Tag: Domestic Violence (page 1 of 2)

One Survivor’s Story

I had been hesitant for four years to tell anyone I was in an abusive relationship. He verbally, mentally, emotionally and financially abused me. The moment he threatened to take my kid away from me was the moment I knew I had to take action. I never knew there were services in town that helped with situations like mine. I had felt trapped and when I had heard about it through a friend who had used the Alliance before, I decided to go down there to see what they could do for me.
The Illinois Valley Safe House Alliance helped me get back on my feet to being me again. They were there to just listen, helped refer me to places to get custody and make sure my child was safe with me. They helped me create a safety plan so that my child and I would have a way to get out if we needed to. The advocate helped me learn about resources for financial support like TANF, food stamps and local places who help with different kinds of assistance I may need.
When you have no one to turn to and people are judging you, it makes it very hard to go somewhere and ask for help. If the Alliance had not been local I would not have gotten the help I needed. I would have never gone to Grants Pass for help.

It’s Not Just a Woman’s Issue

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The Walk

I walk “The Walk” so she never has to.
When we opened our doors for services in 2002, we knew there were compelling reasons to have services based in Cave Junction. These community-based services have saved lives and provided crisis and long-term support to over 6,000 survivors. Over the course of the twelve years we’ve worked hard to educate our community, our partners and funders that survivors need accessible services. We’ve made progress, but there is still work to be done.
Alliance staff and some close friends and family plan to walk the 30 miles into Grants Pass to get the word out, we all need to walk the walk if we want to end the violence against women. We’ve never done this sort of event before, so we’re beta-testing it ourselves with the hope it becomes an annual event.
A survivor that we worked with early on once said, “It might as well have been to the moon,” when we talked about her reaching out for support in Grants Pass and being told she would need to get to Grants Pass if she wanted to access help. That happened before we opened our doors, but it remains a common theme when we sit down the first time with survivors.
The Alliance approaches ending violence against women from three different perspectives: intervention, prevention and community engagement. This walk will raise funds for the intervention and prevention work, but the walk itself is another effort to engage the community in our work.
You’ll have an opportunity to sponsor walkers with a donation by the mile or a set amount. We’re in the process of designing a t-shirt for the walkers, but we’ll have extra t-shirts and grocery bags with the walk logo on them if you’d like to purchase them. You can call the office at 541.592.2515 for more information on how to sponsor a walker or to order a t-shirt or a grocery bag. Walkers will also be walking door to door to get sponsors. They’ll be wearing the t-shirt and have badges so you can be assured they are from the Alliance.
By the time the walk comes around we’ll each have walked between 100 to 300 miles to prepare for this event! We are proud to walk “The Walk,” so she never has to.

Community Health and Domestic Violence

In the Alliance office, we are frequently thinking about ways to become healthier, physically and mentally. We try to eat healthy; our Friday potlucks generally consist of lentils, vegetables, gluten free pasta, mostly sugar free food, you know- healthy stuff. Also on our Potluck Fridays, we have a staff meeting where we begin by talking about what we are grateful for – a way to keep our outlook positive, then end with a bit of self care so none of get overwhelmed from the difficult work we do to end Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault.  We are aware of our physical and emotional health and we try to take care of ourselves.

I recently attended a Community Health Fair with one of our community partner organizations, “Healthy U” in which the focus is “how do we get our community to embrace good health”. When the topic of how to get more people interested in getting healthy and accessing services,  it dawned on me that people are mostly trying to meet their basic needs and don’t have time to even think about getting healthy.  I then began to wonder about how a woman living in a violent situation thinks about her health, or if she thinks about it. When a woman is living in an abusive situation, and is afraid for her personal security, her first and most important need is that of her own safety and the safety of her children.

For those of us who took psychology classes, we know that in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, safety is the most important aspect of the human condition after physical needs; breathing, food and water. A woman living with a violent partner may have her basic needs for survival met; she is able to breathe, has food (unless it is withheld as punishment) and has access to water. The next level of the needs hierarchy is basic safety and security.  When a person’s basic need for safety and security is not met, it is not possible to move into fulfilling the next steps; social needs, esteem needs and personal growth (self actualization needs). When we spend our time struggling and worrying about how to stay safe, we don’t have the time or the energy to think about much of anything else. Our physical health and our emotional/mental health are often the last things on our minds.

The U.S Department of Justice reported that 37% of all women who sought care in hospital emergency rooms for violence-related injuries were injured by a current of former spouse, boyfriend, or girlfriend. Thirty seven percent! That number always astounds me. Studies of the Surgeon General’s office reveal that domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women between the ages of 15 and 44, more common than automobile accidents, muggings, and cancer deaths combined. Other research has found that half of all women will experience some form of violence from their partners during marriage, and that more than one third are battered repeatedly every year. The Center for Disease Control studies conclude that the costs of intimate partner violence against women exceed an estimated billion in direct costs of medical and mental health care and nearly 1.8 billion in the indirect costs of lost productivity.

All of these statistics show that if we want our community to be healthy, part of the process is to ensure the safety of those residing here. If we can find a way to keep everyone safe, men, women, and children, then we can begin to find a way to good health.

DV 101 Training Offered in January

The Illinois Valley Safe House Alliance will be offering Domestic Violence 101 training on Friday January 10th from 9am to noon.  This training will include an introduction to the dynamics of domestic violence, an overview of the effects of DV on children, and an outline of how the Alliance is working to end DV in our community.  There will be an opportunity to ask questions.  If you are interested in volunteering, but have not attended a volunteer orientation yet, this training will count as your orientation.on  Attendees will receive a certificate of completion (and tremendous thanks from us here at the Alliance).

Your willingness to spend a morning learning about the issues is incredibly valuable to the work we do. The more you know, the more effective we can all be as we work to end domestic violence.

If you are able to attend, please RSVP to Marcy at 541-592-5332 so we know how many people to expect.

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