BEATING HEARTS: Stories of Domestic Violence

Case of Emergency

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Case of Emergency

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I put up with it for so long because I didn't think I had any other choice. But one night, I called the hotline number I'd seen on T.V., and they told me that if I had time, I should gather important papers and things I might need. I started getting things together. I put them in an old fire extinguisher box in our storage room so he wouldn't find it. I put my birth certificate in it, and the girls' immunization records. I got an extra prescription for Lauren's asthma medication, and I put one of her inhalers in the box. I got a copy of our marriage license, and our social security cards. I asked my girls' teachers for a copy of their school records. I put keys to everything in there: our house, the car, our muffler shop, and our safety deposit box.

And then one night, after he had held a knife to my throat when I let the girls go to a church party without asking him, I knew I'd better go. When he left for work the next day, I packed a suitcase for each of us, got the fire extinguisher box from the storage room, picked up the girls from school, and went to the closest shelter.

We've been here for two weeks, and I'm finally feeling calmer. I'm so glad I didn't have to try to get all of that stuff together when I was upset and scared to death.

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