HOME

24-Hour Domestic Abuse Hotline: 208.343.7025

EXIT

Survivor Story: Elizabeth Gough

24-Hour Domestic Violence Hotline: 208.343.7025 24-hour Rape Crisis Hotline: 208.345.7273 (RAPE)
Elizabeth at her graduation from BSU

Elizabeth at her graduation from BSU

The following piece was written by survivor Elizabeth Gough. She is sharing her journey towards safety, healing and freedom. 

One of my favorite quotes is by J.K Rowling and she said: “Rock bottom is the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.”  My rock bottom was in early 2010.  At the time I was in an abusive marriage, I was 100 lbs. heavier, I was battling an addiction, and I was suicidal.  I had tried to leave my abuser 5 times during 2008 to 2010 and kept going back.  People asked me why I kept going back and my answer was simple yet complicated.  I was scared.  I had no plan b. I was a stay at home mom; I had no education, no job skills and no self-esteem.  I had been with my abuser since my late teens and I didn’t know anything else.

The first time I came to the WCA was in 2008.  I fled with my two girls and the clothes on our backs.  I stayed in the shelter and accessed most of the services that the WCA had to offer: counseling, the weekly support group, life skills classes, and case management.  I remember constantly crying and felt extremely depressed.  I felt like I would never be happy, I was miserable in my marriage and miserable alone.  At the time my girls were 1 and 3 and after a few months I went back to my abuser, determined to make my marriage work.  I had known my abuser since high school and he was my first serious boyfriend.  The abuse was slow building.  For years it was emotional abuse and I told myself that things weren’t that bad.  Then in 2007 the physical abuse started and still I told myself that until he broke a bone or punched me with a closed fist that it wasn’t real abuse. After that he started threatening my life and telling me he was going to kill me.  Still I didn’t leave.  It is amazing the things we can tell ourselves when we are brainwashed, and when we are trying to just survive.  I didn’t think that I was strong enough to leave or to do anything with my life, I felt worthless.

From 2008-2010 I went back to the WCA multiple times and it was one of the only places where I didn’t feel judged and a place where I could come back for help over and over.  I felt ashamed but so grateful that there was somewhere I could go for help.  In 2010 I finally left my abuser for good.  The abuse and isolation had escalated to a point where I knew that either he was going to kill me or I was going to kill myself and my kids needed a mother.  I packed my kids up in the car and I told them that we were going to start a new life.  I told them that they deserved a safe, happy and secure childhood, free from fear.  I told myself that somehow I would find the strength to become the mother that they needed and deserved.  I moved back in with my parents and started my new life as a single mom.

The rest of 2010 was one of the most amazing years of my life. It felt like an uphill battle at first but slowly I started making progress…I started going back to school, I lost weight, I went to counseling, the weekly support group at the WCA, I grew a garden and  I started on my way to becoming the person and mother that I wanted to be.  I felt a sense of freedom that I had never felt before.   My kids started thriving and slowly they started to feel safe.  The pride I felt in giving them a safe and stable home life was amazing.  That first Christmas after I got divorced I came to the WCA to pick up Christmas presents for myself and my girls.  I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw dozens and dozens of brightly wrapped packages.  I remember standing in the snow just sobbing; I couldn’t believe the generosity of strangers.

So fast forward to 2016.  My kids just finished 3rd and 5th grade and are so happy and well adjusted.  I am very happily remarried to the kind of man I used to dream about being married to, and being in a healthy relationship feels amazing.  I have mended relationships with family and friends.  My husband and I just bought our first home. This May, after 6 years of school I graduated with my Masters in Social Work. WCA Executive Director, Bea Black, was in the audience to watch me walk across the stage at graduation.

I want to thank everyone at the WCA for doing what you do.  Thank you for your gift of time, money, and donations. One of my favorite short stories is called “The Starfish”. It describes how one action can make all the difference.

Starfish story

I want to say that the WCA changed my life and I am that starfish.  Thank you for the important the work is that you are doing and all of the lives that you touch.

Back to Blog >>

EVENTS

Apr 24

2024

Denim Day

April 24, 2024 is Denim Day Order your Denim Day Outreach Kit! Denim Day is a day-long awareness campaign that allows us to honor survivors of sexual assault and start conversations about the dangers of victim-blaming. Why denim? In 1992 an 18-year-old Italian girl was sexually assaulted by her driving instructor. While he was initially […]

learn more

Apr 25

2024

WCA Virtual Mission Tour

Join us for a 35 minute virtual tour to learn about our mission of safety, healing and freedom through the stories of clients and the impact of our services. The WCA Mission Tour aims to inspire and educate about the complexities and realities of domestic abuse and sexual assault, both here in the Treasure Valley […]

learn more

May 07

2024

WCA Virtual Mission Tour

Join us for a 35 minute virtual tour to learn about our mission of safety, healing and freedom through the stories of clients and the impact of our services. The WCA Mission Tour aims to inspire and educate about the complexities and realities of domestic abuse and sexual assault, both here in the Treasure Valley […]

learn more

May 12

2024

Closets for Cause & Mother’s Day Dinner with Chandlers

Visit Chandlers on Mother’s Day, May 12th, to support the WCA through their Closets For A Cause event! This clothing pop-up is open to all from noon to 4 p.m. and we know you will find something you love. Additionally, visit https://www.chandlersboise.com/ to reserve your spot for their Mother’s Day Prix Fixe dinner, with proceeds […]

learn more

May 23

2024

WCA Virtual Mission Tour

Join us for a 35 minute virtual tour to learn about our mission of safety, healing and freedom through the stories of clients and the impact of our services. The WCA Mission Tour aims to inspire and educate about the complexities and realities of domestic abuse and sexual assault, both here in the Treasure Valley […]

learn more

Sep 03

2024

2024 Joyce Stein Award Celebration

HONORING THOSE WHO MAKE A POSITIVE IMPACT ON THE GROWTH AND ADVANCEMENT OF WOMEN The Joyce Stein Memorial Award is given in memory of Boisean Joyce Ann Stein, a long-time supporter of the WCA (YWCA). Each year an individual who has made a positive impact on the growth and advancement of women is honored. After […]

learn more

GET INVOLVED

PREVENTION & OUTREACH

VOLUNTEER

DONATE

© 2021 Women's and Children's Alliance | Privacy Policy | Equal Opportunity Policies