As Abuse Increases, We Need You!

Home: a place to gather with those you love around a table and share a meal. A place to sit in the living room floor and play card games while sharing a bowl of popcorn. A place to lay your head down at night and rest, immune from the concerns of the world.

But what if home isn’t like this for you? What if, instead, home is a place where you fear for your life? What if it is a place where your self-esteem is torn down daily with phrases like, “You aren’t worthy,” or “you’re stupid,” or “you’re ugly. I am the only one who wants to be with you.” What if home is a place where every penny you make is taken from you, where documents indicating your identity are destroyed, where your communication from anyone other than the person you live with are stripped away?

During this COVID-19 outbreak, we ask you to remember those who have a different definition of home but are being forced to stay there anyway.

According to Time Magazine, one hotline call a domestic violence shelter received included a survivor of violence who was concerned that COVID-19 was just another excuse her abuser used to control her: “My husband won’t let me leave the house,” a victim of domestic violence, tells a representative for the National Domestic Violence Hotline over the phone. “He’s had flu-like symptoms and blames keeping me here on not wanting to infect others or bringing something like COVID-19 home. But I feel like it’s just an attempt to isolate me.”

During this time, the National Domestic Violence Hotline reports that a growing number of callers say that their abusers are using COVID-19 as a means of further isolating them from their friends and family.

As domestic violence hotlines increase, so does the need for safety planning, safe shelter, counseling services, legal advocacy, and more. These are all services we at the Northwest Arkansas Women’s Shelter are continuing to provide. We need your help and support to continue providing these services, we need you now more than ever. Please consider donating to us as we help survivors regain health and wholeness.

Did you know that 20 people every minute are abused in the U.S.? Would you consider giving $20 this Tuesday in honor of Giving Tuesday? Below are 5 ideas on things to cut out over the next week or the beginning of next month that will give you the spare cash to donate $20 and make an impact on families facing abuse in NWA. On December 3, we are trying to raise $5,000, which would provide a family of four with shelter and legal aid for ONE MONTH! Be a part of the change in our community.

  • Cut back on your coffee intake.

If you are like me, you drive through Starbucks, Scooters, Onyx, Bolder or another local coffee shop at least once or twice a week. The average drink is $5. Just cut out four drinks over the next couple of weeks, and you will have that $20 to donate in honor of domestic violence survivors.

  • Cancel some subscriptions

Netflix, Hulu, Spotify, and now Disney Plus; subscriptions can really eat up your savings. But by foregoing even just one of these for one month could help you save enough to give back on December 3. You can use the time you would have spent binging to take care of yourself, hang out with a friend, bake some holiday goodies, the options are endless!

  • Thrift

Clothes and Christmas gifts are expensive, and cash can be tight around the holidays. However, by thrifting (especially at our very own thrift store!) you can save big, find unique gifts, and spruce up your wardrobe.

  • Meal plan

I will be the first to admit I eat out WAY too much. But, when I take the time and energy to plan out meals and dedicate one afternoon to meal prepping for the whole week, it saves me lots of time, energy, and money.

  • Have a date night or movie night at home!

Lastly, a night out on the town with friends, a movie night out with the kids, or a date night adds up pretty fast. Between drinks, food, a movie, and snacks, you could easily have a fun night in and have $20 to spare!

Hopefully this gives you some good ways to honor a victim of DV with a donation of $20. Help us reach our $5,000 goal on December 3!

In my short time working at the Northwest Arkansas Women’s Shelter so far, I have had the honor of listening to survivors of domestic violence share their stories. For example, the survivor who remembers not being able to enjoy eating out with her friend at her favorite Thai restaurant because her abuser would call and text constantly asking where she was … sometimes even showing up unannounced to find her. Or, the survivor who was married to a doctor and didn’t feel like anyone would believe her if she reported the domestic and sexual abuse he inflicted. Also, the survivor who fled her home in Chicago and went to Oklahoma to escape her abuser and who told me that her eyes welled up with tears when a donor gave the shelter Snickers bar. That gesture made her feel loved. These stories are humbling, but they also reminded me of the importance to get involved in helping people escape abuse and restart their lives. However, people are sometimes afraid to give because they are afraid what they have to offer isn’t enough.

I think we all have this idea in our heads that only big gifts, lots of money, or all of our time make a true impact on underserved communities. So, we either get overwhelmed by all there is to do, by the statistics that don’t decrease, by the fact that we aren’t in a place to give “big” items or amounts to our favorite organizations, so we do nothing out of fear. Or, we pour all our extra time, energy, and savings into our passion projects and get burnt out quickly, then can’t give anything for an extended period of time because we haven’t taken care of our own needs. Neither is a good option. A wise woman once told me to find what was at the intersection of what broke my heart and what makes you feel whole and that is what you need to get involved in. That way, I wouldn’t be incredibly overwhelmed and feel like I had to single handedly save the world. But, she also reminded me to make sure it wasn’t at the expense of my own well-being.  

What I have learned in my time here so far—among many things—is whatever you can give helps. If our mission is truly at the intersection of heartbreak and holiness for you, there is no such thing as a small contribution. Whatever you can give, be it Snickers bars or thousands of dollars, can impact a survivor’s life. No one wants to feel as if they are only known for one part of their identity, no one wants to feel like they are just a victim. When you give your time, money, energy, kind words through cards, coats, clothes, pumpkin carving kits, or candy bars, you are letting men, women, and children who you have never met and may never meet know that they are seen by our community; they are surrounded in support as they escape abuse, and they are so much more than a victim; they are a person who deserves to have basic needs met.

That’s why we do what we do, and we invite you to join us as we make all of our clients feel seen and cared for by the community.