At United Way, we know that some problems - violence and abuse - keep people trapped in isolation. That’s why we fund programs that support those in our community suffering in silence.
When Peggy is asked how life is different because of the help she got at The Women’s Center, she answers right away: “Now, I have hope.”
Smiling and confident, Peggy today is a lot different from Peggy ten, five, or even one year ago. “If I were someone else listening to my story, I wouldn’t believe it.”
Peggy first reached out to The Women’s Center when she and her young son fled domestic violence. “We were homeless with nowhere to turn,” remembered Peggy. “The Women’s Center helped us file a restraining order against my husband, find safe housing, and provided counseling for both of us. It was a saving grace.”
The Women’s Center in Waukesha provides safety, shelter, and support to empower people of all genders impacted by domestic abuse, sexual violence, child abuse, and trafficking. United Way funds five programs through The Women’s Center, which is the only resource of it’s kind in Waukesha County.
In 2017-2018, more than 7400 people accessed United Way-funded behavioral and mental health resources like those provided by The Women’s Center.
Years later, Peggy was in a loving marriage with a blended family of five children, but something still haunted her. “The second time I came to The Women’s Center was to deal with the childhood sexual abuse I had experienced,” recalls Peggy. “I knew if I stayed stuck in that broken place, it was going to continue to negatively affect my family.”
Peggy met with Madeline, Dual Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault Advocate at The Women’s Center, who helped guide Peggy on the path to healing. Madeline suggested that Peggy might benefit from joining a group therapy program for survivors of childhood sexual abuse.
“There is something about being around other people who have lived through it that was healthy and healing,” recalls Peggy, who loved the program. “Though the program is over, we all still keep in touch and support one another.”
“Peggy was really a leader of that group,” said Madeline. “It’s not easy work, sharing past trauma, but it was incredible to see Peggy rise to the challenge and everyone else follow her lead.”
These days, Peggy leads a fulfilling life at work and at home. She is proud of her youngest daughter, who is heading to college in the fall, and has begun to think about ways that she can help others.
“It’s scary, but I feel compelled to be a voice for others,” said Peggy. “I want those who are suffering to know that there is peace in healing. It’s super hard work, but it’s worth every teardrop, every stressful moment.”
“I would not have survived if it weren’t for The Women’s Center,” said Peggy. “I’m so, so grateful.”
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