Domestic Violence Awareness Month: Women's shelter fills a chronic need

October is Domestic Violence Awareness month and we at Helping Hands Against Violence (HHAV) wanted to take this opportunity to thank you, dear community, for all the support you’ve given us throughout the year.

From donations of food, clothing, household items, time and money, the survivors that we support are given hope and encouragement. Because they feel like they matter, they are better able to move on with a new life.

HHAV is a 30-day shelter that provides many services to survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. At any given time, we are home to six women and their children who are fleeing violent situations. The stories of these women vary, but some things are consistent: They arrive scared, they are greatly relieved to be here and when they transition out of the shelter, they are excited and empowered to be moving on with a new life.

What we know to be true:

“In 2016, Oregon domestic and sexual violence programs answered 139,580 calls for help, a 3.1 percent increase from 2015. This included calls about domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking” (2016 Oregon DVSA Services Summary). Locally at HHAV, that translates into 396 crisis counseling sessions and 1653 follow up meetings.

In 2016, “Programs (in Oregon) also provided shelter for an additional 2,370 adults, 256 teens, and 1,670 children” (2016 Oregon DVSA Services Summary). Last year, HHAV facilitated 3,027 nights of stay for women and children.

Domestic violence is a pattern of coercive and/or violent tactics perpetrated by one person against a family member or intimate partner, with the goal of establishing and maintaining power and control over that person.

Domestic violence can happen in all kinds of intimate relationships, including married couples, people who are dating, couples who live together, people with children in common, same-sex or gender-nonconforming partners, people who were formerly in a relationship with the person abusing them, and teen dating relationships.

The need for emergency shelter beds is far greater than the space available.

Societal and cultural forms of oppression magnify risk factors for sexual violence, resulting in markedly higher victimization rates within historically marginalized communities.

More information can be found at The Oregon Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence website at www.ocadsv.org or by contacting us through our website at www.helpinghandsoregon.org. If you have any questions or would like to make a donation, please call us at 541-386-4808.

— Written on behalf of the Helping Hands Against Violence Team.

Joanna Toleno Bakken is Volunteer Coordinator and Shelter Advocate for Helping Hands Against Violence.



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