Prudence Crandall center helps domestic violence victims find a new path

NEW BRITAIN - For more than 43 years, a New Britain shelter has been working to break the cycle of domestic violence, abuse that impacts 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men.

Through shelter, education and counseling the Prudence Crandall Center is changing lives and giving many new hope.

"I have a life now for the first time. I finally got it when I got my apartment, my first apartment in 36 years on my own and I said-- I got this,” said Lynda Cannon. After 28 of repeatedly being physically abused, she went from the hospital to the Prudence Crandall Center, for a fresh start.

“They let me know there is always hope for tomorrow they gave me courage to keep up fighting my fight and I finally did it.”

The facility's hotline is staffed around the clock, and the center is equipped to meet most any need, because victims often leave home with just the clothes on their backs.

“They begin to see each day that there is hope for a brighter future, that they can achieve the goals that they have for themselves. And they can really get themselves to that next place in their lives where they don't have to worry about being a victim of domestic violence,” said Barbara Damon, the center's executive director. She said Lynda's story is not uncommon.

“Domestic violence happens and there's a really good chance you know someone who's experiencing domestic violence and they need to know help is available. So spreading that word and raising awareness are really important tools and is a big part of what we ask the community to do.”

All agree, leaving abusive situations is the first step and the most difficult. ”This is the hardest thing you’re doing for yourself. You've been dependent on someone to take care of you, to love you and support you, and that kind of love and support they gave you is not what you thought it was supposed to be and it hurts. It’s hurt, its wrong, love should never hurt.”

Cannon credits counseling at Prudence Crandall for making her strong again.

“Gotta believe in yourself, it takes a lot of work, takes a lot of courage. I don't consider myself a domestic violence person. I'm a domestic violence survivor. So I have survived this and I’m taking it one day a time. And I’m loving life,” said Cannon.

“Now I care about who I am now, what I look like, what I feel like, what I feel about me not him, he don't define me, I define me.”

The Prudence Crandall center assists about 8,000 Connecticut adults and children each year but needs support.

Call 888-774-2900 to find out how you can help.