Someone recently shared with me a story regarding the closing of a number of domestic violence shelters in California due to budget cuts. And I was not a bit surprised to learn that services are being scaled back at various other facilities as well. I have attached the link here for easy access to that story:
Now while I do understand that cuts needed to be made in order to balance the budget, I cannot imagine the justification for cutting programs that are there to provide protection for women and children in crisis. For anyone who knows about domestic abuse, to force women and children to stay in homes where they are constantly in danger of being harmed and ultimately killed cannot be acceptable to anyone in this day and age. Many of these women are impoverished and as such, do not have the means to just leave and start a new life. And most are threatened with the promise that they will be hunted down and killed if they leave or that they will be found and brought back home and then they will really be punished by their abuser.
Even before these current closings, I had been contacted by women who wanted to leave but didn’t know what to do and they asked if I had any ideas or suggestions to help them. When I referred them to the National Abuse Hotline for help, I found that they had already reached out to that resource and help was not available. In small towns, there were no facilities and in big cities, the facilities were full and there was a very long waiting list. When I suggested that they contact the police for help when they are or had been beaten, they unanimously replied that the police did not want to get involved. For those who had gone the legal route, when their abusers were released from jail, their lives became a whole new nightmare.
The other really sad part of these stories is the children who live in abusive situations. Many mothers do everything possible to protect their children but are no match against their abusers. And while most abusers are men, there are also women who are abusers as well to the men in their lives and/or their own children.
I believe that it is time for all of us to act to find ways of financing the domestic abuse centers that battered women and children so desperately need. We need to protect the civil rights of the abused just as we would protect any other citizen who had been physically attacked by someone else. We need to be able to successfully remove and protect the women and children who do not wish to remain in the abusive situations in which they find themselves. There is nothing in this world of more value than a life and the time has come to demand the resources to protect and defend the lives of the abused men, women and children in this country.
I would love your comments.
Barbara Jacoby is an award winning blogger that has contributed her writings to multiple online publications that have touched readers worldwide.