from the July 2020 RNFA eNews

Stephanie Filali Moutei, Admissions Assistant at NIFA, has now had her writing featured in two books and is cutting back to part-time work at our office as she launches her nonprofit program, the My Fairy Godmother Project (visit it on Facebook or Instagram). It is a resource center connecting victims of domestic abuse with the resources they need to get out safely.

A survivor of domestic abuse, Stephanie wrote about her experience in the book “Ready to Fly: Stories of Strength and Courage to Inspire Your Journey Forward, Volume 1,” compiled by Crystal Blue. The book is an anthology of writings by “women who have thrived through personal traumas and found their path upward.” A third volume in the series has just been published, and it includes another chapter by Stephanie, this time focusing on a rape she experienced at age 17. (She wrote both chapters under the pseudonym Jennifer Knoble.)

“When you are undergoing domestic abuse, you can only see one step ahead,” Stephanie says. “Sometimes victims are brainwashed and told no one wants you or ‘if you leave, I’m going to kill you or your family.’ It really helps to have someone who can talk you through it, help you realize that there are safe options and that you don’t have to stay. I’m a really resourceful person and wanted to create a safe place for others who may not have the resources.”

Building the Organization

Stephanie established the My Fairy Godmother Project as a 501(c)(3) in 2018, but with working full-time until now, her time has been limited. Now she is building out a website and the nonprofit itself so that the organization can start fundraising and get an actual location in the Denver area, with plans to expand into other states. But some services will be available remotely, to anyone, anywhere. In fact, Stephanie has already been helping victims.

“For example, I helped someone in Canada leave her abusive ex-husband a few months ago,” she says. “She’s followed up with me, letting me know she and her daughters are doing great. It’s pretty amazing to know that I’ve been able to help someone so far away.”

Stephanie helps victims build out safety plans, figure out contacts, plan the best time to get out and prepare a Plan B and Plan C. She is also developing online programs on abuse and divorce, as well as a self-care program.

“One of the key components that helped me get out was self-care, taking care of myself,” she says. “It rebuilt my confidence. The more confident I got, I started realizing that I deserved better, and I started getting stronger mentally until I was like, ‘No, it’s time to go.’”

The resource center will be a safe place where women can come and talk with therapists on staff about what is going on. It will include a computer lab, since often victims of domestic abuse are restricted financially or for computer time, or have not been able to work. The nonprofit will offer workshops such as resume-building workshops and mock interviews. And the center will partner with various resources: moving companies, storage unit companies, lawyers and—for victims with serious injuries—plastic surgeons and dentists.

Coaching Survivors

“I have thoroughly enjoyed working with the team at NIFA and I love talking with all the different students that call in, but this is my life’s purpose and I’m going after it,” Stephanie says. “I’m working on building my life coaching business as well, to coach survivors as they navigate what a healthy relationship looks like after leaving an abusive relationship. I’m also going to be doing public speaking to raise awareness about abuse, and continuing to write books as well.”

Stephanie left her own abusive situation in 2015 and her divorce was final in 2017. And yes, she has been successful in building a healthy relationship.

“I’m much more aware of red flags with dating,” she says. “As soon as there’s one red flag, I’m done, because I’ve learned if there’s one red flag, there are going to be others. Through the work that I’ve done on myself, through self-development workshops and therapy, I have really connected with my own intuition, and I listen to it, and I pay attention to those red flags. I want to help others to be able to get to that point as well.”

If you would like to help, you can:

You are welcome to contact Stephanie directly at the email or phone number above.