Up Close and Personal: The People We Help

Survivors: A story of domestic violence and community impact

LCAC serves people from all walks of life and backgrounds. Sadly, one of the all too frequent life stories involves domestic abuse. LCAC has helped many people, predominately women, get back on their feet after escaping or being thrown out of a domestic violence situation. Read on to learn about one client’s story and how LCAC was able to help this survivor and her son.

Bianca and her teenage son, Oscar, were living a nightmare. The man who was supposed to be a loving husband and father was anything but that. He abused them – physically, emotionally and psychologically. Bianca was thrown down the stairs, routinely punched in the face, thrown against the wall and more. For almost seven years, Oscar witnessed his father beating up his mother and, when Oscar tried to intervene, he was also hit. As is common in many domestic violence situations, the husband controlled every aspect of Bianca’s life. She had no friends, no job, no phone and all outside communication was monitored by her husband. He controlled her with threats and by instilling fear of what he would do to her. When Bianca finally got the courage to call police, her husband displayed a polite and kind exterior and would not let his wife speak to the responding officer. Bianca explains that “It was very difficult for us to leave because we were very dependent upon my husband and had no support system outside the home.”

One day, Bianca’s husband kicked her and Oscar out of the house with just the clothes on their back. Mother and son were homeless for more than a month; living on the streets and hanging out in parks. Once darkness fell, they would use the park facilities and then attempt to sleep. Both mother and son were depressed. Thankfully, Bianca found support through the community. South County High School connected Bianca and Oscar to the Fairfax County Public School (FCPS) Homeless Liaison Office and the Lorton Community Action Center (LCAC). Bianca refers to the staff at both these agencies as their “angels.” And rightly so! This public/private collaboration helped return Bianca and her son to a stable living environment and connected them to vital resources which enabled both of them to work on rebuilding their lives. LCAC provided food, clothing, emotional support, job search assistance and financial assistance.

Bianca wanted to share her story because she hopes it will help other women in similar situations to have the courage to get out of an abusive relationship. The impact on Oscar is heart wrenching. He struggles with fear, anxiety, depression and everyday life can be a challenge. However, at least now he has a chance at a future! Bianca comments that “My experience has helped me to value myself more, to appreciate life and I have learned how to express my love and attention to my son.”

Thanks to YOUR support LCAC is here as a resource for Bianca, Oscar and the many others who are rebuilding their lives and, in Bianca’s words, “Building a better world for all of us.”