One valley woman escaped the cycle of domestic violence using the Marjorie Mason Center to rebuild her life.
Survivor Jen Fries fell in love with her now ex-husband in high school. She graduated from Fresno State at the age of 24 and got married, but she says what was supposed to be the happiest day of her life turned into recognizing a dangerous sign.
“When we were on the altar, he got upset at me and told me why I was paying attention too much attention to the pastor.”
She found out she was pregnant a few weeks later. It was then she says the relationship started to get volatile.
“He is isolating me from friends, he wants to be with me all the time.”
The Marjaree Mason Center’s Director of Client Services Leticia Campos says this is what domestic violence boils down to and that children in this environment experience the trauma from infancy.
“It impacts their ability to get attached to others, it impacts the ability to concentrate in school it impacts the ability to sleep at night.”
Because this behavior of violence is the only thing these kids have seen in a relationship, then a cycle begins.
“The longer the child stays in an abusive home, the more risk they are at for being becoming the victim or the perpetrator.”
Fries says she struggled with this.
“I stayed as long as I did for the kids to protect them from him with all the lies and the threats, thinking if we stay as a family or unit even with the abuse it will be ok. But truly it wasn’t.”
Fries eventually was able to escape and with the help of the Marjorie Mason Center. Thanks to a large support group, she and her kids are flourishing.
“They are doing wonderful most people don’t even know our story.”
Campos says all it takes is one positive influence in a child dealing with domestic violence to break the cycles and they can lead a more fulfilled life. That’s something they try and work towards every day at the Marjorie Mason Center.
Fries has found love again and went on to found a non-profit. “I Am Beloved” is designed to help other women in the same situation.