In a time where discrimination seems to be everywhere, there is a space where there is no discrimination. It is in the homes of one in four women and one in seven men in the United States that experience Intimate Partner or Domestic Violence.
Domestic Violence (DV) is a shameful secret that so many carry alone. However, there is hope and for WIN Clients, hope means living and thriving a violence-free life. Following, are three short stories of hope, support, and survival. These stories are great examples of how DV does not discriminate against any race, ethnicity, age, social status, gender, class, religion, political affiliation, or sexual orientation.
Story #1: Meet Melissa, a 43-year-old woman who witnessed intimate partner violence between her parents growing up. Although she swore, she would never be in that kind of relationship, in her early twenties she realized she was living in a relationship which was very similar to what she saw growing up. She declares escaping that relationship was the most difficult thing she had ever done. “WIN gave me the tools as well as the encouragement to begin rebuilding my life.”
Story #2: Joelle, married to a prominent businessperson, found herself heavily leaning on Women In Need six years ago when she needed a protective order from her husband. She also sought assistance with her mortgage, so she did not lose her home because of her husband's refusal to allow access to their shared resources. Today, Joelle has refocused her career to support women with gaining financial confidence while continuing to support WIN and its goals.
Story #3: An elderly couple walked into our office, visibly upset. They shared their story of how they gained custody of their grandchildren due to the mental health struggles of their daughter. We never thought that doing the right thing, providing a safe home and better life for our grandchildren would put all our lives at risk. We had heard of Women In Need but never dreamed of needing any of our services. “Our WIN Advocate was such a great support throughout the very difficult decision to obtain a protective order against our own daughter.”
There are so many more stories with similar circumstances. According to the Texas Council on Family Violence Intimate Partner Fatality Report, 228 Texans were murdered by an intimate partner in 2020. Forty-five percent of the women murdered in 2020 due to a domestic violence incident, made attempts to seek help or end the relationship. These victims resided across sixty-eight counties in Texas.
Women In Need is a multi-faceted resource center and emergency shelter where domestic violence victims receive support to meet them where they are. On average, it can take up to seven times for a victim to reach out before they leave for good the abuser for good, if they live that long. Empowering domestic violence victims to transform into an independent and strong survivor who thrives in a violence-free life. WIN develops and nurtures an on-going supportive relationship that can span years, until the client gains the ability to sustain independence and freedom from violence on their own.
It is more important than ever to raise awareness and provide education in our communities about domestic violence. An ounce of preventions is worth a pound of cure, and Women In Need takes that seriously. In 2021, WIN delivered prevention education to over 4,000 students in grades sixth through twelfth. If we educate our youth on what healthy relationships are and what they are not, it can significantly reduce the number of intimate partner or domestic violence incidents for an entire generation and in the future.
Will you please partner with us so, together, we can grow a safer tomorrow for our communities.