Early Trauma Intervention Sparks Survivor’s Passion for Keeping Others Safe
Jake* was only five when he first remembers his dad, Mark*, hurting him. Mark was physically violent toward Jake, his brother, and their mom, Linda*. After a particularly violent incident, the police became involved, and Jake’s dad was on the run. That’s when Linda turned to HAWC.
Because the family’s situation was so dangerous, they were moved to an Emergency Domestic Violence Shelter out of state until Mark was arrested and incarcerated. Though they were relieved to be able to return to Massachusetts where their friends and family lived, the trauma Jake had witnessed caused him to begin struggling with day-to-day life.
Jake had vivid nightmares. He remembers having visions of his dad walking through the wall of his bedroom. Linda shared Jake’s struggles with her HAWC advocate, and Jake was enrolled in our Parent Child Trauma Recovery Program (PCTRP).
“HAWC helped me understand that I could trust my mother to be able to protect me,” Jake, now 24, says. “My mom and I grew a really strong bond because of that program.”
Despite feeling safer, Jake continued to struggle with debilitating post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of the abuse and required residential treatment. Over time, he was able to move back home to live with his mom, who had been diligent about visiting Jake every weekend while he was in treatment. Gail Arnold, PCTRP Clinical Supervisor, and Connie Boris, a HAWC advocate, also visited Jake frequently during his time at the facility and kept in close contact with Linda to offer support.
“The whole team worked so well together. It was amazing. They were there for everything we needed,” said Linda. “They were our family at that time.”
HAWC would play a big role in Jake’s life again when he turned 18 and had to file his own abuse prevention order against his father now that he was legally an adult. At the court hearing, Jake would see his father for the first time in years, and he was terrified. A HAWC legal advocate helped him fill out the paperwork and stood by his side in court, which to this day Jake credits as what made it possible for him to do it at all.
Jake currently works for his grandfather’s security firm and is in night school to earn his security license.