Jane lives in a world of darkness.
Her windows are covered by blankets and towels. She doesn’t turn on the lights in her house. She is terrified by every knock on the door, or telephone call. She is on the run from an abusive boyfriend, and lives in a world she never imagined a few years ago.
“Even my family doesn’t know where we’re at,” said this mother of five.
It took her three months to gather the money to move her brood to a new area. She knows no one, and trusts no one.
Her nightmare began five years ago when her husband at the time killed himself in front of Jane and the couple’s three children.
“I should have gotten counseling, but I didn’t. Instead, I went from guy to guy trying to find love,” Jane said.
The next guy she found was addicted to drugs and ended up in prison, but not before Jane had given birth to his child. The next guy followed the last, with another baby for Jane to care for, alone.
Then she found a boyfriend who beat her. Although he was put in jail, he returned to the home after his release, where the beating continued. Again pregnant, she lost that baby after a particularly severe beating.
Things changed for Jane when she saw the pattern of abuse repeating with her 14-year-old daughter.
“Her boyfriend beat her up, and she didn’t think anything of it. It’s then I knew I could never let a man hit me again,” Jane said.
She gathered her strength and pressed charges. Then she moved her family away from everything they knew to a new place.
“Now I’m scared to death all the time,” she said, tears welling up in her eyes.
Because they left home under cover of night, they have few of the comforts of home.
Jane cooks dinner for her children on a hot plate. She has no appliances. “I barely had the money to move. I’m just thankful to be out,” she said.
This is the first time in her life that Jane has ever asked for help. “I always thought other people needed help more than I did. And this year, I’m just thankful we’re all alive,” she said.
Jane believes she can’t get a job because she doesn’t feel safe outside the house. And even if she could get out, her car leaks brake fluid and one window is broken out.
Yet her children know Christmas is coming.
Her 14-year old daughter would like the IPod Touch that her friends have. Her 10-year-old daughter would like a DS light, while her 8-year-old son likes anything with remote control. She would love to get her 6-year-old daughter a learning toy, like Leap Frog, while the 2-year-old boy likes anything with music and lights.
The Empty Stocking Fund benefits three cooperating agencies: Bradfield Community Center, Cheryl Allen Southside Community Center and the Salvation Army. Money can be donated by sending it to The Lima News, 3515 Elida Road, Lima OH 45807, or by dropping it off at any Superior Federal Credit Union branch. Donations of new toys and nonperishable food items will be accepted at The Lima News office. For past stories, go to LimaOhio.com/emptystocking. These stories use assumed names to protect the participants’ privacy.