Domestic Violence is a difficult issue to understand. This year, with the help of local elected officials, October has been declared Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Unless you’re educated on the topic, you may not understand why women stay or how serious the issue is. Why would you stay with someone hurting you? Domestic Violence is a cycle that is hard to break. A victim cannot safely leave the situation without outside support, resources, and the confidence that she can make it on her own. Many don’t know that the period of time after a woman leaves is the most lethal and dangerous time as the batterer is more enraged than ever. I’d like you to meet Annie* who called the 24-hour Domestic Violence Hotline several months ago. She is 35 years old, with four children, living in a local suburb with her husband of 11 years. Her husband, who had always been controlling, had recently become physically violent. Now their oldest child was beginning to act out. Annie heard that Artemis offered therapy for children exposed to domestic violence. She wanted help for her son, but wasn’t sure she could afford it. Her husband controlled all the finances in the household, so paying for therapy was not an option. Annie’s Artemis advocate assured her that we never charge clients for our services. She invited Annie to come in to the Artemis office and meet with an advocate face-to-face.
It was several weeks before Annie found a safe opportunity to visit us. After talking with an advocate and learning about her options, she decided she was not in a position to leave her abuser: often a woman is in the greatest danger when she leaves her abuser. With the help of Artemis staff, Annie made a safety plan for herself and her children. Today, Annie is using skills she learned at Artemis to stay safe. She is making plans to leave the relationship safely when the time is right.
This is where you come in. It is through the community involvement, education, donors, and volunteers that Artemis is able to support its mission of leading the community in its commitment to end Domestic Violence. For over 27 years, Artemis has been serving the community and local victims of Domestic Violence. Over 6,000 victims receive services annually from Artemis as 1 in 4 women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime. “Most people underestimate the frequency and severity of domestic violence in our community. Imagine living with someone, sleeping beside someone, who has threatened your life! Victims have strength and resilience, and information can use those skills to live a life free of violence” stated Artemis Executive Director Patti Schwartztrauber. Artemis services are based on the following beliefs:
- Victim safety is our first priority
- No one deserves to be abused
- Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) is a social justice issue
- IPV in its predominant form is violence against women
- IPV is rooted in male entitlement and a historical devaluation of women
- When women and men are not afforded equal rights, intimate partner violence is perpetuated
- Battering is a learned behavior
- Battering is a choice
- Men are part of the solution
- Batterers exert power and control over their partners and feel entitled to do so
- Situational violence is a different phenomenon from intimate partner violence
- Services for victims should be empowerment based
- All victims are entitled to services
- There is a high correlation between Intimate Partner Violence and child abuse/neglect
- Abusing a child’s mother negatively impacts the child
- Providing therapy to children who witness Intimate Partner Violence and its effects helps break the cycle of abuse and can promote healing
- Domestic violence will continue until the community insists that it ends
Artemis provides many services, including a 24-hour hotline, utilized by Annie* in our client story above. This hotline is available for victims to speak to an advocate, create a safety plan, and receive general support from a trained advocate. Victims are also offered court accompaniment, support group opportunities, assistance with general needs, and multiple other services. Also, because Domestic Violence affects everyone in the home, child therapy is offered to those children suffering behavioral and emotional issues after witnessing DV.
How you can give back: As we enter this holiday season many children of Artemis’ clients are in need of gifts. We want every child to have happy holiday memories by supplying them with 2 items they need (clothing) and 2 items they want (toys). However, we do like to empower the mothers by allowing them to purchase the gifts for their children through donated gift cards. If you are interested in donating gift cards or sponsoring an individual family you may contact Sarah at 937.531.5709 or SarahT@ArtemisCenter.org
*Annie’s name has been changed for safety reasons.
(submitted by Artemis Center)