“In my quest to save my daughter, I found myself. I know that other women can too.”
For thirty-one years, Jeanne Mahoney endured a life of abuse. At the age of fifty, she had spent more than half of her life with a man who told her over and over that she was worthless, unfit to raise her own children, and that she would never be able to survive on her own. She listened. Time and time again, she would try to leave, knowing that deep inside she had the potential to break the cycle of violence. However, like so many abusers, Jeanne’s husband knew what to do and say to draw her back. He isolated her from her family, made her financially dependent, and every time she tried to stand on her own, he would knock her right back down.
Jeanne reached her breaking point on Mother’s Day 1995. During the holiday that is meant to be spent celebrating the hard work and selflessness that mother’s show, Jeanne’s thirteen-year-old daughter tried to commit suicide. Jeanne had had enough. She was able to take the hits, kicks, and punches from her husband but she was not about to let it ruin her daughter. She remembers, “I could not allow my abusive marriage to steal her life and her potential. I had to save her.” Jeanne took her six children to the courtroom and it was there she saw a flyer from Doorways for Women and Families. Jeanne never looked back.
Jeanne was able to receive the help and support she needed from her new family at Doorways. That stepping-stone was a major turning point in her life. “I made friends of my very own in the group. We laughed and cried together. We were taught how to make a safety plan and to recognize the signs of an abusive personality. Most importantly, we learned that it was not our fault. We were victims. My abuser had taken away my power. But slowly, I was taking it back. I even started believing in myself.” Jeanne’s children found an advertisement for the ROSE Fund and before she knew it, Jeanne was on a plan sponsored by the Hynes Foundation ready to turn her life around.
In 1996, Jeanne won the ROSE Award. Her spirit and dedication through years of hardship proved that Jeanne was a special woman. She took her six children out of a dangerous situation and they have grown to be successful, blossoming adults. Jeanne has pursued her interest in biking, triathlons, and most importantly being a mother and grandmother. Jeanne continues to give back to other women who are struggling to find the answers that Jeanne so desperately sought years ago. She is now a board member of Doorways for Women and Families. Jeanne is now a strong, confident woman enjoying life. “I am so proud of myself and my children, but I will never forget how much abuse hurts. That’s why I spend time encouraging women to find their power. I want to be their wake up call.”