Jamie called Bradley Angle in March of this year looking for a support group. She had been silently struggling with the shame and fear of living with an abusive partner, someone who in this case was also the father of her two school-aged children.
“I never know what’s going to set him off, or if this is going to be the time that he knocks me out and I never wake up,” she told the advocate on the other end of the crisis line.
With the help of her new Bradley Angle advocate, Jamie began to attend weekly support groups, where she was able to speak with other women who were experiencing violence in their homes and to see that she wasn’t alone. She began to create a foundation for understanding how domestic violence was affecting her life, and the lives of her children, and she worked with her advocate to create a safety plan. But at home, the violence was escalating. After only a few weeks of starting group, Jamie called the police after her partner kicked her several times in the chest, breaking three of her ribs. Even though Jamie’s partner was told to stay away from her apartment, he continued harassing her. He was friends with all of their neighbors, and he’d break into the apartment with his extra key to steal personal items and leave threatening notes and messages for Jamie.
One night at her support group, Jamie turned triumphantly to her advocate and the other survivors. “I came home this afternoon, and found him passed out on the couch,” she said. “I held my breath, snuck over to where he was lying, and took his extra key from his pocket. When he woke up and demanded to know where the key had gone, I told him he must have lost it when he was sloppy drunk. He’ll never bother me again.” But when Jamie returned home, she found that a locked door hadn’t deterred him. She knew that it was time for her to leave.
Jamie and her advocate worked tirelessly to find space at an emergency shelter for her and her kids. But because nine out of ten women in Portland are turned away due to lack of space, she was unable to find an opening. Bradley Angle was able to provide her with enough hotel vouchers for three weeks of safety. She continued attending group and meeting with her advocate to look for resources until a room became available and she was able to move in to the shelter. She pursued housing and education options that she learned about from her advocate, and she found herself, over time, becoming an advocate for others in the support group and at the shelter.
After weeks of searching, Jamie finally found a safe apartment of her own. Bradley Angle helped move her into her new place and filled the empty apartment with donated furniture and household goods. They paid her first month’s rent and her deposit, along with six months of rental assistance until she and her kids could get back on their feet. With the continued support of her advocate, Jamie applied for and was accepted into a scholarship program at Portland Community College, where she is working toward earning her degree. Although today Jamie and her children are happy to report that they are safe, Jamie continues to attend support group and safety plan meetings with her advocate.
“People here understand me in a way that friends or family who haven’t been through the cycle of abuse never could,” Jamie said.
On October 12, 2004, I became intimately acquainted with Bradley Angle. I left my boyfriend of four years on the 10th with two kids, a stroller, a diaper bag, and the clothes we were wearing. My 17-year-old son had fled to a teen shelter three days before and decided to stay there for a while, so it was me and an 11-year-old and a 3-year-old. We had nowhere to go, and I had no idea what to do... Read More »
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BRADLEY ANGLE•5432 N. Albina Ave.•Portland, OR 97217•503.232.1528