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The world can be a difficult place.
That’s why it’s great that there are so many organizations out there fighting to help those who may not be able to help themselves.
With that in mind, I want to kick off this series of articles highlighting great charity organizations that I believe are doing great work.
My first profile?
I asked a representative from WomenSafe a few questions about the organization’s mission and activities, as well as advice for both women and men regarding domestic violence and how to prevent it.
The history of WomenSafe – open arms for those in need
Based in northeastern Ohio, WomenSafe, Inc. is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to providing valuable resources to women who are survivors of domestic violence or are currently experiencing it.
The founders recognized a need in their community to have a safe space for women who were facing domestic violence. At the time (and often even today), domestic violence “was taboo to talk about, but these advocates knew the devastation that abuse can cause to a family.”
How did they plan to help?
First, by providing a place for victims to go – this was often in the founders’ own homes, where women would be provided with “a spare bed, a couch, a few meals, and whatever hygiene items they could round up.”
Now, the organization has expanded – not only do they help women, but they are also giving care and assistance to men and children, as well. In the 38 years since their founding, WomenSafe has lent this vital help to thousands of people and helped them to “rebuild a healthy and safe life for themselves and their children.”
It’s a noble mission, to say the least, and I’m thankful that there are people out there kind enough to take this upon themselves.
But their representative points out that the fight is not nearly won – “the occurrence of domestic violence is still very prevalent in today’s society, and that is why WomenSafe will continue to advocate for survivors of domestic violence. Because everybody deserves a safe place to call home.”
How can men help this cause?
As a man, one of my first questions was “how can I help?”
Aside from donating to their cause (which you can do by clicking here), WomanSafe says that education about domestic violence is “essential in moving towards eradicating it.”
This could include a number of aspects, like:
- the diverse reasons somebody might stay in an abusive relationship,
- the boundaries victims face when leaving,
- trends in family life growing up vs. your adult relationships,
- resources that are available, etc.
According to WomenSafe, these “are all great points to touch on when educating both adults and children on domestic violence.”
They also pointed out that “one of the most critical ways men can help the cause is by setting a good example to young men and women and showing what a healthy relationship looks like.”
On the other hand, as far as men are concerned, WomenSafe is engaged in helping men who are victims of domestic violence, as well. While women remain the majority of victims, there has been a rise in the number of men who have contacted their organization for assistance.
This, they hope, is a sign that the current stigma of men being too embarrassed to seek help for domestic violence issues is declining.
What if you are in a situation and need help now?
I asked for some advice for victims, whether they are currently encountering domestic violence or just want to help prevent it in the future.
For those looking to take preventative measures, their first piece of advice for people is to “trust your gut.”
This means looking for any red flags in a relationship that could eventually lead to domestic violence, even if they seem innocuous now.
In order to have a healthy relationship, it is vital that these are recognized early on – anything that doesn’t feel “right” could be an issue that escalates later on.
If there is immediate danger or a current assault?
WomenSafe recommends that anyone in danger currently call 911 for immediate assistance.
Once they are safe, they can reach out to WomenSafe on their 24-hour COPEline at 1-888-285-5665, or contact their local domestic violence hotline.
I’d like to thank WomenSafe for taking the time to answer my questions, and I hope that continued exposure of the dangers and realities of domestic violence can help to minimize it in the future.
Until then, I’m glad that organizations like WomenSafe are out there to help victims and to educate the public about these very serious issues.