Karen couldn’t admit to herself that her relationship with her husband was abusive.
They had a young son together and they were business partners. She tried to hide the psychological and physical harm from her son and everyone else in her life. A part of her believed she must have done something wrong in order to deserve the abuse.
“When you trust someone else’s judgement of you more than you trust your own judgement of what’s going on, that is the beginning of going crazy,” she says, looking back on those years.
But when her son began to act out at preschool, Karen realized that she wasn’t concealing the abuse as well as she thought. A teacher from her son’s preschool recognized what was going on, and gave Karen the phone number for Women In Transition (WIT). Knowing that something had to change, she gave us a call.
A Turning Point
On the very first night that she attended a WIT support group, Karen was blown away by the strength of the other women as they talked about what they were dealing with. She saw the parallels between her situation and theirs. And she realized that, though she was cutting herself down and blaming herself for her own abuse, she would never do the same to the other women in the group.
“I made a pact with myself after that,” she said, “I was not going to cut myself down anymore, because I was in the same position as they were.”
That was a turning point for Karen. She kept going to the weekly support group, and slowly began to share more of her story with the other Survivors. Over the course of several months of individual counseling and group support, Karen grew stronger and more open about her situation. She no longer tore herself down or blamed herself for her own abuse. She knew that she deserved better.
“WIT helped save my life.”
On the day that her abuser threatened her life, Karen knew enough was enough. She called a close friend who agreed to take her in. The next day, she gathered her belongings, picked up her son from day care, and went to her friend’s house. Karen was lucky to be able to move into an apartment the very next week. Finally, she was free, safe, and on her own.
“When I first moved into my apartment, I didn’t even have electricity. I slept on the floor the first night. And I felt so light. I felt so good,” Karen said. “I felt a 700 pound weight come off my back. I’d been feeling this deep confusion for months and years, and I didn’t feel confused anymore. It was amazing.”
With WIT’s help, Karen equipped herself with the tools she needed to escape and rebuild her life. She says today that without WIT, she doesn’t know where she would be. “WIT’s counseling was more impactful than any class I’ve ever taken, more impactful than my college degree. WIT helped save my life.”
Today, Karen proudly serves on Women In Transition’s Board of Trustees. She runs her own successful business, Karen Singer Tileworks, and is remarried to a loving and supportive husband. She is a passionate advocate for Survivors of domestic violence. Karen shares her story so that others can understand the transformative impact that WIT’s services can have on Survivors.
Karen told her story at the MISSION Story Slam in May 2018, winning first place and $250 for Women In Transition.