The YWCA is the largest domestic violence shelter in Tennessee, and while the agency has helped hundreds of women, one woman who is in hiding after her husband assaulted her says the YWCA failed her in every way.
A mom with three daughters, ages 6 and 8 and a baby girl who just turned 1, found herself in the YWCA shelter after her husband accused her of having an affair and pulled a gun on her.
“He was three feet away from me. He just put the gun on me and I moved my head and the bullet just missed my head and shattered a window. I begged him for my life. He didn’t shoot again and came back for my kids. I wanted to save my kids,” said the unidentified victim.
Her husband was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. He filed for divorce and now mom cannot leave Davidson county with the children. So she has been in the secret YWCA shelter, until last Monday night. You might remember it was a cold rainy night. She was out buying food when on the way back she says the MTA bus driver insisted on letting her off at the shelter gates.
“I said no not here. But he said its dangerous its a bad neighborhood. I’m not letting you off with small children any farther, so I had no choice he stopped right there,” said the woman.
When she got in she said a staff member asked her to come to the office. "I said what is going on? She laughed and said maybe we have a Christmas gift for you. I thought okay that’s nice but then she said you broke the law and you put everybody in danger,” claims the mom.
Mom says she was told she had to get out by Friday 11am. Her lawyer Cynthia Cheatham said the YWCA promises to keep a victim safe until they can find permanent housing and they broke that promise because of a mistake the victim couldn't control.
“ She is in dire circumstances. She and those three little girl's lives are in danger. She has to stay in the county and she has no support here. She has been having babies and kept in the house for the past ten years,’ said Cynthia Cheatham.
We contacted the YWCA and asked for their side. They offered this statement:
"The YWCA does not discuss the specifics of domestic violence cases with the public or media. We rarely ask a client to leave, and, if we do, it is because the client has breached agreed-upon shelter rules. Even in such a rare case, we always work to find alternative options for the client's safety, including finding another shelter."
Today, mom tells us the YWCA is moving her to a motel for 5 days. Food for 5 days and bus passes. And then she is on her own.
“They didn't even sign her up for food stamps she is owed child support. They didn't find her another place to go, didn't care if she had another place to go. It's unbelievable to me. They make a lot of promises on their website. They didn’t keep any of those with my client,” said Cheatham.
Again, we want to emphasize we asked repeatedly for comment from the YWCA on this case. The last thing they said was they would comment if the mom signed a release. That is currently being negotiated between the mom’s lawyer and the YWCA.