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Family Haven helping women change their lives
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Forsyth County News

Did you know that 1 in 4 women are victims of domestic violence every year? Did you know that 40 to 60 percent of men who abuse women also abuse their children?

Every nine seconds a woman is battered in the United States, according to many researchers.

These sobering statistics cross all racial and socioeconomic lines. As with child abuse, domestic violence against women happens everywhere and probably to someone you know.

Also like child abuse, it is not “somebody else’s” problem. This affects all of us, and we should be concerned.

I used to think this was a problem that happened only to women who had no education or were living in poverty. That’s not true. As with so many things, we need to become better educated on this issue.

I’ve known a few women who suffered from such abuse, but their explanations made it sound like their injuries were the result of an “accident.” Their husband hadn’t meant to hit or shove them; it was just because he had a bad day or maybe one beer too many.

I was a young mom when an acquaintance told me about an incident. I felt so at a loss. Of course, I was horrified, but also worried for what else happened “behind closed doors,” as well as in front of her young toddler.

I spoke to our pastors’ wife, who I knew had experience working with women who were victims of domestic violence. She told me about Family Haven, which serves Forsyth County and north Georgia.

I did some research and found my friend fit every single criteria for a battered woman. She was in complete denial and tried to make her situation sound normal. She even acted as if she had provoked her husband and sort of deserved what had happened.

The fact that she told me about it alerted me that, deep down, she wanted help. I gave her Family Haven’s contact information, but don’t know if she ever called or sought assistance.

I do know that after a few more incidents, she left her husband and moved out of state. So my prayer has always been that she got help and got out. I never heard from her again, but have thought often of her over the years.

Over the last decade or so, I’ve written about Family Haven many times and even met a few women who went through the program and successfully changed their lives, as well as those of their children.

These were “regular” women who, like my friend, suddenly found themselves in what seemed an impossible situation to escape.

Family Haven offers counseling, a safe haven for the women and their children, career counseling and much more.

Perhaps the most important thing this amazing organization offers women is hope. It seeks to empower them to get out of abusive situations and create a full life of promise and potential.

So are you wondering what you can do to help support this organization? Of course, you can provide support, either through a monetary gift or by donating goods/making purchases at its thrift store on Veterans Memorial Boulevard in Cumming.

You can also volunteer at the store or shelter. In addition, I hope you will join me at the organization’s upcoming fundraiser, Back to Woodstock, set for April 25 at the Reid Barn.

We attended last year and had an absolute blast. The food (courtesy of Tams Backstage) was fantastic and so was the silent auction.

This year there will be live music by Last Five Standing. The event is affordable, at $25 a ticket, and you can have the added feeling that you are doing something to help these women in our community and beyond.

If unable to attend, I hope you’ll take some time to find out more about this nonprofit and help if you can.

 

Adlen Robinson is author of “Home Matters: The Guide to Organizing Your Life and Home.” E-mail her at contact@adlenrobinson.com.