Thanks, for Women Shelters A story that will take a look into a woman's shelter in Savannah and will promote the signs of abuse in relationships.

A typical crisis hotline call usually begins with a caller who is trying to escape their abuser or one that has already escaped and is homeless. These victims are left with nothing.

No hope, no food, no clothes, and no love. That is, until they find themselves within a women's shelter that cares about the justice and happiness of their victims. Unfortunately, a women's shelter is usually the last resort for someone who is crying out for help. Domestic violence is the third leading cause of homelessness among families, according to "The Cost of Domestic Violence."

Take for instance "CC", the name that she prefers to protect her identity from her abuser, is a 32-year-old woman from Savannah who escaped her abuser because he was mentally and physically threatening her life. "He had threatened to kill the both of us in the car," she said. Her husband's physical abuse did not start until their first child had arrived.

It was hard for CC to escape, because she loved her husband. However it was another story once he began beating their children and once tried to sexually advance their daughter. She knew then that it was time to leave her husband and get help. It was not so simple. "We had to sleep in the car", said CC.It was hard for CC to escape, because she loved her husband. It was another story once he began beating their children and once tried to sexually advance their daughter. She knew then that it was time to leave her husband and get help. It was not so simple. "We had to sleep in the car," said CC. It was her, her 10-year-old son and 5-year-old- daughter packed into a gold 2005 Ford Taurus.

"My children and I are doing better with the help of counseling and I have proceeded with my divorce", said CC.

Not many victims are fortunate to come out alive from an abusive relationship. On the website of SAFE Shelter there are numbers that show that there are currently 813 victims of domestic violence in Savannah and 14 total homicides.

These numbers are important, because they allow for the community to become aware of the massive numbers of victims that are being mentally, physically and verbally abused. Although, the number of homicides in Savannah came in to be a little bit low it still does not measure the fact that domestic violence is still being withheld in households.

These numbers are important, because they allow for the community to become aware of the massive numbers of victims that are being mentally, physically/ verbally abused. Although, the number of homicides in Savannah came in to be a little bit low it still does not measure the fact that domestic violence is still being withheld in households.At the top left of SAFE website there is a 24 hour crisis line and as of recent there has been 1,800 crisis phone calls received. Unfortunately, not all of the callers go through with the help of the service that the shelter is willing to provide for multiple reasons. SAFE provides real life stories from people to help encourage other victims to escape threatening relationships immediately.Cheryl Branch, Director of SAFE Shelter Center for Domestic Violence says, " I came to this shelter willing to help victims, because I was in their shoes at one point in my life"

She has experienced meeting women of all ethnicity. Some with children and some without, but mainly those with children. She wanted to get involve with helping women shelters, because helping others escape domestic violence would help save lives and keep more mothers around to raise their children. Her main goal as a director is to make sure that she is providing enough services toward the victims and enough resources in the community.She remembers when a couple of her volunteers told her that they had been connected to the shelter, because of how sweet and professional the staff were. After connecting with the various of women living in the shelter the volunteers stays involved throughout the weekends, and some days out the week.

"We have an annual gala here and often volunteers or people in the community come out and have a good time".

Many women seek shelters to escape violent relationships from their ex-partners with intentions to leave the relationship permanently, and others willing to work on their relationship if their partners are willing to change. It is not rare that the abuser in the relationship may show changes for a couple of weeks and then revert back into their violent episodes of abuse. When entering the shelter most women have multiple needs and rely on staff to provide individualized services and support to them.

For those women who do not insist on going back to live with their ex-partner there can be difficulty in finding work, stability, and the ability to get back on their feet. However, with the help of donations, sponsors, and volunteers the amount of team work and effort allows for victims to have a way to become independent and prepared for life once they move out of the shelter.The shelter allows for women to stay for up to 90 days and provides 48 beds with donated items for women and children up to 18 of age.To run the shelter it takes close to $200,000 a year, but they only receive $15,000 in grants. Therefore, they are really big on accepting donations.

Some shelters involve case workers, counselors, and other support systems. SAFE specifically has two case workers, Daphiney Walker and Dorvan Rice. They both have been working at SAFE Shelter for over five years and enjoys their jobs very much.

"Working here has allowed me to connect with women on different levels", said Rice.

Rice has gained many relationships with the victims living in the shelter, from all ages and is shocked by the different stories that has been told to her. As a casework she knows that the stories that victims tell her are confidential and makes her want to stick around longer to make sure that those victims do not return back to their abusers.

Walker has been a case worker for 20 years and has been working with women shelters since 2008 . As a case worker she loves what she does. The children that she has encountered from working in these women shelters are magnificently brilliant."It is kind of sad seeing the younger children, because they do not understand what is going on or why they are living in a shelter surrounded by different women", said Walker.The caseworkers tend to not mention the children's fathers around them. They allow for the children to interact with each other by playing and doing homework together. Tutoring session are held in a room where there are desks and books, it looks like a miniature library.

"Sometimes volunteers from colleges and other schools come and access the children with their homework", she said. The volunteering can be found on the website as well as donation options.

There is a section on the website that is for blogs. Blogs for those women who are willing to tell their stories of being in abused relationships and their struggles on how difficult it was to escape those relationships. Providing a blog on the site with young adult women telling relatable stories will ensure for others to feel the courage to speak out and escape.

The last blog posted on the website from February 6, 2017 and is the most recent. According to the crisis line and the number of individuals still living in the shelter there are still many stories out there that are just waiting to be told.

Stories, like Monica Burgnister's, 20, Savannah Arts & Design student has a story that ensures how a college girl can become abused by a boyfriend who is controlling and just obsessed. There are relatable abusive relationships in colleges that are untold. Those who are in college tend to put it off from getting help, because they may feel that no one has the time to listen to them because of the overload amount of work that they have.

A woman age of 32 who goes by the name of "Pooch" in order to keep her identity unknown, says that the abuse in her relationship came from a place that she had never seen her lover go before. They were in love, she thought, and that a simple yell of aggression during an argument was completely normal.Of course, arguments in relationships are normal, but the yelling and the aggression in her lover's tone would happen too often. Pooch and her spouse had been married for nine years and the abuse started within the fourth year. It begin with just verbal abuse.

"He would call me out of my name at times, but I simply thought that it was normal", she said.

Eventually, their arguments had turned into disagreeing over some of the most minor things. Well, at least she thought they were minor. For example, if she accidently left the jelly out of the refrigerator he would blow up into a tantrum on how she was a child and did not know how to clean up after herself.To her, it was an accident. That particular morning she had made her lunch in the mist of rushing to work and simply forgot to put the jelly back in the fridge. It was not until months later after the verbal abuse turned into physical abuse.Pooch gained the courage to leave her spouse in January, she had thought of leaving numerous of times but did not actually put it into action.

"I would sneak and call domestic hotlines all the time; while he was sleep, in the yard, or watching tv. Any time I had a little distance from him I used it to the best of my ability".

Though, Pooch were calling these hotlines she did not physically go into their shelters. She felt that he would change, because they would still have good days. Those "good days" were easily turned into pouring rain if the littlest thing was to tick him off. When she had discovered SAFE Shelter she knew then that this was her time to move forward with no looking back.

She loved her husband, but she could not take the abuse any longer and had no way to reach out to family or friends. She did not want to reach out to them. While now she is on her third month of living in the shelter, she has felt as safe as she has ever been.

"I remember on my first day here I felt a little nervous, as if I was going to be judged", she said. That was an ironic thought considering the fact that it is a shelter for women that are trying to escape abuse. Pooch said, "There is no judging while living here. We all are one, one big power group of women".

As Pooch begin working on moving out of the home, she plans on dating again and maybe adopting. She wants to be able to speak out at local schools to inform young women on their self-worth and loving themselves. She talks to a lot of the volunteers at the shelter, those who are between 16 and 21 allowing them to listen to her story and hopefully take her situation into account before going through with any relationship.

In addition, it is so simple to think while hearing or reading the words "domestic violence" that it has to do with a female and a male in a relationship. However, in today's world it does not. There are same sex abuse just as it is with opposite sex. Unfortunately, it is a bit different seeing women in a shelter that have been abused by their girlfriends or even fiancés.

Take for instance "The Jacksons" is what they would call them throughout college. They had met in high school, but officially decided to date sophomore of college. It was no secret that they were two lesbians madly in love. They gave each other promise rings and got married in July of 2016.With them it is a bit different, because the abuse had always been in their relationship. It was more so of the spouse being controlling, but she thought that it was quite cute. She felt that maybe her fiancé's controlling behavior was out of jealousy. Jealousy to her meant that her spouse cared about her.

"It would be situations where she did not want me to post anything on Facebook without her seeing the picture first hand", she said. She did not see this type of action as a warning sign of being unhealthy, but more so as normal.

In relationships what some may view as "normal" in the eyes of others it can be viewed as abnormal. With jealousy there are different types. For example, a spouse being jealous over another person giving attention to his or her significant other, but does not stop that person from interacting with her peers. The other jealousy in this case is the spouse telling the significant other who is getting the attention to not interact or socialize with anyone while they are out together.

For the Jacksons, this played a significant role. At the age of 21, which they both are, everyone is usually trying to find themselves in this society, in some cases still want to fit in with the latest trend, all while trying to find a significant other. While telling this story, she explained how in their relationship she was the one who had lots of attention and was very social.Her fiancé, "Jazz" despised that with a passion. She wanted total control over everything. How she wore her hair, the type of clothes she wanted wear, who she could and could not talk to. "Once we decided to get married is when the physical abuse really started", she said.

In some cases when someone decides to get married to a partner who has qualities of a "controller" the person will feel like he or she has the power in the marriage, because of financial reasons or lack of independence.It was not until eight months into their marriage that she decided to call it quits and seek help from a women's shelter. She decided to look into SAFE Shelter, because she was recommended there from a coworker and decided to search the internet to learn more about it.

"I chose SAFE because I wanted to go somewhere where they did not know me, I could just open up and be myself. I can tell them that I was a homosexual being abused".

This shelter does not shy away from receiving donations. In fact, donations are highly accepted at the shelter. " SAFE Shelter's efforts are only possible because of the generous support we receive from individuals and organizations, who believe everyone deserves to live a life that is violence- free".To make it an even easier access to donate the website has provided a "DONATE" button that will take viewers directly to a secure PayPal location. There are specific items that the shelter has created a list of for those who want to personally purchase general items at local stores. Certain items, such as household linens, diapers, female hygiene products, used cell phones, laundry items, etc.

Those living in Savannah must understand that domestic violence is increasing daily. "Every year there are 2,500 reports of domestic violence in the Savannah area alone".According to The National Domestic Violence Hotline females ages 18 to 24 and 25 to 34 generally experienced the highest rates of intimate partner violence. Also most female victims of intimate partner violence were previously victimized by the same offender, including 77% of females ages 18 to 24, 76% of females ages 25 to 34, and 81% of females ages 35 to 49.

It seems as though many women have a difficult time at acknowledging that she is experiencing abuse. There are many warning signs that leads up to a partner showing abusive behavior. For example, the abuse can start by a simple control."Domestic violence and abuse stem from a desire to gain and maintain power and control over an intimate partner". (The National Domestic Violence HOTLINE)

It is quite difficult to completely understand why a partner uses domestic retaliations towards their partners. Statistics show that the abuser feels as though his or her feelings should be the main priority in the relationship. The abusive tactics are to distribute equality and make their partners feel less valuable and deserving of any authority throughout the relationship.

Women, such as Burgnister understands that it is not easy to up and leave an abusive relationship, because of the feeling of being trapped, confused, neglected, and angry. On top of that some women tend to stay in an abusive relationship for numerous of reasons, such as fear, low self-esteem, and love.

"leaving is often the most dangerous time for a victim of abuse, because abuse it is about power and control. When a victim leaves, they are taking control and threatening the abusive partner's power, which could cause the abusive partner to retaliate in very destructive ways".

While there are so many stories told about domestic violence and some which are survival stories and others not so survival. However, no matter how a victim's story may end their situations can be viewed as helpful in many ways.Hearing other people's stories can allow for one to feel a sense of relatability and that there is a way out of an abusive relationship. A popular trend that is being distributed on most domestic violence websites are different experiences being told from victims.This allows for viewers to be able to read and relate to the stories that survivors have endured in previous relationships. The fact that the women displayed on these websites have decided to share their experiences so freely, may motivate others to want to speak and save other women's lives.

Moreover, let's talk about the characteristics of a healthy relationship and maintaining that healthy relationship. It is so easy for a relationship to start off with kisses, cupcakes, smiles, flowers, and rainbows, but the realization that comes in after about three months is if your spouse can maintain consistency.In some cases it may be confusing, because a partner may show consistency passed three months, in fact their consistency could even last past a year. However, there are signs that lead up to an abuser showing that he or she is abusive. Certain signs can start with verbal abuse and control. Other signs may include disrespectful actions and forceful behavior.

Furthermore, the signs that show that a relationship is healthy is of course the opposite of the unhealthy signs. These signs of a healthy relationship consists of good communication, trust, patient, and understanding.

Officer Michelle Aikens who serves as a Police Officer in Savannah and works in the department of Public Safety has had her fair share of encountering domestic violence. Aikens usually encounter younger women who are involved in abusive relationship."On an average I would have to say between the ages of 18 and 23 I get a call about a boyfriend has hit me", said Aikens.

She can tell by the sound of the voices of the young women if they are abused on regular. Their voices sound shaken, hurt, and terrifying.

Aikens said "I want to do the best that I can by helping these girls, but they have to help themselves first". It is a bit frustrating when one tries to help someone escape domestic violence, because that victim can revert back to being with her abuser. It is as if the victim does not want to seek the necessary steps.

Many people may not realize that the month of October is not only dedicated to Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but it is also dedicated to Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The next time that anyone decides to wear a pink ribbon, it would not hurt to wear a purple one too. Spread the cause and the knowledge of women shelters that are willing to help those escape the violence.

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