While not every victim of domestic violence is female, women constitute the majority, we have not yet encountered a single man since we started working with victims of domestic violence in February 2012. We work closely with many survivors of domestic and women in particular, stay in dangerous relationships for many reasons. Many times, a chief reason is the lack of an accessible and welcoming women support shelter, woman in an abusive relationship may not feel she has anywhere else to go. Extended family may not be near or welcoming. An inability to be self-supporting can leave many feeling they are “stuck” in their situation.
A crisis shelter gives women in imminent danger someplace safe and secure to escape from harm. Friends and family may be non-existent or too accessible to the abusing partner. A crisis shelter offers a roof, meals and a location where the abuser cannot reach them.
In most cases, the crisis shelter offers much more – like a consistent, safe place to recoup from the strain of real and pending danger – not just for themselves, but for their children also. It also offers them an environment to encourage their potential, rather than crush their self-image. The shelter offers space to breathe and re-imagine life alongside those who have reached this hope for themselves. Hope for a better future can be born, and this includes hope for new opportunities for children who have witnessed domestic abuse or experienced homelessness.
Many times, it takes more than 60 or 90 days to start rebuilding a life, so we also working to offer longer-term housing so women can access other services which empower her to work toward enhanced career opportunities, including education and resources toward her own permanent residence.
Because our team works on a daily basis with those who face abuse, we have an authoritative voice when it comes to public policy. Victims may lack confidence in themselves or ‘the system’ but we can speak confidently and assuredly on their behalf. In this way, crisis we benefit not only those in immediate danger, but can help to protect others in the community before they are victimized. For all these reasons, and more, we hope you can see why it’s so important to support a safe space for women and children who are victims of domestic abuse.