The woman whose story follows is a survivor of decades of domestic violence. She asked to remain anonymous, so for purposes of this story, her name has been changed to Kim.
The light in Kim’s eyes is enough to tell you that she’s full of dreams and ambitions. She loves to draw and sing and always dreamed of becoming an artist or musician. But Kim grew up in the Projects with a family who abused her and told her she’d never amount to anything. That, coupled with three near death experiences, led to her dreams being deferred.
“I got a lot of family abuse, then I married my husband and he beat me, too,” Kim said. “I got abuse from my husband and mother, so I couldn’t go to my family for help to escape. I couldn’t go to my friends neither. People said they were my friends, but they weren’t there when I needed them.”
In fact, sometimes her doctors were the only people who were there for Kim when she needed them, and she is no stranger to fighting for her life. Once, her mother beat her with a stool so severely that it caused her to develop deadly blood clots, which in turn caused her to have a slow and painful miscarriage. Another time, she suffered a second miscarriage because she was being beaten morning, noon, and night, then put out in the cold and left to fend for herself. When this miscarriage happened, Kim was in such poor health that her doctors originally feared she had cancer. Yet another time, her husband strangled her with an extension cord.
“I was living in Hell and I had to find my way out. I wouldn’t be sitting here right now if those doctors hadn’t saved me,” Kim said, her eyes moist with remembering.
After a time, Kim did escape from her abusive husband. She lived at First Light’s shelter for awhile and was homeless for some time, too. Some nights, Kim didn’t know where her next meal would come from or where she would lay her head.
“Sometimes I didn’t know where I was going to sleep, so I’d find a floor or a park bench. But I knew I couldn’t go back to my husband. He was physically abusive, but he was verbally and financially abusive, too. He’d take my money and tell me I was crazy when I asked for it,” Kim said. “He’d beat me in front of our kids and wouldn’t even let me talk. I’d pay the rent and bills, but I had no freedom and couldn’t even speak.”
Kim’s spirit is strong and these days she’s willing to tell her story in hopes that it will help others.
“I learned from my mistakes. I trusted the wrong people. I’ve forgiven my family, but I know I can’t be around them. I have to be around people who will motivate me,” Kim explained. “I’m looking forward to a better future.”
Kim’s better future isn’t too far away. She plans to go to school in the fall and take art classes.
“I passed all my tests to get into college even though my family said I’d never do it. I want to go to school to better myself. I’m going to take art classes since I love to draw,” Kim said, smiling at the possibilities her future holds.
In the meantime, she’s thankful for the food she receives from GBM because that’s one less thing she has to worry about as she plans for her future and gets back on her feet.
You can donate to GBM’s food pantry to help people like Kim by dropping off nonperishable food items at GBM, located at 2304 12th Ave. N. between the hours of 8:30am and 4:30pm Monday through Friday. Or, if you’d like to make a monetary donation, you can do so online or by making checks payable to Greater Birmingham Ministries. All donations are tax deductible.