Friday, May 9, 2008

Domestic Violence Responding and other thoughts...

Someone asked me to share about being a Domestic Violence Responder. It is an amazing volunteer opportunity. For several years I had the huge privilege of working day in and day out in the field of Domestic Violence and Rape Response. I was trained and worked in both roles as an advocate. It can be very rewarding. It can be heart wrenching, but you realize you are a part of helping lives. I have a heart for the field because I am a survivor.
I worked full time in the Domestic Violence Shelter here called Hope Place and a part of my heart is still there. I just could not leave it at work and it was hard being there day in and day out. You end up doing more for the ladies than they do for themselves. That's not always best for them. Let me say right here that if you are looking for a cause to give to- you can be sure that all money or resources given would be far reaching and make a difference in countless lives. In my time in shelter I would be either blown away by the kindnesses extended or aggravated. People would often say they had some things to donate and it might be games with pieces missing, puzzles like-wise and dolls with no clothes. If you are going to give -give what you would want for your child. The children are the ones who have my heart, they have fled often with just the clothes on their backs and little else. Life is very different on the run for them.

Until you have been in the field of DV it is hard to understand. A big thing people say or ask is how could a woman stay with a man who abuses her, that's really a hurtful thing to ask her because you don't grow up saying I think I'll let a man use me for a punching bag. It happens and creeps in like all evil does when you haven't prepared yourself for it.

Just last week I got the call asking for help to relocate a lady who had changed her name and SS# twice and who's very life was at risk. Funds were needed and the mission was accomplished. So if you need a place to give monetary donations remember your local Domestic Violence shelter.

Now, getting to how I work (not often enough) with the Police as a Domestic Violence Responder. First, you are trained and then you begin to ride with an officer for a whole shift, you go on every call with them and when there is a DV call or a rape call, they send the officer with the DV responder. Your job after they have secured the scene is to council with the woman and leave her information or see if she wants to go into shelter. I have never had a shift where there was not at least one DV call. Often times it can be a dangerous call. Needless to say I do alot of praying while I am in the patrol car. I'll repeat the saddest victims are the children. We carry bags for them that are called 911 bags, filled with a tiny stuffed animal, a coloring book that's title is "Hands are made for loving not hitting" and crayons. They get a paper telling who to call when they are scared.

The saddest calls to me are family DV calls where children are abused or even when children are abusing their parent. It breaks your heart. I have gone into a home where a stepfather has hit a child with a bat and the Mom stood up for the man. Police have truly hard jobs with not enough pay. You should ride with them once and see.

Ways you can help in this field are:

* Monetary donations to your Local Domestic Violence shelter

*Mission projects where you make 911 bags-little canvas bags that you fill with the items they need like crayons and tiny stuffed animals.

*Rape response bags filled with new pairs of panties -all sizes, a jogging suit, a tiny toothpaste and toothbrush. These are given at the hospital after the woman has had a Rape exam- because they usually keep their underwear and clothes.

*Things for the shelter from their wish list - like full size toiletries, gift cards to Wal-Mart or Target,items for children and again monetary donations.

Please do not judge The DV victim or the Rape victim, it could be you or your daughter. Believe me I know.

Be a helper. Remember to pray for Policeman- they serve and protect, often times they lay down their lives for their job. I have known two officers killed in the line of duty here-one was answering a DV call.

Can I tell you I believe strongly in this cause because I do. Talk to your daughters Mothers, tell them to never let a boyfriend talk to them in a manner they don't deserve. It often starts verbally and mentally, then escalates to physically. Talk to your sons and teach them to treat woman with care.

Seek help when you need it-it is out there.

I know a lady who is crippled today from years of abuse-she stayed and stayed, but she kept the card a DV responder had given her under the sole lining in her shoe and one day she took it out-called and got help and today she is a DV responder and advocate.

Last year I had the privilege of singing at the Rememberance ceremony -I sang I Will Remember You by Sarah McLachlan. We lit candles and remembered the ones who weren't so lucky to live past their abuse. One day we will be in a wonderful place where there will be no more abuse, until then Help the cause!


Mimi said...

MeMe I am so glad you shared this with us.
It is a problem that many people forget about if it isn't happening to them...
I had sisters and a friend who were abused and the hurt to the children is long lasting...
Blessings my friend..
Have a Happy Mother's Day!

Mike Golch said...

Lorie,thank you for shareing this with us.
I hope that you have a great Mother's Day.

jennifer said...

What you do is an amazing thing. I am so blown away with your selflessness. I am so glad you shared your story - I read it word for word.

Be blessed.


Oh, and I will look into shelters in our area and see what I can donate.

It's All Good! said...

Wow, what a story you have to tell. I has definitely opened my eyes to ways I can help. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

God Bless you Lorie, not every person could do this. What a gift God has given you. Thank you for sharing.

LeAnn :)

Well Behaved Krissy said...

I REALLY enjoyed reading your post today. I got here from Valarie's blog. :)

Come visit me sometime.

Carrie said...

Hey! Valarie sent me to your site I have to say Amen I have worked at a Domestic Violence shelter going on 7 years the name of our shelter is Heart Haven having this job is rewarding but very hard keep up the good work!

Sarah@Life in the Parsonage said...

WOW!! What a ministry God has entrusted you with, Lorie. I will now be praying specifically for things mentioned in this post...thank you for doing the hard stuff!