by Chandler Harvey
Domestic violence is a very serious matter and should not be taken lightly. And what is even more serious is making sure that the woman trying to get away from the situation has some place to go, and is mentally stable once she leaves. It takes a woman a lot of courage to say she will leave her abuser, but so much more courage to actually follow through with it (“Why doesn’t”). So once she builds up this courage where does she go? A women’s shelter. A women’s shelter is there to help the battered woman in her time of need and get her back on her feet. Shelters are there to help build up the confidence of a once torn down woman and assist her to be better than she ever thought possible. The philosophy of the shelter is based on the understanding that victims and survivors of domestic violence deserve respect and can make their own choices (“Helping Thousands”). Because the majority of battered women don’t have enough money to live on their own, the shelters for these women are like their temporary homes until they can afford to stay on their own again. Due to the many devastating facts about this ordeal, there should be more funding for women shelters across America.
Every nine seconds in the US a woman is assaulted or beaten. Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women. Shocking right? More girls than you would believe have said that their significant other either made threats of violence or self-harm to themselves (“Domestic Violence Statistics”). The victim needs to recognize that she is actually in a violent relationship, because the majority of women are in denial. Once the woman realizes that it is abuse that she is going through, she needs to break the cycle (“Domestic Violence Against”).
Everybody asks the question “Why doesn’t she just leave him?”–but it isn’t as simple as people may believe. When people are in love they tend to assume that what is happening to them is okay, and what they are enduring is normal. The victim also tends to believe the partner after an apology, often not the first apology that has been made. Conflicting emotions, pressure, distrust of authority, and reliance on the abusive partner are some of the main reasons why people stay with their abuser (“Why Do People”).
Did you know that there are more animal shelters than there are women’s shelters? That is complete nonsense. In America there are 3,800 animal shelters and only a mere 1,500 shelters for women, meaning that there are two times more animal facilities than facilities for women who have endured physical, emotional and psychological damage. When people are asked to donate to a women’s shelter they say that they don’t know anyone being abused, so they would rather donate to an animal shelter. People’s thoughts on this subject and the statistics are upsetting to even think about. Even though most assume that domestic violence only happens to poor women, it actually happens in all social classes (Schrager).
Experts on domestic violence say that therapy can do a great deal to help. Abuse is a very traumatizing experience, and emotional scars associated with this abuse can often outlast the physical damage. Being able to talk to friends, family and therapists can help the victim to go on with life and prosper. There is often still fretfulness from the abuse, and speaking with the therapist can help to deal with the anxiety. Group counseling can help a battered woman as well. It helps her to realize that she is not in the battle alone and she has support from women who have gone through the same things as her (“Share Your Voice”).
After a woman leaves a shelter her mental state is so much better than before. The counselors there let the women know that there are four steps that need to be taken to make sure that she stays clear of her past (Michelle E). Counselors also let the battered women know that a restraining order is not enough to ensure their safety (“Help for Abused”). With these facts, the counselors help the once-assaulted women to realize they are now okay. After the counseling they can take more steps on their own to help them understand that they can be strong independent women.
Most of the funding for the women’s shelters in the US comes from the federal government. Although the need for shelters is always increasing, the budget is still being cut. Here are some mind-boggling statistics from a national survey released in 2011: three out of four shelters indicate their funding has decreased the most from government organizations, 45% of shelters decreased their services due to the economy, and 75% of shelters saw an increase in women with children seeking assistance (Galen). Seeing that the financial needs of shelters are not being met should encourage not only the government but also individual citizens to help. Even if you personally are not able to help financially, you can still get petitions and emails to the government so they know that needs are not being met. There is always a way to assist, such as volunteering at the shelters and even donating things that you no longer need or use. Don’t let the end of this blog be the end of you caring about this matter.
“Domestic Violence Against Women: Recognize Patterns, Seek Help.” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 21 May 2011. Web. 1 Apr. 2013. <http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/domestic-violence/WO00044>.
“Domestic Violence Statistics.” Domestic Violence Statistics. N.p., n.d. Web. 1 Apr. 2013. <http://domesticviolencestatistics.org/domestic-violence-statistics/>.
Galen, E. “US Budget Cuts Devastate Shelters for Victims of Domestic Violence.” World Socialist Web Site. International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI), n.d. Web. 24 Apr. 2013. <http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2012/01/viol-j25.html>.
“Help for Abused and Battered Women.” Helpguide.org. N.p., n.d. Web. 1 Apr. 2013. <http://www.helpguide.org/mental/domestic_violence_abuse_help_treatment_prevention.htm>.
“Helping Thousands.” Womanshelter RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 1 Apr. 2013. <http://womanshelter.dreamhosters.com/>.
Michelle E. “How to Get Over an Abusive Relationship.” livestrong.com. N.p., 23 July 2011. Web. 1 Apr. 2013. <http://www.livestrong.com/article/101290-over-abusive-relationship/>.
Schrager, Allison. “Does One Abused Woman = 100 Abused Puppies?” More Intelligent Life. N.p., 24 June 2008. Web. 1 Apr. 2013. <http://moreintelligentlife.com/story/does-one-abused-woman-100-abused-puppies>.
“Share Your Voice: Counseling for Domestic Violence.” The Hotline. N.p., Aug. 2012. Web. 1 Apr. 2013. <http://www.thehotline.org/2012/08/counseling-for-domestic-violence-survivors/>.
“Why Do People Stay in Abusive Relationships?” www.loveisrespect.org. N.p., n.d. Web. 1 Apr. 2013. <http://www.loveisrespect.org/is-this-abuse/why-do-people-stay-in-abusive-relationships>.
“Why Doesn’t the Victim Leave.” Battered Women’s Shelter of Summit and Medina Counties. N.p., n.d. Web. 1 Apr. 2013. <http://www.scmcbws.org/why_doesnt_the_victim_leave.asp>.