Linda and her four children were visiting family when her husband, angered by some show tickets he found in her purse, beat her for the last time.
"He got really angry," she said. "He threw me into a wall, pulled my hair and kicked my body."
Her children tried to cower behind her, she said, but no one could do anything to stop her angry husband.
When she finally escaped, Linda ran to another family member's house and hid while her husband took her youngest child and disappeared for a month.
"For the following weeks and months I was really scared," she said. "I did not know what to do."
Linda's story is a common story told almost daily at the Time Out Shelter, said Director Darlene Curlee.
"Linda is rather typical," she said. "Many of these women have grown up in abusive families," Curlee said. Linda had grown up in an abusive family, left one abusive husband with two children after five years and has been married to her current husband for six years. He was especially mean to the children from the first marriage, Linda said.
"He really hated my little boy because he looked like his father," Linda said. "He was really mean to him."
Fortunately for Linda, a kind stranger referred her to the Catholic Church in Payson, which in turn sent Linda to the Time Out Shelter. Today, she and her children live in a protected home, where they are receiving help with school, transportation and work.
"I think she is going to make it," Curlee said. If she does, she will be in the minority. Most abused women go back four and five times, Curlee said.
"But each time they go back, they take one more tool," she said. "And after five or six times, if they come out, they stay out. But frequently they are carried out. Everybody has choices."
The shelter never turns away a person in need, Curlee said.
"We always tell them, 'remember, we are here,'" she said.
The shelter provides help for the mother and her children, and in this case, Linda has caseworkers baffled; she is the exception to the rule.
"Somehow or another, this woman has done a wonderful job," Curlee said. "These children are showing less of the lasting effects. We have an exceptional mother here."
"My children are happy. They laugh more," she said. "They are really good kids. I feel better, more secure now that I am not in that environment."
Linda described her daily life as imprisonment.
"George controlled the money," she said. "He kept me and the children in the house with no food, no money and no car. He would not let me go out and socialize."
Time Out volunteers are helping Linda with her legal woes, her children, transportation and education. Now in her 30s, Linda is going to get her GED and wants to get a better job.
"She has struggled a lot for being so young," said Norma, a volunteer who works closely with Linda.
In an effort to reach out to the community, the Time Out Shelter is taking an active part of the 1999 Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Six events will raise awareness and money to help break the pattern of abuse for women like Linda.
Part of the campaign is to let women know they don't have to live at the shelter to take advantage of its services. Some women might just need to talk.
"Not every woman needs a shelter," Curlee said. "We are here for them all."
Schedule of events
- Oct. 6, 9 a.m. -- 1420 KMOG, Rim Country Forum Host Don Holcombe welcomes Time Out Shelter.
•Oct. 9, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. --awareness booths will be at the Safeway and Wal-Mart stores in Payson and at the Apple Festival in Pine.
•Oct. 10 -- Pray for Victims Day at all local churches.
•Oct. 14, 6 p.m. -- a candlelight walk and vigil will begin at First Southern Baptist Church.
•Oct. 16, 7 p.m. -- the Mazatzal Casino will hold its Third Annual "Fun" Raiser Banquet.
•Oct. 23, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. --Volunteers will be at the Lions Club Health Fair in the Rim Country Middle School Gymnasium.
For more information, call Time Out. Inc. at 472-8007, or Shelley Beckett at 472-6096.