hope for marie and martin
Martin* was just four years old when his mother decided to get out of an abusive relationship with him and his siblings in tow. Thankfully, Marie* had a safe place in the community to stay, but she needed help rebuilding a life free from abuse for herself and her family. When she began coming to Women in Distress for outreach services, she mentioned in one of her counseling sessions that she was worried about her youngest son, Martin. Suddenly he was wetting the bed every night, and she had to put him back in diapers. His speech had also begun regressing and he was aggressive towards his siblings and other children in daycare. Marie was distraught and unsure about what was happening. No parent wants their child suffering and it pained her to see Martin and his siblings hurting.
Hearing Marie’s distress, the Child and Family Therapist at Women In Distress began individual counseling sessions with Martin. Through play therapy, Martin’s counselor observed aggressive play with the doll toys, and how Martin digressed into tantrums when it was time to leave the counseling room. Even though Martin had witnessed the abuse against his mother, she did not think he could remember it because “he was just a baby.” However, it was clear that Martin had memories of the abuse and was acting out what he witnessed. It was imperative for Martin to reflect on his emotions and thoughts, and start to learn new behaviors. Through consistent and positive reinforcement, Martin’s counselor helped him to make good choices. His counselor also provided Marie with training to build new habits for Martin’s bed wetting issues at home.
After his counseling sessions at Women In Distress, Martin no longer shows aggression towards other children, his bed wetting is minimal, and he’s slowly started to talk again. Marie credits Women In Distress and Martin’s time with his counselor for his progress and improvements.
Seeing Martin hurting was difficult for Marie. She carried so much guilt for staying with her abuser and seeing the effects of this on her children compounded that guilt. Through her own counseling sessions, Marie has worked through her feelings and knows her abuse was not her fault. She also finally recognizes that she was brave for finding the courage to leave with her children.
Our work with families like Marie and Martin would not be possible without the many donors who support our mission. Martin and his mother and siblings are rebuilding their lives because they could access our Outreach Program services without worrying about how much it would cost. And that gives Marie and her family hope for the future.
You can help Women in Distress to serve more families like Marie and Martin’s by making a donation today.