1 in 3 women have experienced some form of domestic violence. The Northwest Arkansas Women’s Shelter provides emergency shelter, transportation, food and snacks, clothing and important advocacy services that assist more than 400 adults and children who are escaping abuse and violence. The team and volunteers at the Women’s Shelter respond to over 1,100 calls through their emergency hotline for victims of domestic and sexual abuse that are searching for a way out. They support people like Claire in finding safety and stability as they begin to rebuild their lives free of abuse which is why they are “Inspiring Us This Week”.
“‘Claire*’ needed a safe place for herself and her children as they were threatened with violence in their home. She had finally decided it was time to leave her abusive husband and divorce him. She was trying to get into an apartment, but her husband found out. As Claire and her children did not have a safe place to go, they came to the Northwest Arkansas Women’s Shelter. After a week, Claire left for a new home absent her abuser. Eight months later, she called again needing a safe place to go. At this point her children were in her mom’s custody as Claire had been unable to provide a stable home for her children or to maintain a stable address to keep them in school. Claire had returned to her husband who had become increasingly abusive and unpredictable as he was also addicted to drugs and alcohol. Every time she tried to get away from him, he would find her. She did not feel safe. When Claire called us, she acknowledged she loved him but no longer felt she could continue to sacrifice her life and the life of her children for a man who would not seek help for himself. Claire entered the Shelter at the end of October. She had no vehicle, no job, no education. She desperately wanted to regain custody of her two children. Her family was broken, and she did not know what to do. Over the next several months, the Shelter advocate supporting Claire encouraged her to establish her own goals and make a series of small steps to meet them. She began working two jobs. She saved money and bought a car from a friend. NWAWS staff connected Claire with a local transitional housing agency. Claire moved into an apartment she could afford. Because of all of this, Claire worked closely with the courts and finally regained custody of her children.
For the first time in her life, Claire created a budget and was able to support herself and her children on her own, without having to rely on someone who abused her. As she was leaving the Shelter, she wrote, “I know its alot [sic] I’m sorry anything will help. I just want to say thank you all so very much for all you’ve done. I wouldn’t have made it this far without you all helping & supporting me when I truly felt like giving up. I didn’t because you guys wouldn’t give up on me. I truly luv [sic] the relationship I’ve built with you all and as happy as I am to be leaving, a piece of me is nervous, scared, & sad. But I’ll keep in touch. Please do NOT forget me.”
Like Claire and her family, the majority of our clients need more than just a safe place to stay when they come to the Shelter. They also need access to resources and to know someone cares about and believes in them. With United Way’s financial support, the Northwest Arkansas Women’s Shelter provides more than emergency safe shelter. It provides advocates who help connect survivors with necessary resources to establish their lives separate and independent from their abusers. Each person who calls seeking help to end the cycle of abuse has the potential to succeed. With your help, the Northwest Arkansas Women’s Shelter can continue bridging emergency needs for safe shelter with empowering families to move beyond a life of violence and instability toward a path of safety, stability, and peace.”
*indicates individual names have been changed as a measure of privacy protection.
If you’re interested in helping this program, so that you can assist individuals as they work to move forward on the path to success, check out what your gift can do:
$5 a week ($260 a year) will provide:
supplies for art projects for 50 children to help them process the abuse and violence they have experienced or witnessed and to learn how to form healthy family and peer relationships.
$10 a week ($520 a year) will provide:
17 survivors of domestic violence with gasoline cards to get to and from jobs or school as they work toward raising themselves and their families out of poverty.
$20 a week ($1,040 a year) will provide:
20 families with vouchers to the NWA Women’s Shelter Thrift Store to purchase clothing for school and work and household items to move into a residence independent from their abusers.