Guest Blog Post. Supporting National Campaign: Pinpoints Across America
Delivering Pinpoints of Light: Escaping the Abyss of Abuse to The Retreat.
By Marci Brockmann
One of the main reasons I divorced my ex-husband, Sam, was because of years of emotional abuse, abject loneliness, and persistent fear I felt inside our marriage. Occasionally, Sam’s anger became quite physically threatening; I was scared of him and what he might do. One night in 2006, I realized that I couldn’t take it any longer. I didn’t want this marriage for myself any longer, and I didn’t want my kids to grow up thinking this was what love and marriage were supposed to look like. And I didn’t want either one of them to grow up to have a marriage like this. So, I made my plans and divorced Sam.
The kids and I moved out to a rental house as we sold our family home. Sam and I had a difficult time co-parenting, but over time it got a bit easier as the kids grew up. They did grow up well and happy and learned that the dysfunctional marriage Sam and I had was not healthy or desirable. Divorce was the answer for us and saved us from a terrible situation. I wrote about all of this in my new book Permission to Land: Searching for Love, Home & Belonging.
Seven years ago, Marie, the daughter of my life-long friend, Michael, and her four babies (ages 1, 3, 3, and 6) were in a perilous situation with her husband and his unpredictable and violent behavior. She and her children were being victimized and were very unsafe. Marie secretly did her research and made a connection with a woman who was a volunteer at The Retreat, which is a safe shelter for families in crisis. Marie made a plan and waited for the right opportunity to flee their home with her children and bring them all to safety. She didn’t tell her father for fear that her father would step in to protect his daughter and grandchildren and wind up in jail. Many fathers would feel extraordinarily protective, and another dangerous situation could ensue.
One night, Marie’s husband was angry, and, in his rage, he hit her and threatened to kill her with a large kitchen knife and then to hurt the oldest child, who was six at the time. She grabbed her children, and they hid in a walk-in closet and locked the door. They waited there until he got frustrated and went out. At this point, she made the call that saved their lives. Her new friend got Marie and all four kids safely to The Retreat, whose location is not disclosed to anyone for the safety of all who need the protection. Once there, she and the kids settled in and relaxed for the first time in a long time.
Marie called her father, my friend, Michael, and told him of the situation. He was shocked and furious but mobilized to help his daughter and grandchildren. Michael lived in an apartment with his son, but now rented a house large enough for all of them to live together. Over time, Marie enrolled all the kids in school, found therapists for herself and her children, and worked very hard to take care of her kids and give them a peaceful, safe foundation to slowly undo the damage of their DV situation in their early years. Eventually, through the court system, she divorced her husband and won custody of her kids.
At this point, Michael and I, who had been friends since 1987, started to get much closer and slowly began to date. When I learned about Marie’s situation and how Michael stepped in heroically to take care of his family, my heart melted and is one of the many reasons I fell in love with him. Marie and I formed a strong bond over the next year or so, and a short time later, Michael and I got married, and we all became family.
Now, she has found true love and is engaged to a wonderful man, who has a son from his first marriage, and they are raising all five of their (combined) kids in their brand new house in Florida. Life is always a challenge, but they are all happy, healthy lives of love and peace.
Today, September 1, 2020, I delivered two copies of Pinpoints of Light: Escaping the Abyss of Abuse to Romarie McCue, who is the program director of The Retreat All Against Abuse and The Suffolk County Fatherhood Initiative at their administrative offices in Hauppauge, New York. She was delighted to receive these books and promised to get them to the crisis shelter so that domestic violence survivors can read them and benefit from April Giauque’s inspirational story and themes.
The Retreat All Against Abuse
The Retreat is a safe haven for families in crisis. Since 1987, we have been providing domestic violence and sexual assault services and education to families, friends, and neighbors in Suffolk County. Professionals and trained volunteers allow clients to safely heal and reestablish their lives, free from violence.
Suffolk County Fatherhood Initiative
National Fatherhood Initiative (NFI) is the nation's leading non-profit organization working to end father absence. Underlying many of society's most pressing challenges is a lack of father involvement in their children's lives. NFI transforms organizations and communities by equipping them to intentionally and proactively engage fathers in their children's lives. Their vision is for every child to grow up with involved, responsible, and committed fathers.