Monique Broderson, Domestic Violence Survivor

Monique Broderson, a domestic violence survivor, volunteers as an advocate to help other victims at North Memorial

The words, “this is where the healing begins” couldn’t have aired on the radio of Monique Broderson’s car at a more perfect time. She was driving late in the night to her brother’s house after leaving her boyfriend, who had verbally and emotionally abused her for three years. The years of emotional and verbal abuse Monique endured are a form of domestic violence. At the time, however, Monique had no idea that was the case.

She met her former boyfriend in 2007 and moved away from her family and friends to live with him. They fell in love, built a blog together and even worked at the same company. But their relationship slowly started to change. He first started to isolate her from male friends, and then eventually all of her friends and even her family.

“He controlled my phone, email access and where I went. Soon I couldn’t leave the house, other than to go to work, under his control,” says Monique. He threw away most of her belongings and clothing – then bought her larger items to hide her figure. Beyond that, he would scream at her and accuse her of cheating. She couldn’t listen to music or watch television shows other than those he approved of. “There was hardly anything left of my confidence and self-worth.” The abuse had escalated to a level where Monique started to adopt her former boyfriend’s paranoia and even begin to think she was crazy.

But one week in August 2010, Monique knew she had to try to leave. “The television was tuned into an episode of “Dateline” about a victim of domestic violence. The only difference was that I was alive and she was not.” Then one day she was at home and hadn’t heard from her former boyfriend. She left the house, even though she wasn’t allowed to, and sent a text message to a friend and contacted her brother, who said she should make the overnight drive to his house immediately. She packed what she could in garbage bags and drove away. Her former boyfriend figured out she had left and cancelled her cell phone so she couldn’t call anyone.

Monique made it to a gas station to get some money from an ATM and used the phone there to call her family with the news she was on the way. It was after leaving the gas station that Monique turned on the radio, something she rarely had been able to do for three years, and heard the words, “This is where the healing begins.”

Staff members at North Memorial are trained to screen every patient admitted to the hospital to determine if they have suffered from physical, verbal or emotional abuse. A volunteer advocate like Monique visits victims who are treated in the emergency room and are victims of abuse. She volunteers on call to make those visits, or responds to phone calls to SafeJourney’s 24-hour advocacy line.

Since leaving her abusive relationship, Monique has restored her old friendships and made new friends. “I am not the person I was before, but I can say I am glad I went through it. I have a desire in my own heart to help others.”