When Tonya* first came to Stepping Stones, she was defeated. After years of physical and emotional abuse from her partner, she decided that enough was enough.

Tonya called Stepping Stones to get help. She had a safe place to live, but she decided she wanted to commit to frequent meetings, support groups, and planning with the advocates in order to truly start making long term change in her life.

She got connected to therapy and met with advocates regularly to work through all the things she experienced over the years. One “light bulb” moment for her was in an educational group about family dynamics. She understood for the first time that she had modeled some behaviors she learned from her parents throughout her life. “I realized that we never talked about anything serious, and now as an adults, I still do that. I don’t know how to have a confrontation and my partner took advantage of that throughout our relationship.”

Now, Tonya continues to talk with advocates and a therapist in order to keep working toward living free from all forms of victimization. “One of the best things is that the advocates helped me with my specific needs, but they also held me accountable and to my highest potential as a self-standard. For the first time in a long time, I believe in myself and know that I can make decisions to keep myself safe.”

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*name changed