Thirty years ago, the Pittsburg State women’s studies program performed a study of the southeast Kansas region to determine if there was a need for a women’s shelter to protect victims of domestic violence.

Thirty years ago, the Pittsburg State women’s studies program performed a study of the southeast Kansas region to determine if there was a need for a women’s shelter to protect victims of domestic violence.
The study revealed that there was such a need, and soon Safehouse was born. Over the years, that group evolved into the Crisis Resource Center.
Thirty years later, that same Pittsburg State women’s studies program was volunteering their time to help with a pancake feed for the Crisis Resource Center that they helped kick-start. The pancake feed brought more than 100 people to Applebee’s to help show their support for the Crisis Resource Center.
“The Crisis Resource Center needs funds because a lot of national funding programs have been cut or reduced,” said Maureen Huerter, CRC board member. “It’s getting harder and harder to receive grants. We are a United Way agency, so we do get funds, but domestic violence is an interesting area to try to get funds. Our victims are in the background because that’s the way it has to be.”
The issue of helping the CRC was important for PSU professor Elaine Pilkington, who brought certain members of her Introduction to Women’s Studies class to help out with the pancake feed.
Although the center has several sources of funding, including the United Way grants, there is still a need for money at the center.
“We haven’t designated the funds we’ve made here this morning. They’ll probably go toward some of the programs in progress right now,” Huerter said. “The visitation programs, shelter programs, supplies. The Pittsburg shelter needs a new roof. Our Coffeyville shelter burned down. We have a temporary shelter in place, but all of these needs make it a total necessity to have funds.”
Board member Tricia Kreutzer added another need for funds that Huerter did not mention.
“This is a rural area. We take victims back and forth to court. Maybe that’s 40-50 miles,” Kreutzer said. “That adds up to a lot of expense. We’re strung out. As gas gets more expensive, it’s harder to maintain the vehicles because they’re more expensive.”
All told, everyone at the pancake feed recognized that domestic violence is an issue that does not just go away.
“You turn on the TV, and you have Chris Brown and Rihanna or you have the guy who shot his in-laws,” Kreutzer said. “When they began the mandatory arrest law in Kansas, the Wichita police were uptight about it. A year later, they were very pleased with the law. Violence is always home-bred. If you deal with domestic violence, you can deal with violence elsewhere.”

Andrew Nash can be reached at andrew.nash@morningsun.net or by calling 231-2600 ext. 132.