The High Holidays are a time of reflection and renewal. Because of your support, clients like Jan* can come to SHALVA and find the strength to reflect on their past and rebuild their lives.
When I first came to SHALVA, I was recovering from a verbally, emotionally, psychologically and at times, physically abusive relationship. I had just been beaten up by my boyfriend. He had put me in a choke hold, pushed me down stairs, punched me and bent back my wrist until I thought it would break.
I might have done nothing and stayed in the seven-year relationship, but a neighbor had called the police. I felt confused, humiliated, and my self-respect and esteem were in the cellar. My neighbor gently nudged me to see the police social worker. After a few sessions, the social worker recommended SHALVA. I had heard of SHALVA through various Jewish organizations and my synagogue, but I was always too timid to call them. But now I was in very bad shape, so I decided to contact them. It was the best decision I made.
SHALVA gave me the tools and wherewithal to find the strength to keep going. They helped me realize that this abusive relationship was not my fault. I was hurting not just from my wounds but also from painful emotions. I kept beating myself up for staying in this abusive relationship so long when I knew there was no future.
My therapist helped me to understand that I could find strength and courage within myself and that I could find productive ways to overcome this sad time in my life. She showed me that I did not need a relationship to define myself. I began to participate more in social groups, and I enjoyed my alone time – cooking, reading and sewing.
If three years ago, anyone would have told me that I would have the strength and courage to clear out my house, sell it and move out of state, I would not have believed it. But I had the moral support of SHALVA. They helped me believe that I was capable and could do it.
Every day I wake up with moments of gratitude. I have moved to my own lovely home, surrounded by mountains and sunshine, a lemon tree and bougainvillea. I am now in a healthy, loving, giving relationship that developed out of a good friendship. I have joined a health club, a book club and a synagogue.
I miss SHALVA, but I know they are a phone call away. I will always be thankful for their support, their counseling, their sensitivity and their generosity. I hope that anyone who needs their help will not hesitate to seek it.
*Name has been changed for client confidentiality.