Domestic violence survivor empowers survivors on Mother's Day

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A domestic abuse survivor is working to help victims one woman at a time by breaking the cycle of violence. She's asking the public to join her in trying to empower survivors on Mother's Day. 

"He pushed me into the wall and put a big hole in it," said Elizabeth Constantino. "I said I'm not doing this; I grew up in abuse I am not going to be in an abusive relationship."

Two days later, Elizabeth Constantino found out she was pregnant.

"He told me the typical, 'It's never going to happen again, I am never going to do this again, I will change, it was a one-time thing," she said. "And then it happened again and again. Finally, it got to the point after Kyle's first birthday, I thought he was going to take our life."

Elizabeth was caught in a vicious cycle of domestic abuse and leaving wasn't easy - even after her husband was convicted of beating her.

"This is a man that I loved, so no matter what he did to me, I still didn't want to hurt him," she said.

In 2014, she finally found the strength to leave, but the fear stayed with her.

"It is something you don't get over, maybe with time and with healing and with him not knowing where I live, but every night you check every window, every door," she said.

It has been a long road, but at 32 Elizabeth says she has found her strength and her voice, knowing she had to be there for her boys. And now she wants to be there for other victims of domestic assault.

"I can't live in fear of him, I need to speak my truth, I need to stand up for other victims that don't have anyone who feel there is no one there for them," Elizabeth said.

Elizabeth is in the process of launching "Building to Rebuild" - a nonprofit to help women get the resources they need to break free from the violence.

In the meantime, she is helping women who have found their way to Turning Point in Macomb County, which offers services and a shelter for victims of domestic and sexual assault.

For Mother's Day, Elizabeth is asking people to call Charvat the Florist in Grosse Pointe Farms and buy a $35 flower arrangement to send to the women staying at the Turning Point shelter.

"Chances are they are probably not getting Mother's Day," Elizabeth said. "So even if it's something for their child to bring to them and say Happy Mother's Day, I just think if you give someone support and uplift them a little bit it can truly change the course of their life." 

Someday she hopes Building to Rebuild will be able to do that for countless women. Right now, Elizabeth is doing what she can, helping to empower women, one survivor at a time.

"I want survivors to know they are not alone," she said. "That there are people out there for them. I think that's so important to hear and they can't hear it enough. I just want them to know Building to Rebuild, I am here. You can email me, message me, I will answer you. I will love you, support you, be there for you and I will never ask why didn't you leave sooner."

Call Charvat the Florist Grosse Pointe Farms to donate $35 floral arrangement for Mother's Day. The deadline is May 1. Call 313-881-7800 and learn more or donate online to