The Gatehouse Helps Abuse Survivors in North Texas Rebuild - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth
When Home Hurts

When Home Hurts

The Gatehouse Helps Abuse Survivors in North Texas Rebuild

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    Texas is second only to California in calls to domestic violence hot lines, and Dallas-Fort Worth has the most calls of any metro area in the state. The Gatehouse in Grapevine is a long-term refuge that helps women get back on their feet and back to life after abuse. (Published Monday, Nov. 13, 2017)

    Texas is second only to California in calls to domestic violence hot lines, and Dallas-Fort Worth has the most calls of any metro area in the state.

    NBC 5 spent some time with a domestic violence survivor who lives at The Gatehouse in Grapevine with her two young daughters. The Gatehouse is a long-term refuge that helps women get back on their feet and back to life after abuse.

    Mari is not giving her last name to protect herself and her daughters from her past abuser.

    We visited her last week and she recalled the first time she toured the Gatehouse.

    "I said, 'Wow, this is home. This is home and we can just relax,'" she said.

    Mari escaped an abusive marriage two years ago with her two daughters.

    "You think men are hard tempered, and that's just the way they are," she said.

    Mari says it started with verbal abuse, then escalated.

    "I was just so tired of it, and I said, 'I'm done, I'm done,' and as soon as I said those words, it's like this demon possessed (him). He jumped me and strangled me, and I didn't even know what was going on," Mari said. "This was in front of my daughter, and then he let go, and I was like, 'What just happened?'"

    But leaving, Mari says, seemed impossible.

    "You just say, 'OK, to keep everyone safe — my daughters, myself safe — you just try to go with the flow,'" she said.

    The turning point, she says, was something her daughter said.

    "I was taking my oldest daughter to kindergarten and she said, 'Mom, Daddy was really mad at you yesterday,' and I just started to cry," Mari said.

    After some time in an emergency shelter, Mari applied online for a spot at The Gatehouse. "When I came and saw the apartment, you're just so overwhelmed by the love and support, and to think that someone is actually there to love you," she said through tears.

    The Gatehouse provides a safe place to live, a general store with food and even a boutique called "Keeps" with fresh clothes.

    Lisa Rose, president of The Gatehouse, says it's more than a home. It helps restore dignity for women.

    "When she arrived, there was no joy, there was shame and hopelessness. Now she's confident, she walks with her head up, she's well spoken, she's educated and she's in a self-supportive job," Rose said.

    The Gatehouse has served 302 women and children since opening two years ago. Twenty-nine have graduated, and eight more will in the next couple of months.

    Women can stay up to two-and-a-half years, but they commit to healing and making positive, long-term changes in their lives.

    Every need is met, Rose says.

    "Food, clothes, medical, dental, legal aid, childcare, professional counseling for the women and kids and financial literacy classes," Rose said.

    Rose says the program is not a fit for every women. Some don't complete the full program. Mari is getting her master's degree in theology, saying she wants to use the pain of her past to assist others through ministry.

    "Just to take that step out in faith that everything is going to be OK, not knowing where you're going to go, and then God leads the way," she said.

    In six months, Mari and her girls will pack up, move out and spread their wings and thrive.

    LEARN MORE: Women looking for help can apply online to The Gatehouse.

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