Everyone thought Andrea had the perfect marriage. Everyone was wrong.

Click on the screen to hear about one working woman’s experience and victory over partner violence.

Download a handout of Andrea’s story

Thanks to Women’s Center & Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh for permission to post the video clip above on the STANDING FIRM website. View more clips of partner violence survivors and their stories.

“Nobody would have guessed”

An employee explains why smart employers pay attention to partner violence.

After presenting the STANDING FIRM “Management Awareness and Response Training” at a large regional hospital, our Associate Director was approached by an employee of the organization.

The employee thanked her for her presentation and assured her that it was important to talk about the topic of partner violence. She told STANDING FIRM staff that 20 years ago, while working for the same employer, she had been in a violent relationship. She was afraid at work, scared that her boyfriend would come to work to harass or hurt her again, but the only person who knew about her situation was one security guard. She felt so alone and embarrassed that she didn’t even tell her best friends about the trouble she was in.

“Nobody would have guessed that someone like me could be in a situation like that,” the woman said. She explained that if her employer had offered the training she had just attended, she may have left her relationship sooner because she would have known she was not alone. She pointed out that she left six gunshot holes in her living room wall to serve as an ongoing reminder of those days and of how far she has come since then.

“I am living proof…”

An HR professional in a large global manufacturer shares her story.

I was the victim of domestic violence in my first marriage. After six years in this marriage, I knew I had to escape with my 4-year old son. The day I was going to take my son, some toys, clothes, and our dogs, I asked my supervisor if I could take 4 days of vacation. I didn’t tell him why. We escaped that evening and went to my brother’s house. My son and I spent our time sitting on the living room floor so my husband could not see us if he drove by the house. He owned many guns and he had told me he would shoot me if I tried to leave him. My brother spent his time watching for any sight of him.

When I returned to work, the phone calls from my estranged husband started … many, many phone calls. My self-esteem was so worn down, I was extremely afraid I would “forget” the abuse and go back to him. To help me remember, I wrote down things he had said to and things he had done to me over the previous six years. I then called an abuse hotline and asked the person who answered the phone if she would listen to me read my list and tell me if she thought I was a victim of abuse.

She stopped me after I had read about a dozen items and said “If you are looking for validation, I can give that to you. The things that were said to you and done to you should never be done to another human being. Is there anything else I can do to help you?” I told her, no, validation is all that I needed because I had been told so many times that it was my fault, I really didn’t know if it was.

All of the phone calls – from my husband to me, from me to my attorney – as well as my list writing and my call to the abuse hotline, occurred while I was at work, obviously affecting my productivity and my ability to concentrate on my employer’s objectives. Over the next six months, I missed work several times in order to get an Order for Protection, to find a place for my son and I to live, and to finalize my divorce. Each step of the process would consume my thoughts. As difficult as it was (I didn’t want to be known at work as a “victim” instead of an “HR Professional”), I did share with my supervisor the personal issues I was working through. He was very understanding and allowed me leeway in my professional contributions to the company. I will be forever grateful to him for that. I know many victims who do not work for an empathetic supervisor or a caring employer.

Thankfully, this experience is years behind me and I have been able to recover. However, I am living proof that domestic/partner violence directly affects companies’ cost of doing business.

Do you have a story?

Are you an employed victim of partner violence? Are you a batterer who works? Are you a coworker, supervisor, or manager of a victim or a batterer? Share your story with us so that partner violence becomes less of a hidden problem in the workplace.

Partner violence is often a hidden problem in the workplace. Victims don’t talk about what’s happening at home or how it affects them at work. Batterers don’t reveal what they do at home or how their focus on controlling their partner affects their work. Coworkers, managers and supervisors don’t know how to help. Tell us your story and share it anonymously via our website. You can be part of the STANDING FIRM mission to help employers and employees understand how partner violence affects the workplace and the workforce.

Share your story