Survivors Need Support, Not Blame: Rodica's Story

The bullet missed Rodica by inches.

Rodica had just refused to give her then-husband money for gambling, and he followed her into the adult family home that she owns and operates.

This wasn’t the first time he had demanded money from her. He had a gambling addiction, and as it grew, he increasingly sought ways to exert control over Rodica through threats. He often said that he would report her and her business for false violations unless she gave him what he wanted. She didn’t always give into his demands, but she did what she needed to do to keep herself, her family, and her residents safe.

This time, she said she would call the police—so he pulled out his gun and shot at her.

Instead of supporting her in the aftermath of the violence, the Department of Social and Health Services immediately investigated Rodica and her business, blamed her for the violence committed against her, and threatened her livelihood.

"I was treated like a criminal instead of like the victim," said Rodica.

The Department gave Rodica multiple citations—because her abuser brought a gun into the home—and prohibited her from accepting new residents, leading her into financial turmoil.

She says this was exactly what her abuser wanted: "His plan was to make me lose everything," she said. "He didn't have to kill me. He could kill me financially."

This is part of a larger, disturbing trend in which state agencies ignore the realities of women like Rodica—as well as Amy, whose child was taken from her because she is a domestic violence survivor.

So Rodica is fighting back—not just for herself, but for countless other survivors who are blamed for their abusers' actions—and we're standing with her. Together, we can ensure that survivors are not punished for the abuse committed against them, but are supported in their efforts to thrive.

#2018 #genderbasedviolence