Kansas City is a long way from Wichita, Kansas, which is why Anna came here after fleeing for her life. Newhouse Domestic Violence Shelter came up in a search for help on her cell phone, so Anna called the hotline and planned her escape. A bed was coming available and would be held for her if she could make it to the shelter in three days. She secretly sold her car, boarded a bus carrying little and stepped off into a completely unfamiliar world. She made it to the police station as directed, seeing the bed hold deadline approaching and passing. Worried she would have no where to go, she kept calling Newhouse to tell them she was on her way, and finally made it there safely that night.
Anna’s life had become one of anxiety, fear and isolation. She was terrified to leave the house because she might encounter the man she was stilled married to, and he would again follow through on the threats he never stopped making. In her late 50’s with grown children and grandchildren in Wichita, Anna finally understood that her life could not continue as it had been. So, she fled—telling no one. Her family would not know her whereabouts for 4 months, but she trusted no one to withstand her husband’s pressure and his relentless pursuit to find her.
Safe at Newhouse, with basic needs met, Anna began to be less anxious and fearful. She read about the programs, resources and house rules, determined to do what she was supposed to do. She went to classes, did chores and talked to other women. As she listened to them, she realized that she was not alone, and that they, too, had fled horrific situations. But Anna said it was her sessions with her therapist that saved her. There was so much darkness in her life, Anna worried that she would drag her therapist down. But together they became strong enough to pull Anna away from her past and have the strength to live a new life, including filing for divorce. In Wichita, although she only lived across the railroad tracks from a Walmart, she rarely went and always hurried, looking over her shoulder expecting to see her husband coming after her. The realization of how far she had come occurred while she was running errands with other Newhouse residents. Standing in the middle of CVS, Anna suddenly realized she was no longer afraid, and that she, too, could be a normal woman out shopping.
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