Shenike was looking for something new when she left Texas to join friends living in northern Wisconsin. She quickly settled into that new home, finding work as a waitress. And in no time, she found a doting boyfriend, who immediately began showering her with kind words and gifts.
The relationship moved “real fast,” but within a month of moving in with her, he turned from doting to controlling and abusive. He falsely accused her of cheating on him with one of her restaurant co-workers.
“I ended up with black eyes,” she says. “Then he’d buy me makeup to cover up my bruises.”
Her co-workers and neighbors noticed the bruises and tried to get her help, urging her to call the police.
Finally, Shenike told him she was leaving. He responded by throwing her to the ground and beating her with her own shoe. Then he grabbed her keys and stole her car.
Shinike packed a bag and caught the next bus for Wichita, where she had family. She was referred to WIN for help getting on her feet in the new city.
“WIN was my stepping stone,” she says. “They helped me find an apartment, taught me how to manage my money, and encouraged me to enroll in training to become a certified nursing assistant.”
But more than that, they taught her to spot the warning signs that a relationship may turn abusive, and that “I needed to love myself before looking for love in someone else.”
Now graduated from the WIN program, she is working as a CNA and studying at Butler Community College to become a registered nurse. And, she’s happily married to a “very sweet man” who encourages her, worries about her, and cooks for her.
“But I do the dishes!” she adds with a laugh.
Shinike says she likes the changes she’s seeing in herself as a result of the WIN program.
“I’m happy now, and I’m not scared to ask for help if I need it,” she says. “My family is happy for me, too. They tell me all the time that they’re proud of me!”