Alicia focuses on healing herself, her daughters, after trauma

Ten years and three daughters later, Alicia and her husband’s relationship came to a tragic end. After days of fighting, Alicia’s often-abusive husband took his own life. “He would always threaten me, but I grew used to it,” Alicia said. “He locked himself in the room while the kids and I were there. I tried to play the hero and bust down the door and we saw him. He had hanged himself.”

Alicia and her husband had met young. “I graduated high school in 2010 and moved out of my parents home at 19,” she said. “I went to a party with a friend and met him (her future husband) here. They got married when she was 20 and had their first child at 21.

After four months together, the abuse started. “He was jealous and he wasn’t faithful so he would often think that I was unfaithful,” she said. “He was a drinker, and my brother ended up telling me is was also using drugs. When I asked him about it, he denied it. But later, when I found out it was true, I left with our 1-month-old daughter. I stayed away from him until our daughter was 1.”

The couple wanted to start over, so they moved to Oklahoma. They had two more daughters. “We didn’t last long there at all,” she said. “The abuse started again so I got my three girls in the car and drove without stopping all the way back to California.”

The couple ended up getting back together and got a place together in Los Angeles. After her husband’s death, Alicia and her daughters were on their own. “After that happened, I didn’t want to live at that home because of all the memories,” Alicia said. “I went to live with my mom, but she was on Section 8 and we couldn’t stay long.”

Alicia and her girls went to a hotel after they left. “One day, I was told about the Mission and decided to come,” she said. “I was so happy to finally have a roof over me and my girls’ heads.”

The transition was challenging in the wake of her husband’s death. “After you go through something so traumatic, you want to be around family all the time, but we couldn’t. It was frustrating and was hard for me to adjust to. … The staff was so nice and understanding.”

After eight months, Alicia loves going to church with her daughters, and really enjoys the women’s empowerment classes. “I feel amazing after it,” she said. “I think self-love is so important. Knowing your worth is so important.

“I am so sad that my husband died. I often think back to that day and know that we were blessed to make it out of that relationship alive. I feel so blessed that it wasn’t all of us that he killed that day. The sad part is that I know if he was still alive, I would still be with him. I loved him. And people would judge me for still loving him after the abuse.”

Alicia has started college and plans to finish her degree. She wants people to know that the Mission can help—don’t let the stigma of going to a shelter stop you from getting that assistance. “People are going to judge you regardless. Don’t worry about people. Just come.”