Survivor Story

Shelter for the Holidays

It was a chance meeting on the street that brought Char to our office. She’d been living in an abusive relationship for many years, and one of DSVS’s former clients recognized the signs of domestic violence and gently approached Char and her 3-year-old son, offering to help. Like many women in violent relationships, Char was not only suffering physical and sexual abuse, she was also dealing with emotional and financial abuse. She didn’t have access to money, had no transportation, no driver’s license, and was isolated from the community.

Recognizing the immediate need to help, our past client offered to help her pack up some necessities and brought Char and her son to our office – right before Christmas. It was clear to our advocate that Char was in a very dangerous situation and they quickly helped file a temporary order of protection for Char and her son. They were placed in shelter, and with the help of law enforcement, her location was kept a secret.

Char’s husband was infuriated at Char’s departure and called law enforcement numerous times to report that his son had been kidnapped. DSVS was able to successfully advocate and intervene on behalf of Char to law enforcement, and explain that this was a case of domestic violence, not kidnapping.

DSVS was able to obtain an attorney at no charge for Char for her permanent order of protection hearing.  After a grueling, three-hour long hearing, the judge granted the order for two more months to allow Char time to find a place to live, to start the process of filing for divorce and establish a parenting plan. With financial assistance from family, Char was able to retain the same attorney for her divorce and parenting plan. After spending both Christmas and New Years in shelter, Char was very motivated to move out of the area and start her new life.

With financial help from DSVS, Char successfully moved and set up her new home in an apartment in a new city. Thankfully, Char was able to find employment within the first week of this new transition. Char had always had an incredible work talent, but her husband would not allow her to work as he knew it could lead to her having financial independence.

Char’s divorce and parenting plan are still tied up in the court process, but for now, Char is loving her independence. She’s working four days a week, bonding with her son, and she has made numerous friends along the way. These relationships are helping her in her long road to recovery.


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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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