Pages Navigation Menu

WMBD: STORY OF SURVIVAL: Survivor of domestic violence finds justice & her voice

PEORIA, Ill. – The Center for Prevention of Abuse is a place of healing for the 5,000 survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence it sees per year in central Illinois.

Lori Thompson is one of those survivors.

The abuse started early in Thompson’s relationship with her ex-husband. After nearly a decade of enduring that domestic violence she decided she’d had enough.

“Being hit upside the head, knocked unconscious multiple times …” Thompson recalls, of the abuse in her first marriage.

25 years ago Thompson was living in Texas with two small children, completely isolated from family and friends, and trapped in an abusive marriage.

“When you have a loaded gun to your head you fear for your life.” Thompson says.

Leaving wasn’t an option for Thompson. Her ex-husband wouldn’t let her, even keeping track of mileage and marking the tires on her car.

“Many times victims struggle with when they’ll leave or even if they’ll even leave. A victim of domestic violence leaves their abuser on average 8 times before they actually leave the last time.” Director of Domestic Violence Services at the Center for Prevention of Abuse, Sara Dillefeld, explains.

That was the case for Thompson, until the day she realized leaving was the only option.

“I knew it was time to leave when I was holding onto my infant child and I was getting hit upside the head to the point where I went unconscious.” Thompson explains.

So Thompson made her plan and headed toward Illinois, knowing she wanted to be far away from her life filled with abuse and violence.

“I went to a friend’s house, left my purse behind, only took the children.” Thompson says.

Her husband was eventually arrested for his crime.

“I felt justice when I reestablished my life, made my life better for myself and my children and could just forget that chapter of my life.” Thompson explains.

It was then that she turned to the Center for Prevention of Abuse. Receiving domestic violence counseling there helped her to trust again to start a new life free of violence and full of hope.

“I overcame all of that trauma and rebuilt the confidence in my life to be able to move on and I did.” Thompson says.

Thompson eventually pursued a life-long dream of becoming a nurse and found her own voice, never to be lost again.

“There is a light at the end of the tunnel.” Thompson says.

The Center for Prevention of Abuse has a hotline and two emergency shelters for domestic violence victims in immediate danger.

Almost all of the services at the center are free to clients.

The center needs your help to continue helping survivors in central Illinois live free from violence and abuse.

You can support the duck race Saturday, August 26th at noon at East Peoria’s Eastside Centre. To buy a rubber duck click here. Starting at midnight Tuesday night, ducks are buy one get one free.

Every dollar raised stays local and supports client services.

Watch the story here.