Many victims who come to the Safehouse Crisis Center to flee violence are in or have grown up in poverty. To them, violence is just a part of life.
On Tuesday, following coverage of the annual Purple Lights Night Campaign event, I spoke to a few advocates from the crisis center about what happens to victims after they flee from domestic violence.
They confirmed what I already knew. Many of the clients came from poorer communities. Within these communities they believe that violence is just a part of life. On top of that, many victims continue the cycle and go right back to their abuser and some never flee in the first place.
One of the many goals of the crisis center is to educate victims — and the community — to stop this cycle and to help them live a healthy life without the violence.
According to Sylvia Fultz, Safehouse Crisis Center victim and child advocate, there are many roadblocks that these victims face. She said the crisis center is there to help guide them to resources and take care of the things the center can help with.
Fultz said nearly every single victim who receives assistance from the crisis center is going through economic stress.
“And because of everything she’s been through and her emotional state, starting over for her is extremely hard,” she said.
Not all victims stay at the shelter and instead utilize the services the center provides while they get back on their feet. For example they might be living with their mother while finding a HUD approved home, but feel like they need a professional to talk to about their traumatic experience.
However, most victims come to the shelter with only the clothes are their back. That means, if the never go back to collect their belongings — which may not even be there any more — then they will have to start over.
Included in those belongings are important documents, (which very well could have been destroyed or hidden by their abuser) such as identification cards, social security cards and birth certificates — all of which are needed to drive, to complete paperwork for assistance, medical care and the list goes on.
It’s hard to drive to a job with no transportation, get a rental home, receive proper medical care and find and take children to a daycare.
Victims of domestic violence who are from poverty stricken communities also face another hurdle. Although the individual may be able bodied and willing to go to work, not only do they lack the identification and other documents, there is a chance that the individual does not have an education (high school diploma and higher education) so the job choices may result in part-time low paying jobs. If the victim was a stay at home parent that individual most likely will not have experience for more well paying employment opportunities.
Many resources are available to people in the community who are walking in these shoes. I encourage any person who finds the courage to flee violence to seek the crisis center’s help.
People can learn more about the crisis center online at safehousecrisiscenter.org . The center has trained staff and volunteers who answer the center’s 24/7 hotline, in an emergency call 1-800-794-9148.