October 2019: Domestic Violence Awareness Month

(Image of Peoria city hall by Maricopa Association of Governments)

Grace Peserik and Kiana Garcia

October of 2019 has officially been named Domestic Violence Awareness Month in Arizona. Many city hall buildings across the state will glow purple to bring awareness to this ever-spreading epidemic.  “1 in 4 women & 1 in 7 men have experienced domestic violence in their lifetime therefore 804,048 women & 453,689 men in Arizona have experienced domestic violence in their lifetime,” according to the Arizona Coalition to End Sexual & Domestic Violence. When victims hit a point where they truly fear for their lives, they flee to domestic violence shelters. There are a few shelters that specialize in domestic violence around the valley, such as Chrysalis Shelter and New Leaf’s Faith House Women’s crisis center. As seen in the statistic, the likelihood of any Kellis cougar experiencing domestic violence in their life is immensely high, so it’s good to be aware of resources to assist in escape

People who go to these shelters don’t have the resources to stay at a hotel, but they are afraid for their lives. They fear that, “If they go stay with a friend or family member, the abuser will find them and harm or even kill them,” according to Michelle Ormiston, a media representative for Chrysalis shelter. At Chrysalis shelter, people can stay at their crisis location for up to 180 days before moving into their transitional housing.

Victims often arrive at shelters with nothing, aside from fear rattling their bones. Both Chrysalis and New leaf provide therapy, clothing, hygiene products, food, and a place to sleep. New Leaf specifically provides case assistance and management for victims as well, according to Dana Martinez, the director of New Leaf’s Faith House. These shelters gladly take donations, whether monetary or of new items such as clothing, twin sized sheets and blankets, socks and underwear, hygiene items, cleaning supplies, paper towels, toilet paper, pots, and pans. People can also volunteer at these locations. Volunteers sort and organize donations, set up activities for our children or adults, prepare and serve meals, help clean the facility, and many other activities. While volunteers are welcome at Chrysalis there is, “fingerprinting, background checks, references, an in-person interview, an orientation, and training” required in order to be brought on, as mentioned by Ms. Ormiston.

There are certain features of each shelter that differs the two from the rest in Arizona. Ms. Martinez said that New Leaf Faith House is the only emergency shelter that serves more than domestic violence in the west valley, serving women who have nowhere to live, have been sexually assaulted, or have escaped human trafficking. According to Ms. Ormiston, Chrysalis is different from other Arizona shelters in that their shelter is, “the only domestic violence agency currently in the State of Arizona who is Trauma Informed Care certified,” and was, “the first domestic violence agency in the nation to achieve that certification.” Victims of any and all genders can seek assistance from Chrysalis, unlike most shelters in Arizona, however teens can’t stay at either shelter without a legal guardian.

Many victims aren’t aware of just how many resources they have. In attempts to change that, Chrysalis, “works hard to get out into the community to educate people about domestic violence” by sharing resources at high schools and other various community locations, they even have social media pages and various billboards around the valley, according to Ms. Ormiston. Ms. Martinez says that New Leaf, “hosts booths in the community, networks in different areas, have their hotline numbers listed in various publications,” and shares information on their social media pages and on their agency website at https://www.turnanewleaf.org/.

People often get referred to these shelters, along with others, via the SAFEDVS hotline (480-890-3039 or 844-SAFEDVS), local police departments, hospitals, churches, and resource centers. If students are concerned for family or friends, consider reaching out through these resources.