Domestic abuse survivor aims to pay it forward

Posted at 6:15 PM, Nov 22, 2015
and last updated 2015-11-22 20:15:23-05

Law enforcement officers are regularly called to homes in the Treasure Valley for reports of domestic violence.

One local survivor is breaking the silence with the hope of saving others from abuse.

As we head into the holiday season with Thanksgiving just days away, memories from the past are resurfacing for a local woman who says she has a lot to be thankful for.

Domestic violence and physical abuse are not easy topics to bring up over the dinner table but Elizabeth Gough says it's prevalent in our society. She says it's an issue that needs to be talked about before change can occur.

Gough admits, though, working up the courage to share her story was not easy.

"It just feels really intense to put yourself out there and just be real and raw and say, 'This is who I am, this is what I went through this is where I'm at now," she says.

When thinking about backing out of her public speech, she thought of her two children whom she credits for where she is at today.

If it weren't for the fact she came to the realization that she and her children deserved better, she wouldn't have left an abusive relationship for good.

The former stay-at-home mom turned social worker student at Boise State University once found herself in a very controlling situation. At some point, she says she was brainwashed and the threats got to her.

"How am I going to start over, what if he does get custody of them? My kids have always been my life, and so, that was just a really scary thing to think about," Gough says.

Thanks to the Women's & Children's Alliance, Gough had a place to stay, counseling for her and her children and a support network.

Today, she is remarried and says her daughters are well adjusted to their new lifestyle.

"Six years ago, I was in such a dark place and I just, at that point, didn't feel like I had much to be grateful for," Gough concludes. "To feel safe and content and happy with your life and where you're at and what you're doing just feels really good."

When Gough is done with school, her focus will be on working with teenage girls so they know what the warning signs are before they get in an abusive pattern.

The WCA has a 24-hour crisis hotline for anyone in need. You can access the line by dialing (208) 343-7025.