Karina thought she met her soulmate when she was only 17. She had just graduated high school when her son Adrienne was born. Soon after, she moved in with her new husband, and had high hopes for a happy family and a bright future.
“It happened so fast. We don’t always make the best choices when we are younger, but I wanted a family. I wanted us to be happy.”
At first it seemed to be working, but after a few months, Karina started to see red flags that made her worry. “He started partying and going out – it was so hard. I needed help with our son Adrienne, and I was working full-time.” One night when Adrienne was just 3 months old, everything changed.
“I remember it was the 4th of July and he came home so intoxicated he almost didn’t recognize me. He came in so loudly, Adrienne woke up and started to cry. That’s when he lost it.”
“He threw Adrienne, a 3-month-old infant, across the room, and then started choking me… he told me he was going to kill me. I thought I was going to die that night in front of my son. I knew I had to get out.”
Karina called her parents the next day. They came, packed up her things, and left. Just a few hours later while looking for help, she found A New Leaf’s Domestic Violence Services.
“After I called, I was assigned Linda as a Court Advocate. She guided me through all of the proceedings to protect myself and my son. To know that A New Leaf was able to give me shelter, child care, or more if I needed it, was a huge relief. It made me feel safe making the choice to leave.”
With Linda’s help, Karina was able to get an order of protection and start her recovery. She got a place of her own, got a job, and eventually went back to school. Now Karina is thriving, and ready to give back to those facing the same challenge she faced.
“I graduated from the University of Arizona in 2019, and enrolled in Law School. Right now I’m finishing my first year, and I plan to represent survivors of abuse when I graduate. I want to be able to do for others, what Linda and A New Leaf did for me. I want to save lives.”