LANSING, Mich. — Jessica Verlinde said for three years she lived with a man who was physically and emotionally abusive.
The physical harm forced her to go to the ER. The mental pain left a deep scar.
“I’m just angry,” she said.
Verlinde was able to break free from her abusive relationship this past May, but her situation isn't unique. About 1 in 7 women, transgender and nonbinary people experience intimate partner violence in Michigan, according to the University of Michigan.
"We are where people go where they don’t have places to go,” said End Violent Encounters (EVE) Executive Director Jonquil Bertschi.
Each year, EVE helps thousands of domestic violence survivors by providing them shelter and resources needed to get back on their feet.
“I say we’re here for a reason,” Bertschi said. “There’s been some impact of peoples lives on why they’re there, so we just provide that empathy for them.”
That empathy goes a long way. Verlinde said she uses it when she talks with other survivors.
At first, Verlinde said she was afraid to tell her story, but now, she’s found her voice and has no problem standing in her truth.
“I am definitely still afraid for him, but not enough to keep me quiet,” she said.