In 2000, Alicia Stukes was a young married woman who left Maryland with her husband to Louisiana, where his family was located.
Stukes said she was abused in every sense of the word.
“It wasn’t just physical. It was verbal, emotional, financial, psychological,” she said.
She was able to escape with the help of a police officer who responded to a domestic violence call made by a neighbor during one of their many arguments. Her husband was detained by police for 24 hours, just long enough for her to pack her possessions in plastic trash bags.
With trash bags in one hand and her son in the other, Stukes said she fled “in the dark of night.” She said she was able to drop off her belongings at a shipping company and purchased airline tickets back to Maryland.
“That’s how a lot of victims leave their abusive environment,” Stukes said.
Stukes’ experience prompted her to found I’m Bruised But Not Broken, a Bowie, Maryland-based nonprofit organization that acts as a liaison between domestic violence survivors and community resources.
Their programs include “Am I My Sister’s Keeper,” a support group that gives women a safe place to come together. They’re also dedicated to helping survivors relocate and find affordable housing through partnerships with other local nonprofits.
The organization also caters to the immediate needs of survivors with “Run N Go” bags filled with personal hygiene and self care items.
Her advice to survivors who are ready to make a move is to come up with an escape strategy that includes safety.
“We don’t want to put the victim in harms way while they’re trying to leave their abuser,” she said.
She added that, if the plan doesn’t include safety, it can cause the victim even more harm and even result in death. They also recommend an app called “My Plan” that helps domestic violence victims develop a safe plan and directs them to resources in their area.
You can reach the organization by contacting 240-245-0057, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or sending a letter to the group:
I’m Bruised But Not Broken
P.O. Box 1762
Bowie, Md. 20717-1762.
This is part of WTOP’s continuing coverage of people making a difference in our community authored by Stephanie Gaines-Bryant. Read more of that coverage.
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