KEW GARDENS — Domestic abuse almost ruined Marcia's life. Her lover's drug-induced rages had brought her to her weakest moment and reduced her to staying on the streets.
"Sometimes the bus stop was my home for the night," the Jamaica, Queens native said. "Or just walking around until daylight asking God, 'please, just let me make it to daylight.'"
As Marcia struggled to recall the horror of her abuse Thursday, two women approached her and embraced her. Others in the crowd shed tears. They didn't need her to explain what she was reliving because they had all lived through it. But now, together, they were all moving on.
Eleven women, all victims of domestic abuse, took another step toward bettering their lives Thursday when they graduated from a city-run job training program.
The women completed the NYC STEPS program, an offshoot of the Mayor's Office to Combat Domestic VIolence and the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications that trained them in computer literacy, office etiquette and job-hunting skills.
During the ceremony, at the Queens Family Justice Center in Kew Gardens, at the MOCDV Commissioner Yolanda Jimenez told graduates of the 12-week program that she'd seen a change in them.
"You're standing a little bit taller, your handshakes are a little firmer and you're more confident applying for a job in an office setting," Jimenez said.
The graduates will be able to apply for a six-month internship at Experis, a workforce training and consulting firm.
"You guys got sit and tired of being sick and tired of your situations, and you decided to get up," said Charmonique Holder, an administrator at the company.
With her certificate in hand, Marcia, 52, said she felt like a stronger person. "Before I didn't know anything about the office setting," she said. "But now I'm more comfortable."
Marcia, who learned about the program through the District Attorney's office said she wants to be a writer and spread the word about domestic abuse. "The abuser might not be a bad person," she said, "but the abuse still exists."