Survivor Story

A Little Hope Goes a Long Way

After a brutal assault that left Laura with extensive injures to her eye socket and a missing tooth, Laura fled to a neighbor, who took her to the emergency room. The sheriff’s office was called, but fearing for her life, Laura refused to make a report or even meet with officers. The deputy left her friend with our contact information, she called the helpline, and DSVS was able to place Laura and her 6-year-old daughter Lexi in emergency shelter overnight.

The next day, when she came in to meet with our direct services advocate, her bruised eye was the size of a baseball and swollen closed. Together they discussed safety planning and some options for Laura to consider.

She’d been living with violence throughout her 15-year marriage. According to Laura, her husband had a looping pattern of losing jobs, alcohol abuse, and physical violence. The previous night’s assault was the worst it’s ever been, and Laura decided she needed to leave for her and Lexi’s safety. DSVS continued to provide shelter until Laura and Lexi could move in, temporarily, with Laura’s adult son.

The battle was far from over.

While in shelter, Laura’s tooth that was knocked out in the assault became infected and she had to have emergency surgery. Laura also discovered that her husband had cancelled her health insurance the month before. DSVS was able to pay for the emergency surgery and cover part of the cost of a retainer she needed to wear for a year. Laura quickly found a rental for her and Lexi and DSVS paid for her security deposit as well as two month’s rent.

Laura faces a huge stack of medical bills, which resulted from the assault, as well as a mountain of debt accumulated during her marriage. However, without her husband controlling her, Laura has been able to take on more work and has a plan to pay her debts. She’s started the process of divorce, and developing a parenting plan, but her husband calls her frequently to tell her he won’t allow it. Fortunately, for Laura, he can’t stop the process. It’s going to take time – likely longer than most divorces.

Lexi has struggled with the transition, and Laura has needed a lot of reassurance that she’s making the right decision for her and daughter. Laura’s fight is long from over, but every time she comes into the office she looks healthier and smiles with a little more ease. We believe in her, and we know this isn’t the end of her story.


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Domestic and Sexual Violence Services
Red Lodge Office
1119 South Broadway
PO Box 314 • Red Lodge, MT 59068
Office: 406-446-2296
Office Hours: 9-5, M-F

Domestic and Sexual Violence Services
Stillwater Office
565 N. 9th St., Suite 30
Columbus, MT 59019

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