“My name is Liyane (not her real name), a survivor of Domestic Violence. Eight years ago, I relocated from Houston, Texas, to Denver, Colorado, with my two children. My partner was very abusive, and he would beat me without remorse; at the last altercation, he almost strangled me to death in the presence of our children. At the time, my eldest daughter was three years old, and my second daughter was five months. Our three year old had down syndrome. She was a happy child until she became ill; a medical error at the emergency room where she did not receive oxygen caused her to have a brain injury. Due to the injury, she was unable to walk and talk. My partner refused to be supportive, and his behavior towards me worsened, and the children were always in the middle. I reached out to an auntie who resides here in Colorado, explained my situation, and she offered her small home to the children and me. I obtained a bus ticket to Colorado, and the next day my cousin met us at the Greyhound bus station. My partner knew that my auntie lived in Colorado, and for safety reasons, I decided it would be best for us to stay at a Domestic Violence Shelter. A friend of my auntie gave me Gateway’s number, and I was nervous to call, but when I did call, a sweet voice answered the phone and said: “Good Morning, this is Gateway, how can I help you.” I asked if there was anyone that spoke Spanish, and the advocate said, “yes, I do speak Spanish,” I felt relief, and we spoke for 45 minutes doing the entrance paperwork. Three hours later, I was at the shelter, “safe haven,” with my girls. All the advocates accepted us with a warm welcome, I stayed at Gateway for seven months because of my sick child, and soon before we were able to move into housing, my beautiful daughter passed away in my arms. The advocates were very supportive.
While staying at the shelter, I retrained in what’s normal and what’s not normal in a relationship. My life has changed enormously since I left the past behind and with the empowerment received from the advocates at the shelter. I am a different person, successfully raising my daughter and holding down my own business as an esthetician, and reaching out to other survivors with encouraging words. Because of Gateway, I have learned that I am powerful, can be independent, live a life free from violence, and can accomplish all my objectives in life. Thank you, Gateway, for all you do!”