EXCERPT FROM FEBRUARY 2011 POST
It’s one of those fraught topics that folks don’t even like to think about, much less discuss over tea — unless it has happened to you, or someone you love.
Domestic violence and sexual assault. It is ugly and, unfortunately, happens all the time.
That’s why it’s important to know what’s out there, what help is available NOW, before there’s a need. After all, domestic violence affects 32 million Americans, a whopping ten percent of the population, says the Centers for Disease Control. One in six U.S. women have or will have been sexually assaulted at some point in their lives.
Domestic violence isn’t limited to any group, place, income level, race or religion
And so Oakland County has HAVEN, has had for 36 years, with a little help from friends. It wants to eliminate domestic violence and sexual assault using a wide range of treatment and prevention services. The place offers a ton of expert solutions and creative solutions. I’m just so impressed, have been for a long time.
That’s why HAVEN is Hiller’s latest partner in its Good Deeds in the Making Program. Helping people who help others is key to community improvement, and we at Hiller’s look for organizations that are dedicated to their mission. HAVEN is an utterly perfect match.
Its offerings are spectacularly comprehensive, I’ve learned. HAVEN’s education efforts include a variety of school programs designed to raise awareness and provide info on seeking help for date or domestic violence and sexual assault. Its crisis and support line — 1-877-922-1274 — is there 24-7. Trained staffers fielded nearly 6,000 calls last year alone. What’s more, HAVEN’s Residential Program offers the county’s only 24-hour emergency shelter exclusive to victims and their children.
The organization’s Social Action Program provides victims legal help, and its therapeutic assault response team provides victims a forensic exam and emotional support. The Personal Protection Order Program assists stalking and domestic violence victims with the PPO process. There is also counseling available for loved ones and survivors, and HAVEN’s Intervention in Battering Program focuses on changing behavioral choices.
No wonder HAVEN services about 25,000 people annually.
And for free. Talk to clients such as Mrs. D (names withheld) who went from an inability to utter “divorce” to leaving her abuser, getting a job, buying a house and starting a business, all under HAVEN’s aegis. Or the car-less physically and sexually assaulted client, who, after a crisis-line call, was transported to shelter by HAVEN, potentially saving her life.
But of course HAVEN has bills. Lots of them. And it is in constant need of help. In fact, 40 percent of HAVEN’s support comes from the community, said Tracy Thomas, the organization’s director of development.
“We always need more funding,” she said. “So we’re absolutely thrilled for this, the local connection to Hiller’s and the opportunity to get the word out.”
You know in this economy, it’s not easy for HAVEN to help those in need. “It makes it harder to help people in abusive relationships to find affordable housing and jobs so that they can support themselves,” Thomas said.
For more info on HAVEN, go to www.haven-oakland.org. In the interim, pick up some lovely lasagna, why don’t you, and indulge some Beatles:
“What would you think if I sang out of tune,
Would you stand up and walk out on me.
Lend me your ears and I’ll sing you a song,
And I’ll try not to sing out of key.
I get by with a little help from my friends.
Going to try with a little help from my friends.
Yes, I get by with a little help from my friends,
With a little help from my friends.”