Josephine is many things – a woman, a mother, and a domestic violence survivor. One thing she is not, is a statistic.
"I'm just happy to be alive, that I'm not a statistic, because I do know that a couple women in Nassau County lost their lives. I could have been one of them," she reflects.
Born and raised in Nassau County, Josephine became involved with a man who was her best friend. He later turned into the father of her third child and consequently, her abuser. When her son was born, she made the heart-breaking choice to put him up for adoption for his own protection due to the constant abuse, and presence of drugs and alcohol in the household.
In 2013, she decided she had had enough of the substance and physical abuse cycle she seemed stuck in. She recognized that she was simply existing, and not truly living. She entered the rehabilitation program at Nassau University Medical Center, and was introduced to United Way of Long Island community partner The Safe Center LI. Her social worker offered her hope that she had never known before, even informing her that a large scar on her face caused by the physical abuse could be surgically repaired through a network of doctors who donate their services, if she stayed away from her abuser for one year.
She reached this milestone, and received the surgery that would bring her confidence in herself again. Now, Josephine is in her fourth year of recovery, and is determined to help others in her situation recognize that there is help out there. After years of lying to her family about her injuries, and making excuses to justify the behavior of her abuser, today she can finally say that she is moving forward.
"There's nothing wrong with reaching out to get help. Nobody deserves to be controlled. I was told that I couldn't talk to certain people, be around certain people. Today, I am a woman who can go places I want to go without anyone else controlling me and that's all thanks to the Safe Center for loving me until I could love myself."
About The Safe Center LI
The Safe Center LI is a creation of two former non-profit agencies that separately served the victims of domestic abuse and child abuse. Located in a historic Grumann building in Bethpage, it was created in 2014 through the merger of the Nassau County Coalition Against Domestic Violence (CADV) and the Coalition Against Child Abuse & Neglect (CCAN). Each had been providing services for victimes of abuse for over 30 years.