Every year, Crisis Services counselors, volunteers, and staff respond to thousands of calls from those in our community in need of guidance and support. The following is just ONE story of help and hope, submitted by Dominique Hickson, a client of the agency with her permission.
“At 23 years old, I had endured the most traumatic experience of my life. I became a victim of domestic violence for six agonizing months. During those six months, I endured violent physical, emotional, and sexual abuse. My abuser took control over my life, isolated me from my family and friends, and threatened to take my life multiple times. Concurrently, I was studying to complete my Bachelors of Science at University at Buffalo in Computer Engineering. I feared I wouldn’t live to see the day of graduation, or even the late afternoon of March 17, 2017.
There were many times that I attempted to leave the relationship, however my abuser wouldn’t let go of his control over me. I finally gained the courage to start to ignore him, but on March 17th, 2017, my abuser came to my workplace on the University at Buffalo campus armed with a knife to end my life. He cornered me in an isolated area and he begged me not to leave him. I gathered all the courage I had and escaped unharmed and immediately called 9-1-1. My abuser was arrested, however he placed bail and after being released he immediately came to my home in the middle of the night prepared to kill me. An hour later, he was caught by police outside of my home. Thankfully, I say this with every praise of my heart, it is a blessing that I was not home at the time.
To say my Crisis Services Advocates lovingly and willingly supported me throughout my journey of going through this process is an understatement. In a blink of an eye, they reached out their faithful helping hands and guided me on the path of overcoming the aftermath of domestic violence. They offered me life-changing opportunities that included relocating me, speaking on my behalf to my Professors at my University who granted me special accommodations for my coursework, and encouraging me every single day to not give up and know that I am no longer a victim, I am a SURVIVOR. My Advocates made my situation their priority to resolve by providing me with everything I needed, from help with writing my victim’s impact statement to transportation to court. On the day of my abuser’s sentencing, I had the opportunity to speak. It was on that day, that I stood up to my abuser and my advocate was by my side. It was on that day that my abuser was sentenced to the maximum jail sentence allowable, because I stood up to him. Not only did I face my abuser, but I managed to graduate on May 20th, 2017, and was accepted into Graduate School at the University at Buffalo. I am happy to say, through their wonderful and amazing services, I made my own choice that I wasn’t going to be controlled by my abuser any longer. I chose to leave and LIVE.”
There is no age, gender, or race immune to mental health issues, suicide, trauma, addiction, domestic violence, sexual assault or elder abuse. These situations can impact anyone at anytime, and it’s our mission to ensure no one ever faces them alone. You are never alone, we are here to help. Call our 24 hour hotline: 716-834-3131
By supporting Crisis Services you are helping to support thousands of survivors like Dominique.