“Someone was there at the National Domestic Hotline to answer my call and it made such a difference in my life,” says Deborah Melin, domestic violence survivor. “I literally didn’t know what to do next. My head was swirling with confusion, guilt, relief and all kinds of conflicting thoughts.”
Deborah Melin was in an abusive relationship for three years. Things were going along fine for about a year and a half, but then the abuse started. It was mental and verbal at first before progressing to controlling behavior and physical abuse. Over this time the abuse grew in both frequency and severity. At first she didn’t know exactly what was wrong. She turned to online resources for help and found our online site. She made numerous visits to the website, at first reading the section defining abuse, and soon Deborah to realize and accept that she was being abused.
She also learned how the abuse can grow over time. When she recognized the signs of escalating danger, she used website information she found on safety planning to keep a packed bag in case she needed to make a quick escape. Finally when the violence escalated, she called the police and had her partner arrested.
“I found myself in the car, leaving town to stay with family and I picked up the phone and called the hotline,” Melin said. “I knew they would be there when I needed to talk and they were. What I got from talking to them on the phone that day was a level of understanding that I had never had before, a level that my friends and family couldn’t provide. They understood exactly where I was and what I was going through — as opposed to being on the outside looking in.”
“I contribute to the organization because I want to help make sure someone is always available to answer the phone at the hotline when another victim needs help,” says Melin. “I know what a world of difference that call can make.”