Sep 8, 2017 | by Fay Schuler

In June a mother Judy* and her 15-year-old son came into shelter fleeing a violent situation. Judy had a history of sex work and was dating the man who was involved in securing her work -- aka her pimp. He became violent and controlling and threatened to kill her numerous times and in front of her son. The abuser is a known gang member with easy access to weapons and resources which made the lethality of the situation high. 

Judy experienced a lot of shame due to past sex work. Some agencies were not willing to work with her and classify the relationship as a domestic violence situation. Her West Advocate stood by her side and provided support for her to obtain the domestic violence grant through DHS and continued to affirm Judy and her decision to seek safety. Judy began doing temp work shortly after coming into the shelter, and no longer engages in sex work.

During her time at The West, Judy was able to focus on her son, legal employment, and accessing resources for her family. Judy’s son was loyal to team sports at Cleaveland High and was supported by The West and his mom to continue his engagement with the team via transportation resources. A generous donor of The West even brought Judy’s son to the NIKE store and equipped him with everything he needed for the upcoming football season.

Judy was screened into our Women’s Housing Collaborative where she will receive a 12-month rental subsidy. Judy continues to work and looks forward to increasing her hours in the months to come. As she was preparing to move out she was overjoyed and so appreciative of the West and all we have provided to her and her son. She stated, “this will the first time my [15 year old] son will have his own room since he was 9 years old.” We look forward to continuing to work with Judy and her son in the year to come.

*A pseudonym name was used to protect her identity  

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