Safe House

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Safe house What is a safe house? A safe house or battered women's shelter, is much more then four walls and a roof. It is a refuge for victims of domestic violence. The location of a safe house is kept confidential; in order to protect victims from their abusers. A safe house offers many services: counseling, education, legal help, job services, and shelter. It enables the victim to regain her life and self-respect. [Safe houses provide a haven for emotional and physical abuse victims.] Why should citizens help a safe house? Domestic violence affects everyone in the community. Employers may be hurt because victims may be non-productive and have high absenteeism rates. It also puts a strain on taxpayers due to frequent police calls, medical expenses, and court costs.

Who are the victims of domestic violence? Victims are mothers, daughters, sisters, employees, students, and neighbors. They are from all social and economic backgrounds.

A woman is beaten every fifteen seconds in this country. Sixty women will be beaten in the United States while a student sits in this English class.

Marie's story is typical of most victims. She was married to a man she loved unconditionally. Eddie, her husband, always wanted to know where she was and whom she was with. He did not allow her to go out with her friends or family. Initially Marie thought he was just being sweet, until he started to belittle her every chance he got. Marie constantly heard how stupid, lazy, and ugly she was. After a few years, she began to feel that way about herself.

The physical abuse started out slowly. With a shove here and a slap there, the abuse worsened. Marie became very adept at applying makeup to cover the bruises.

Everything exploded one night when Eddie was drinking. He was angry and had been beating her all day. That night he put a gun to her head and told her she was going to die. Eddie fired a shot into a wall to prove he was not kidding. Marie ran next door.

The neighbors called the police, and they arrested Eddie. The police took Marie to the safe house, where with counseling and help she was able to change the way she thought about herself and her life.

Victims of domestic violence usually lose everything they own, except their lives. But by leaving an abusive relationship, they gain freedom, self-respect, and their lives back. A safe house makes all that possible.

Society can assist victims, there is a lot people can do. Financial contributions are always needed. Volunteering makes a big difference. Donations of clothing help with transportation to court and other appointments, make up, or hair care. Are just a few of the ways citizens can help? Anything no matter how small, helps. Most of the victims in safe houses have only the clothes on their backs. By helping others everyone will feel better about themselves. Helping these victims also helps the community as a whole. The victims can be anyone. If a woman is in violent situation help is out there, and life can be so much better. Safe houses are important aspects of all communities.

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