Stories of Survival

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Anita and her daughters built their paths to success

“Sanctuary gave my family a second chance at life.”

Anita was defeated and traumatized when she arrived at Sanctuary over 10 years ago with her two little girls, Naomi and Imani.

“When you’re in the dark alley of domestic violence, you look to the front and there’s no way out,” Anita says. “You look to the back and there is only sadness, darkness and sorrow.”

“My wake-up call came one lonely evening about 6 pm. I was eating dinner with my daughters when my husband came in. My two-year-old had left a spot on the carpet. That was all it took. He slapped me, punched me, grabbed for my throat. I was on the floor. Then it struck me that I could die — my children would be orphans.”

The next day, Anita started making phone calls trying to find someone to listen to her.

“I made 20 calls. No one would help me. And then I called Sanctuary. They listened.”

With the help of Sanctuary’s staff and pro bono attorneys, Anita started to navigate the complex legal process. Her husband, an attorney, had manipulated the legal system to wrest custody of the girls.

Eventually, after a heavily litigated trial, Anita was given a three-year order of protection and won full custody of her daughters.

Anita and her daughters also received services from Sanctuary’s Clinical Program, which were transformative. Through group and individual counseling, they were able to put the trauma and abuse behind them.

Sanctuary also helped Anita’s daughters, Naomi and Imani, obtain funding to attend school, provided the family with rental assistance to prevent eviction, and found them professional attire for court appearances and job interviews.

Today, Anita is employed full time at a major New York City medical center as a medical staff coordinator. Her daughter Naomi graduated from Hunter College and is pursuing a master’s degree in education. Imani is studying criminal justice at SUNY at Albany, and is committed to helping others.

Their futures are bright and hopeful.