Cheryl LaSonde

Domestic Violence Safe House Manager

Location: Spring Glen, NY

"I decided to relocate my family to a domestic violence safe house, where I learned that I was not alone."

I am a survivor of domestic violence.

I was in an abusive relationship for many years. Even after my husband and I separated, the emotional and psychological torment continued. I fled with my children to seek shelter with relatives. I had a very supportive mother and siblings who did what they could, but my abuser was always able to find us because of family connections. No matter where we went, he would always find a way to surface.

In one dark moment, he attacked me in front of my children and I suffered a brain injury. I knew then that I had to make a change. I decided to relocate my family to a domestic violence safe house, where I learned that I was not alone. 1 in every 4 women experiences domestic violence in her life. Homicide is a leading cause of death for pregnant women. And I felt like no one ever talked about it.

The move made such a difference in our lives. It helped my children to heal and to create new connections in the world. And it helped me open up. My greatest problem during the abuse was my shame to tell anyone what I was going through. At the time, I didn't have the resources or professionals in my life to help me with my own stability or feelings of isolation. I didn't want other women to feel as alone as I did.

I started a domestic violence hotline and used the internet to reach out to fellow victims. I wanted them to know that they have options. If they wanted to hear a comforting voice, strategize ways to keep their children safe, or find options to escape the abuse, they could find a safe space to do it. And, in a beautiful way, helping others helped me heal myself and reclaim my own self-worth.

The safe house that I reside in is now used to rescue and relocate families of domestic abuse to from the North to the South. My family and I have come a long way from our difficult past. Now, I find my strength from helping others who are in the position where I used to be. Domestic violence is a disease, but I am proud to do my part to help its victims heal.