A Survivor’s Journey

Dan Gregory November 12, 2018

By Josielyn Marshall

Hello, my name is Josielyn Marshall, I am a survivor!

I am originally from Chicago.  I made the choice to move to Green Bay, WI (don’t make any comments about my Packers!) to give my children a better life. 

As you heard from my video, there were some trials, some heartache but most importantly some successes.

I was in an abusive relationship.  I stayed because I loved him and I felt that as long as he was hurting just me I could make it through and in time he would change.   Or I can change him.  That didn’t happen; after 5 years of abuse, I finally had the courage to go to the police.

They were not able to find him and I was still in fear for me and my children. I chose to leave and come to Minnesota to stay with my sister and her children and make a better life for me and my kids.

I was looking forward to coming to live with my sister, but shortly after arriving in Minnesota, my sister passed away. I quickly made up a new plan to continue to raise her children and mine in the house she was renting. However, when I got back from her funeral, there was a foreclosure notice on the door.  We had nowhere to go.

I called all the shelters on a long list. I was grateful to find Families Moving Forward because they took my whole family, including my adult daughter.

I met lots of different people that showed us compassion, empathy, and love. Some congregations that I remember are Lumen Christi and St. Joseph the Worker. 

While I was in the program, I had a hard time gaining employment due to trying to retrieve my nursing license from Wisconsin. Once I finally received it, I was on the move looking for employment.

I knew I had to be strong for my children so every day; I would pretend/maintain a smile and get my daughters off to school. On some of those days, I would go into Sakinah’s office and cry. I cried for being in a shelter, I cried for losing my sister, I cried for losing my brother while in the shelter, I cried that I wasn’t going to get out of this program by the holidays.

When I received the call for a Permanent Supportive Housing Program, I couldn’t believe I was being blessed with this opportunity to move forward and thought that I didn’t deserve it. 

You know what, I moved out of the shelter on November 20, 2017, right before Thanksgiving. I was so thankful to be in my own place on Thanksgiving, that I invited everyone that had exited the program before me (5 families) to come over for dinner. It was a great day!  

Having a home allows me to feel safe.  It allows me to be stable and strong for my children and not pretend. It allows me to dream, hope and reach any goal I set my mind to because I know I am in a place that I built, I fought for and I achieved for me and my children; like I dreamed about 10 years ago when I left Chicago.  

As I said at the beginning, I am a survivor, not just a survivor of domestic abuse but a survivor of heartache, a survivor of depression, a survivor of no hope, a survivor of fear and a survivor of pain.  Thank you for allowing me to tell my story, for helping me to heal and for supporting me to keep moving forward.