Posted: 7:00 p.m. Sunday, April 21, 2013

Hamilton woman shares story of journey from abuse


Hamilton woman shares story of journey from abuse photo
Trudy Boudinet, a Hamilton resident, speaks out about the domestic violence she endured.

By Richard Jones

Staff Writer


Trudy Fultz was 24 years old when she met the man she would marry.

She’d lived on her own and had been in other relationships, had even broken off a few of them herself, so she doesn’t think it was because she was naive or anything like that.

But when the abuse started, it took her a long time to recognize it for what it was.

“I was raised with a mom who yelled and threw things,” she said. “So I thought it was normal for some people to yell and throw things.”

And that’s why, she said, it took her 21 years to seek refuge.

Her story is not an unusual one, according to Fran Reese, director of domestic violence programs at the YWCA Hamilton.

“That’s how the cycle continues from one generation to another,” she said. “You have young ladies saying ‘My dad talked to my mother like that all the time,’ and they think that’s love. Or they think ‘He’s jealous because he loves me.’ ”

Fultz said that in retrospect, the problems started shortly after they were married.

“He’d put other people before my needs, little things that you wouldn’t normally think of as abuse,” she said. “So I would just make compromises to save the marriage and be a good wife because it just seemed easier to give up than to keep fighting. He was raised in a male-dominated home and I was raised in a female-dominated home, so we just had different ways.”

“As soon as he would walk in the door, a dreary cloud would fall all over the place,” she said.

Reese said, “Domestic violence is often a hidden crime. Perpetrators know that that if they get physical, how not to make a mark.

“The victim is in denial a lot, and the whole family ends up in a dysfunctional situation, but they see it as the norm,” she said.

She likened it to learning to cook: If you watch your mother prepare a chicken a certain way all your life, chances are you’re going to do it the same way, want your spouse to do it the same way and may not like it if it’s done any other way.

Many women endure it, she said, because the alternative — leaving — is a big unknown and can trigger a confrontation.

“Mentally,” Fultz said, “I had left him six years ago, but I stayed for the kids. By the time I told my (18-year-old) son, he said, ‘Mom, you should have left a long time ago.’ “

“I didn’t get out because I didn’t have the support to get out,” she said.

But six years ago, she succumbed to a deep depression and ended up in the hospital.

“I spent a year in crisis mode,” she said. “He’d even go to therapy with me and voice his support, but nothing really changed.”

When his own family started telling her that she’d be better off without him, she finally made the decision to leave, and contacted the YWCA, who set her up in the Dove House, a shelter for abused women and victims of domestic violence.

Reese said that in 2012, the domestic violence program at the YWCA served more than 3,500 women through its hotline, referral system, court advocacy and support and outreach groups.

The staff at the YWCA are especially protective of the clients at the Dove House, which is in an undisclosed location even to women who enter into the program. Reese said that when it is determined that a woman should be in the program, they meet at the YWCA and are then taken to the shelter to keeps its location a secret.

Fultz ended up there the day before Thanksgiving.

“It was the best Thanksgiving I’d had in years,” she said. “There was a sense of peace that I’d never known.”

“When they come to the shelter,” Reese said, “they realize they’re not the only one. It’s our job to let them know there’s a better way to live.”

While they are at the shelter, women get the counseling and support they need to start a new life, even providing supplies to set up a new household.

“We build their self-esteem and help them realize they made the right decision,” she said, “that they deserve to live a violence-free life. She has the opportunity to show her daughter and her son what a healthy family can be.”

Balloon launch to remember crime victims

The YWCA of Hamilton Dove House Shelter has planned a community event in honor of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week (April 21-27).

A balloon launch in remembrance of Butler County crime victims will take place at noon Tuesday, April 23, at Tedia Company, 1000 Tedia Way, Fairfield.

For more information, call 513-856-9800.


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