Cathy is a domestic violence survivor who had finally been able to leave her abusive husband after six years. Cathy’s husband threatened her numerous times that if she left him she would regret it. These were not empty threats as she had endured physical and emotional abuse. Cathy reached out to CCS’ confidential emergency shelter, Project Safehouse (PSH).
One day while at Project Safehouse, Cathy received a fax from a resource she was applying for. Our shelter manager headed to her apartment to deliver the message, and when she walked in, she noticed how Cathy had kept the unit immaculate and orderly. In the course of their conversation, Cathy opened her bedroom door to grab something and our shelter manager gasped at what she saw – a pile of laundry all over the floor that would make walking through the bedroom nearly impossible.
With her eyes brimming with tears and also smiling from ear to ear, Cathy said, “Can I tell you something? For the first time in so long I did laundry and I wasn’t yelled at for folding it wrong, chastised for wrinkled collars, or warned that I couldn’t go to sleep until I finished my chores.” She continued, “A shirt fell on the floor when I was doing laundry yesterday and I immediately bent down to pick it up. It was then that I realized that here in this place, I’m allowed to make my own decisions. It felt so freeing that I dumped the whole basket on the ground and I haven’t picked it up since!”
Cathy’s words took our manager’s breath away – wanting to cry and celebrate at the same time. For Cathy the simple act of having her clean laundry on the floor had become a symbol of her freedom from the abuse and control. Cathy, still smiling from ear to ear emptied two more baskets of laundry onto the floor that day with help of the staff. This time around, however, the tears were gone.
This #GivingTuesday, November 29th, please keep CCS and Cathy’s story in your hearts as you plan your giving. Make sure to stay connected via social media to hear our message and join us on this global day of giving back!