We’re following Stephanie* for a year, and this is our 12th and last letter about her time receiving services from our 24/7/365 advocacy programs. Read below the latest from Stephanie and her kids!

“Wow…I can’t believe it’s been almost a year since I came to Stepping Stones with my kids. The holidays inspire me to reflect back on the year and see how far I’ve come.

I can’t believe how much has happened and how things have changed. It wouldn’t have if I didn’t make the choice to leave the abuse. It was so hard and I was so scared. Sometimes I feel like I should have just stayed because at least I knew what to expect. Now, everyday is new and it can be scary but in a good way.

It’s hard to believe that I lived with his anger and violence for so long. After months talking with advocates, and even when I did try to go back with him, I understand now why I was so trapped. It took me months of reflection to see that my insecurity and fear kept me stuck, and I was relying on what I knew rather than taking the chance to do something scary like stepping out to live on my own with my kids. I had bad boundaries and let him walk all over me because I couldn’t stand up for myself.

I feel hopeful now. Me and my kids have a chance to live without that fear. It’s still a long road ahead, but for the first time, I feel like we are going to make it through!”