Overcoming the feelings of fear, guilt and failure make leaving an abusive relationship difficult for any woman. Now imagine being on disability, having three children under the age of 13 and you haven’t worked in years. That’s exactly the situation one of our Got IT clients stared down and is in the process of overcoming.
Xena (we’re withholding her real name for her privacy and safety so we’ve chosen an appropriate fictional name to honor the “Warrior Princess” she is) never imagined she’d need help from anyone, much less find herself asking for a free computer. She’d worked hard all her life, married the person she thought was her best friend and never bought anything she couldn’t afford. Things were going just fine for Xena and her husband until a tragic accident left her physically disabled, emotionally wounded and unable to work. As the bills piled up, so did the pressure on their marriage. Frustrating conversations turned to arguments. Arguments became shouting matches.
When she started fearing for her kids’ safety as well as her own, Xena decided she had to move on. “I swallowed my pride,” she explained: “I continued to put my kids first and let them be my reason for strength. Instead of worrying about what I was going to do I said, ‘Well this isn’t working’ and I made a LIST. For every single thing I was going to need in the long term, short term and daily and then I got to work.”
Xena signed up for Section 8 housing and checked in with her local housing authority for subsidized housing. She called her local DHHS office to connect with a case manager, signed up for TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families), food stamps and insurance. “I reached out to my local Family Violence Project advocate. I called the hotline. I called 211 for info. I got myself and my children case managers. I spoke with the kids’ pediatrician about the correct referrals for their different needs. I reached out to clothing banks and food banks to help us get out of our house and on our feet in a new place.”
Once she and her children settled into their new apartment, Xena turned her attention to helping her kids to get ready for school and herself to prepare to go back to work. She asked her case manager where she could get a used computer and was referred to give IT. get IT. The rest is anything but history. It’s about the brighter future Xena is creating for herself and her children. We provided her with a powerful, reconditioned desktop computer that her children are now using to learn online and that she uses to clip coupons, correspond with her case managers and eventually train for a new career. Xena feels the more optimistic and hopeful than she has in years and she’s excited to see her children acquiring the computer skills they need to have successful careers of their own.
We’re extremely grateful to Xena for sharing the difficult details of her story and we sincerely hope she inspires women in similar situations to find their strength. “Don’t be scared to ask for help,” she says. “It’s not just for you as a person and as a parent it’s for your babies. Let them be your motivation for making all the right moves.”
As inspiring as Xena’s attitude is, her unfortunate story is all too familiar for us at give IT. get IT. Each year, we receive dozens of referrals from organizations that help women leaving abusive relationships and need help to start new lives.
If you’re moved by Xena’s story and want to help us be ready for the next person in her shoes, please consider making a donation or a full sponsorship. For just $250, we can provide a person like Xena with a free computer, training and a year of technical support. When you give someone like Xena the tools she needs to improve her situation, there’s no limit to how much good they can do. In the meantime, please know that demand for used laptops and desktop computers is at an all time high. If your business has retired corporate tech you need to recycle, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for supporting give IT. get IT. and our mission to provide digital inclusion to people in need. Please be sure to share this article with anyone who needs some encouragement from someone who’s been there.