children and perhaps the hardest part about seeking help is finding the courage to do so.

“Every situation is different but when they come in and start talking to other women they recognize that some of those patterns are the same in other relationships and they can start to feel like they’re not alone,” said Kuchar.

“You have to make the first step and realize that you deserve something more than what you are getting,” said Honeywood. “You have to feel empowered and coming to Family Shelter Services has empowered me. It has sparked a fire in me. Don’t be afraid, I was very fearful and that has gone away.”

Honeywood says the shelter has been a safe haven for her and she wants to spread one message to all the other victims.

“Don’t give up and know that you are worth more than that,” said Honeywood. “You don’t deserve to get hit, yelled at or mistreated in any way. You do have a voice and if you do reach out there is a facility here for you.”

She says since joining the shelter her life has been nothing short of incredible. For more information on the shelter or to seek help visit their website familyshelterservice.org.

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