“I always had a roof over my head and family around me,” April says. “I never thought I would be in a situation that was so desperate that I would become homeless.”
But there was a dark secret at the heart of April’s family–one she had to confront to save both herself and her daughter.
“My grandfather was not just my PaPa,” April explains sadly. “He was also the man who molested me at home. In fact, he molested all the women in the family, and no one did anything about it.” No one but April.
As a child, she didn’t report her abuse because, “Who do you tell when you are seven years old? Who do you run to when the people who should care, don’t?” So April lived in silence and shame until the day she came face-to-face with an even worse nightmare. “I had left my daughter with my mom while I went to church to do some volunteer work. When I returned, I learned that she had caught my grandfather touching my daughter in inappropriate ways. I was told that if I mentioned this to anyone, my daughter would be taken away from me.”
April’s life was at a crossroads. “I think I felt every conceivable, frightening, angry emotion. This was my little girl and I had to protect her.” So April gathered up a few bags of clothes and what little money she had, and left the “security” of home to find a better life for her child.
“In June 2007 we came to the Star of Hope Transitional Living Center and found freedom–freedom from abuse, freedom from fear, freedom from the lie that I had no say in my life. Now we are free to build a good, strong family life in which Jesus Christ is Lord, just as Psalm 127 says, ‘Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it.’”
“I don’t feel like the same person who came to Star of Hope on that difficult day in June. I am so thankful. The classes, instructors and beautiful people I’ve gotten to know made it all worth it. Once upon a time I couldn’t look people in the eyes; I walked with my head down. But I am working on standing up for myself and walking with my head held high.”
April’s story brings tears to our eyes, but there are tears of triumph too! Because of your steadfast support, April and her daughter had a safe refuge and all the help they needed to overcome their terrible past. Today April dreams of helping other women like herself by speaking at domestic violence shelters. She also hopes to use her musical gifts for ministry. Best of all, as April says, she and her daughter are free from the generational cycle of abuse that nearly destroyed them.
If April could meet you, the first thing she’d tell you is, “Thank you for being there when I needed you. I could not have had a place to go where I could dream and find help, if you had not been so generous in your support. I am a new person!”