Voices of Courage:
DAYA CLIENTS SHARE THEIR STORIES
What are the voices of courage?
Courage may mean facing your your fears. Courage could mean confronting someone who was supposed to be your ally, but is now an adversary. But courage very often means taking a giant leap into the unknown. This unknown might be freedom, an opportunity, a new challenge, or perhaps even pain. But courage, as any Daya client will tell you, is not simply overcoming your fear, but understanding that there is something more important than that fear: the hope for a safe future.
For each survivor this journey is unique – some do not speak English, some are unmarried, some are dependent on their abuser for a visa, most are extremely isolated. All need Daya's help. Daya illuminates the path to for each survivor with the tools and resources needed to find safety, security, and healing.
Three of Daya's clients who have made that journey have bravely decided to tell their stories in the hopes that other survivors can also use their voices to reach out for help. We are honored to share the first of three voices of courage: Bushra.
My journey to healing from psychological abuse started at Daya’s doorsteps. Though I was never promised a rose garden, Daya helped me build one from the ashes I bought to them.
My story is one of chaos to calm and one from control to choices. Because of Daya my life went from uncertainty to stability.
The first time I met my husband was at our wedding in Bangladesh when he showed up late and very drunk. Within two weeks, he started to beat and threaten me. I would lie about the marks on my face and arms. When I told my mom, she said, “It’s okay, all men are like that”. He brought me to the US on a tourist visa which, of course, eventually expired. I was completely isolated. He wouldn’t give me any money or let me work. I could only call my family in front of him and they judged me for having children with him as if I had a choice. He would deny us food and basic resources unless I slept with him.
My children and I lived in constant fear. At the young age of just 11, my daughter told me that we had to leave; we could no longer live like this. After three months of calling every day, a shelter had space. We were shaking because we were so excited, but things got worse before they got better. The shelters did not understand us. They did not allow us to bring in food for our religious needs. We used to go to a corner gas station to get food and would eat it sitting on the curb in the cold winter. People used to stop and ask if we were okay. It was really shameful.
In these moments of despair, I found out about Daya. The woman who answered the phone at Daya knew my language, she understood my family’s reaction. She was part of my community, the community that knew about my abuse but stayed silent because they saw it as a private problem. But she was the opposite. She was encouraging and supportive. It felt like a miracle.
Getting rental assistance from Daya was one of the most important parts of my life. Daya had a special housing program for survivors like me. They helped me pick an apartment and spoke to the manager about the program, so I could get a lease in my name.
Getting rental assistance from Daya was one of the most important parts of my life. When I first held my keys, I cried tears of joy. To this day, my youngest son has the exact date and time memorized for when we first moved into our apartment. This was the first time in the kids’ life that they had their own beds. If Daya had not helped us with housing, I have no idea how my life would have turned out. Getting rental assistance was a turning point.
Daya helped me apply for my green card without needing any help from my husband, who fled the country when I tried to divorce him. They helped me through a years-long battle to find him and finally be officially divorced from him. By working with Daya, I can now work, drive, make a home, and raise my children to be strong.
He made me invisible, but Daya saw me and helped me become confident, bold, and independent.
–Tanzina, Houston, TX 2023
DOWNLOAD BUSHRA'S STORY
DOWNLOAD TANZINA'S STORY
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My story is one with a focus on the future. From a turbulent childhood, Daya helped me find comfort, safety, and hope.