In January of 2022, Wood County adult advocacy was contacted by the HR director of a local business seeking assistance. We had previously had several contacts with this individual over the phone but they were hesitant to come in for an appointment with an advocate. They were working toward ending their marriage with an abusive partner. We were able to provide mobile advocacy their workplace to connect with the individual, we hoped that coming to them would feel a little bit easier. It was appropriate that their employer was reaching out because the trouble that existed in their relationship was now becoming a problem in their work environment as well. Their abuser was now making calls to owners and management at their partners workplace to make false reports in an effort to get their partner fired. We often see this in abusive relationships, the abusive partner will use control and manipulation to isolate and seek to eliminate financial independence for their partner. So many unhealthy relationships exist because of co-dependency of some sort, financial co-dependency can be so difficult to break free from.
I was able to come into their workplace, we were provided with a confidential space to talk through what had been happening recently. The individual had previously expressed interest in a restraining order and at this time she was ready to complete the petition and get the process started. I worked on her paperwork while she wrote her statement for the petition. We were able to get the paperwork submitted to the court and she was granted with a temporary restraining order that afternoon. I think that often the first step to seek help feels so difficult and overwhelming for individuals we work with. We are always so happy to meet participants where it makes things a little easier, as long as that is a safe place for everyone to be. Without the effort of this employer, looking out for their employee and understanding signs of abuse, this much needed protection order would likely not exist.
We continued to work with the participant to report violations of the temporary order, to complete court prep and to provide support along the way. We were in court with the petitioner for the injunction hearing. We had encouraged them to ask their HR representative to testify to the events that had happened in their workplace, as a result they asked the employer to provide a letter to the judge detailing the phone calls they had received from the respondent. Our participant came well prepared for court and did an excellent job advocating for herself against the respondent’s attorney. The letter from their employer had a profound impact on the judge’s decision and the injunction was granted to our participant for 4 years.
Having good community partners and working closely with local businesses to educate and advocate against abuse are important priorities to PDC. We are happy to go out and share our mission and resources with our community, we need businesses like this to help us do the work. We will always be happy to show up wherever we are needed to do the work, as long as we know where there is work to be done. So grateful for businesses that value their employees and are willing to work with us in our mission.