Image courtesy of petswelcome.com

Image courtesy of petswelcome.com

The last several weeks have been particularly busy ones here at the R.O.S.E. Fund, as we’ve been working diligently with our medical partners to get treatment for as many women as we could prior to the July 4th holiday.  The effort has been a huge and satisfying success.

A number of these women haven’t attended traditional July 4th celebrations with their family and friends for a few years or more.  They’ve avoided these gatherings because they are too embarrassed by the facial scars and dental injuries that they live with as a result of an abusive relationship.  They’re too ashamed to have to explain what happened to them, too tired to talk about it and answer all of the unavoidable questions.

“How could you let that happen to you?”
“Why didn’t you leave sooner?”

It’s no way to relax over a holiday.

However, thanks to the support of the R.O.S.E. Fund friends and family, these were able to celebrate their own freedom, pride and independence over the holiday weekend.   Below is the story of a recent R.O.S.E. Award recipient who will be seeing her family and celebrating with them at their annual July 4th cookout … for the first time in 2 years.

Image courtesy of jimdalyblog.com

Image courtesy of jimdalyblog.com

Tamara* has suffered from bouts of depression and been particularly reclusive for the past few years.  Her melancholy outlook stems from the abuse she suffered in her last relationship and the embarrassment she experiences from the resulting scars.  The abusive relationship left her with low self-esteem, as well as facial scars and a range of dental issues; most notably, Tamara is missing her front tooth.  Her dreams of reuniting with her extended family at their annual 4th of July cookout have finally come true since the onset of her injuries.

Tamara’s Story

I grew up in Boston; Jamaica Plain.  There were two of us: Mom and me and, later, my little sister.   Mom was a nurse.

Now I’m 38, my sister is 24.  I have two boys, ages 20 and 12.  My oldest boy graduated high school and is through one year of college.  He’s [hoping to become] a Medical Assistant.  My youngest will be in seventh grade in September.   They’re good boys.

My [passion] is helping the elderly; I [was] a nurse’s aide and I want to get back to that.  I want to take good care of my Mom, as she needs it.  I want to make enough [of a] salary for her to come and live with me.

There were some fun times with my husband, especially in our first few years.   Abuse happened slowly and there we’re definitely warning signs.  I overlooked them.

It started with verbal abuse.  I was “good for nothing,” et cetera. I should have caught the warning signs; I should have [left] then, but a lot of women stay in a relationship for the children or financial issues.  That was me.  I took his “sorry”s and “I love you'”s, but it became physical.

One of the last times, he cut my face with a knife and punched me so hard that his fist broke my front tooth, resulting with me going to the hospital.  I had been with him for eight years,  but I had enough.  I knew I had to pack up my kids and go. I had to wake up before he killed me.

I packed myself up and a lady, [my advocate,] took me in.  When I first met her, I was in no condition to talk about all that pain again.  She told me, “I’m here to help YOU!  You’re the one will have to go back out into the world again. Your kids need you.”

I started opening up and the talk was good.  She told me about The R.O.S.E. Fund and said, “There’s help for you – right here in Boston!”    I really didn’t believe it.  Why would people want to help me?

The first time I went to Dr. Corbett’s office with the other R.O.S.E. Fund ladies, he and his staff were so welcoming.   He had a choice of coffees and teas that you’d like to have in the morning.  He took x-rays, made us feel so at home and even said I had beautiful teeth.   That was wonderful to hear.  Then, he measured me for an oral implant and matched my teeth up with it.

Image courtesy of newsimg.bbc.co.uk

Image courtesy of newsimg.bbc.co.uk

Dr. Corbett is a very patient, kind man.  He said, “It’s okay.  I’m going to make you beautiful again.”  That just melted my heart away!  Having my teeth fixed by Dr. Corbett and The R.O.S.E. Fund just shoots my self esteem right up!  At first, I was embarrassed and still can’t smile, [since I feel like]  people are staring at me.  But keeping in touch with The R.O.S.E. Fund reminds me: This is all going to change.

Through The R.O.S.E. Fund, I received dental work and a tooth implant from Dr. Corbett; he and his staff used FedEx so the implant would make it in time for the holiday.  I have also started treatment for the scar removal with Dr. Mack Cheney at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary.  I can’t believe the treatment I have received.  I will soon look like I’m sixteen again: Beautiful and unmarked!  And this weekend, like everybody else, I’ll be at a cookout in the ‘burbs with my friends and family.

To the R.O.S.E. Fund supporters, partners and staff: I LOVE YOU SO MUCH!  Getting my teeth fixed and scars removed has changed my life!  You have no idea how much it helps me every day of my life.  Please keep up the good work for those of us who so desperately need it.

Tamara

*Names have been changed for the purpose of safety and confidentiality

Advertisements