40 Stories - Survivor of the Month

Survivor of the month

Ms. Velazquez arrived in Atlanta from Mexico with her husband and children, their sights set on the American dream.  After 20 years of marriage and two kids she fled to our emergency shelter.  Scared for her life, scared for her kids and scared of possible deportation she arrived in our shelter with the clothes on her back and her children in her arms. 

While in the PADV shelter, Ms. Velazques served as a model for other clients.  She cooked for the families, treating the shelter like she would her home, always providing a welcoming face as new families came through the Safe House doors. 

While in our program, Ms. Velazques was faced with devastating news.  In a therapy session her son revealed ongoing sexual abuse by his father.  Somewhat comforting was the son stating how relieved he was that his mother had left, because he finally felt that his family was free.  PADV found ongoing counseling and support to help Ms. Velazques and both of her children deal with the many types of trauma they had endured. 

Eventually Ms. Velazques was able to find a job, apply for legal status through the Violence Against Women Act, and enter our transitional living program, providing her twelve months of subsidized housing, resources, case management and support. We are happy to report that even with the tremendous obstacles she had to face, this kind, caring and courageous woman has created a safe and abuse free life for herself and her children.