Meet Doreen and Casey
Providence House Domestic Violence Services
Ask most mothers if they have aspirations for their children and you will get a lengthy list of idealistic goals. If you had asked Doreen this question when her son Casey was a little boy, her answer would have been “to be safe and to not lose his mother to violence.” Decades have passed since Doreen and Casey, who was then just five years old, came to Providence House in Ocean County and Doreen has not only kept her family safe but has succeeded in breaking the cycle of violence.
“If there had been a cost associated with the services at Providence House, I would not have been able to get help,” recounted Doreen. “I had very little income and no other options so I have no doubt that Providence House saved our lives.” As a way of giving back, Doreen volunteered to clean rooms at the safehouse.
Mary Pettrow, Associate Director of Providence House recalled that when Doreen and Casey first came to the Outreach and Counseling Office, there was no safehouse and no formal legal program in place yet. “My priority was keeping Doreen and Casey protected using every legal means available,” said Mary. “Repeated restraining order violations meant that I accompanied Doreen to court as often as once a week.” “Mary sitting next to me in the courtroom was just so comforting,” recalled Doreen. Many times, the two sat for hours waiting for their case to be heard, only to be told court was adjourned for the day. “Mary would not take “No” for an answer. She would plead with the judge to please give us two minutes because she feared I would not be alive if my request went unacted upon,” said Doreen.
“I know that I would be in a very different place had my Mom not sought help at Providence House,” said Casey. “Fortunately for me, my Mom shielded me from a lot of the abuse. Between my lousy memory, my Mom’s fierce protectiveness, and the support we both received at Providence House, I can definitely say that I had a happy and pretty normal childhood,” asserted Casey.
Today, Doreen is an active volunteer who advocates for awareness of domestic violence and is composing a memoir. Casey, who earned an advanced degree and serves as a senior analyst at Johnson & Johnson Healthcare, passes along some of the wisdom he gained from Providence House counselors to those he coaches, one of his many avocations. To those who are dealing with abuse, they encourage with the following advice. “You are not alone and you can’t do it alone. Reach out for help, you deserve peace.”