By Shannon T.
Hello, YWCA OKC:
My name is Shannon T.
I am 50 years old. I have been married to a wonderful man for almost 22 years. I work for a bank. I walk into a room and people stop what they are doing and secretly say, “Oh My God…”
I am a strong woman. I am opinionated. I have a “do not mess with me” look on my face. I work hard for what I want, every day. But what most people do not know about me…is that I was a resident of the Passageway shelter for 3 weeks.
I carry myself with pride. I have two wonderful children, and two magnificent grandchildren. I have a wonderful, loving husband of almost 22 years.
People look at me and think, “Well, she has the best of the world. She is not like me. She was raised with confidence and never had to worry about a thing.” But they do not know about my challenges. They do not know about how I married Prince Charming…and then the beatings started. They do not know about the broken noses, the broken teeth, the shattered sense of self-worth…they do not know. Six years of torture…they do not know.
I gave up on my first marriage when he almost killed me. I had a coworker that worked for a shelter in Midwest City. I waited until HE was gone to work. I called my coworker, who then told me that he was not my answer…he gave me a number and told me to call and do what they told me to do.
That number was your number. I went and picked up my children from their great-grandmother’s house, and headed to the address I was given. I did as I was told. My instructions led me to you. I had a safe haven. I found a place to live…I started over.
I dated a man who treated me better than I thought I would ever be worthy of…and that’s my husband of almost 22 years.
Since I have been in a position to do so, I have donated to the United Way through my employer. One hundred percent to your facility. Quietly…no big deal. But my life started on the day I entered the doors to your private quiet healing sanctuary. I took advantage of the healing Grace that God gave me. And I hope that you know you guys are angels in disguise.
My wish is that you can share this story with your residents…I have nothing to gain through my trials, unless I can touch another.
Women should feel worthy. Women should feel empowered.
I still have nightmares and bad self-worth feelings, but I am cool with who I am. I am PROUD of who I am…and it all started that night you gave me directions to “your place.”
God bless you always for the good that you do.
With sincere respect and love,
The YWCA Oklahoma City Inez Kinney Gaylord Passageway Emergency Shelter is the only certified domestic violence shelter in Oklahoma County.
If you need immediate emergency assistance, call 911. If you need domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking hotline services, call: YWCA Domestic Violence Hotline: 405-917-9922 (YWCA); YWCA Sexual Assault Hotline: 405-943-7273 (RAPE); or the Oklahoma State SafeLine: 800-522-7233. For more information, visit ywca.org.