A Word with Paige: November 2022
Domestic Abuse and the Holidays: What you need to know
Years ago, a woman came to Faces of Hope two days before Christmas. She had a black eye, swollen jaw, and many bruises covering her arms.
She had come to Faces for support but made it clear that she was not ready to leave her abuser. She said through tears and gritted teeth, “I am not going to let him ruin Christmas for our kids. I still have some control over when I take his beatings.” My heart ached for this mother as she walked out of the Center that snowy afternoon. I did everything I could to help her feel safe, believed, and empowered, and I hoped she would one day have the courage to come back for more help. I don’t know what happened to this woman, but I do know that even holidays don’t stop abuse from happening. We know domestic abuse happens 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Many organizations see spikes during the holidays, but the data is inconclusive. We do know that victims and survivors of interpersonal violence may experience additional stress and unique challenges during the holidays. Many turn to domestic violence organizations, Like Faces of Hope, for needed support, such as safety planning for the holidays, emotional support, and food.
I get asked every day, “how can I help?” There are so many things you can do this holiday season. Donate new clothes (with tags) to our Hope’s Closet. Make some tied fleece blankets and drop them by our Center. Go shopping for Bed-In-A-Bag and bring them to Faces so we can share them with our fantastic partners at St. Luke’s CARES. Provide security by purchasing a door-bell camera for our clients stalked and harassed by ex-partners, or make a financial donation to us online or become a monthly giver. Finally, if someone confides in you about abuse, the best thing you can do for them is BELIEVE them. Let them know that you are there for them. Let them know about Faces of Hope if they haven’t heard of us, and allow them to make decisions.