In Pursuit of Happiness: Elizabeth's Story, 'Why Won't You Help Me?'

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For many people experiencing difficulties in life, reaching out to their church or community of faith seems like a good move.

But one area victim of domestic violence says that wasn't the case for her.

Continuing our series, 'In Pursuit of Happiness,' Liz Hayes shares Elizabeth's story. She's a woman who contacted her church when she discovered she was in an abusive relationship, but says they blamed her.

"I have wanted to be married and be a mother ever since I was a little girl. I love having a family. I want to be married, I want to have all my children live with me. I don't have that right now," she said.

44-year-old Elizabeth didn't have the perfect childhood, but as a married woman things got really tough after tragedy struck....the death of the couple's 8-month-old daughter.

"At her funeral the pastor said through this experience you will either become bitter or better."

She says her husband began attacking her emotionally after the enormous loss. On the anniversary of the child's death... the couple had a disagreement. According to police reports, it escalated to violence.

Elizabeth says her husband grabbed her and threw her onto the bed, her head crashing into the wall.

"He then came on top of me, he had me down with one arm, I was on my side and he began to beat me with his fist, including a punch in the head."

She screamed for her daughter to call 911.

"I took the phone from her and I dialed 911. My husband ran to the phone base and unplugged it."

Elizabeth's husband was arrested. A religious woman, she reached out to their church for help.

"When I went to the church one of the responses was, "Are you sure that he hit you?" "Yes, I'm positive he hit me."

"He has been in church leadership positions, in which he has been highly respected."

She soon discovered her social circle was slipping away.

"We like the way he looks in public, so he must be that way with you."

"My integrity has been questioned, my interpretation of the events has been questioned, and I have been repeatedly told that what he's telling me is correct."

She says the church leaders caused more pain to an already painful situation, adding churches need to become more educated on domestic violence.

"Please help me. I can't take this anymore and I don't know what to do, will you please help me?"

The court system, however, did help.

Her husband plead guilty to battery and was sentenced to one year probation and counseling.

Elizabeth discovered The Women's Community and for once felt validated.

"For the first time I felt like someone understood what I was saying. I had no idea what this power and control was all about."

And Elizabeth says she has a new church community where she is finding the support she needs.

But she says things are still tough. She and her husband are separated, plus she endures physical therapy for her injuries. However, she's finally in control of her own life and will forever be in pursuit of happiness.