Elizabeth was a university student, training to be a narcotics agent, when she fell in love and got married. Three months later, her new husband hit her for the first time.
Too embarrassed to seek help from family, after 11 years of domestic abuse, Elizabeth was driven to desperation and decided to take her own life. “I remember one of the nurses yelling at me, ‘You need to fight for your life, for your children!’” she says. “I will always, always remember that voice… After the hospital, I decided that that was enough, and I decided to do something. I left my husband.”
Elizabeth and her four children found a safe and affordable home at Mercy Housing’s Casa San Juan Community. In her new, stable situation, Elizabeth studied to become a certified nursing assistant.
Today, Elizabeth serves on the board of Lideres Campesinas, an organization that seeks to empower women working as migrant farmworkers. She volunteers her time and shares her story of survival with other women who have experienced domestic violence. All of Elizabeth’s four children have graduated from or are in college, and are flourishing.
“Whether I am sick or healthy, I always try to be involved and help other people,” she says. “Without Casa San Juan, the Mercy Housing community where I live and raised my children, I don’t know where I would be. I might be homeless. I might be dead.”