Every October, advocates against domestic violence all across the nation prepare themselves for the kickoff of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, which begins October 1. At Calvary Women’s Services, many of the women who have entered our doors have experienced this kind of abuse. In fact, homelessness and domestic violence often go hand-in-hand, because many women who escape abusive environments at home have nowhere to go. Current statistics indicate that almost 65% of women who are homeless have experienced domestic violence at some point during adulthood, and some studies have indicated domestic violence as the primary cause of homelessness.
Anne, a former Calvary resident, came to Calvary a few years ago for exactly that reason. She said, “I’m afraid of being homeless, but even more afraid to stay with him.” The years of abuse she endured took their toll on her mental health, and she became so traumatized that she lost her job. At Calvary, with the help of her case manager, licensed therapist, and peers, she began to heal. Today, Anne is living in her own apartment and holds a full-time job. This kind of stability is crucial to survivors of domestic violence.
Anne’s story is just one of many that we bear witness to at Calvary. The prevalence of this kind of abuse shapes our approach to women’s wellness, and we provide a safe, stable environment for women to begin to regain their emotional and financial independence and prepare for independent living.
If you’d like to learn more about how you can make a difference this month, the DC Coalition Against Domestic Violence put together a calendar of events that engage the community in domestic violence prevention. Let’s make this month count!