Making a Small Difference in the Lives of Survivors of Domestic Violence
by Sam Bryan, Bethany Kraft, Claire Lauder, & Tina Miller
According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline and DVRC websites, abuse is a repetitive pattern of behaviors to maintain power and control over an intimate partner. Abusive behavior can come in many forms. It can be the use of physical and sexual violence, threats and intimidation, or emotional abuse and economic deprivation. Abuse physically harms, arouses fear, prevents a partner from doing what they wish or forces them to behave in ways they do not want. “On average, 24 people per minute are victims of rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner in the United States — more than 12 million women and men over the course of a year. 1 in 4 women (24.3%) and 1 in 7 men (13.8%) aged 18 and older in the United States have been the victim of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime. 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” (National DV Hotline).
Domestic violence doesn’t just affect the partner; the children in families experiencing domestic violence feel the pressure and pain as well. It affects the way they grow up too, making them more likely to show antisocial, aggressive, and depressive emotions as well as hindering their ability to form relationships with others. So it is no wonder that “children exposed to domestic violence are more likely to experience difficulties in school and score lower on assessments of verbal, motor, and cognitive skills” (Child Welfare Information Gateway). Domestic violence breeds a poor physical and mental environment for all, but children can’t help the family they have. Moreover, children who witness domestic violence are more likely to engage in it in some form in their adult life. Centers across the globe are doing the best to help people break that cycle.
For our PIC Team Project, Supporting Families Supporting Kids, we worked with Domestic Violence Resource Center. DVRC was established in 1975 in Beaverton as Women Together, a community-based social group that has grown into a safe haven for both men and women with their families wanting to escape the cycle of domestic violence. Domestic Violence Resource Center remains Washington County’s sole provider of services specifically for victims and survivors of domestic violence. Monika’s house, a shelter that works in conjuncture with DVRC, was donated in 1979 and was renamed in 2000 in honor of Monika Viots, a local woman who was murdered by her husband.
The rooms at Monika’s House get a tremendous amount of use. With so many families who come and go through each room, it’s no surprise that those rooms quickly start looking ragged around the edges. We were assigned room number 4, which desperately needed help. The room was uninviting and in disarray with outdated furniture and drab colors. It was lacking basic features like baseboards, pillows, and curtains.
The week prior to refurbishing the room, we set up a fundraiser through YouCaring.com and shared it with family, friends and coworkers. We raised $460. In addition, people kindly donated artwork, a changing table, and other children’s accessories. The day before we went to the shelter, we took a group trip to IKEA and Target to buy furniture, bedding and decorations. We spent 13 hours working on the room, cleaning, painting, building furniture, and organizing. Ultimately, we transformed the room from drab and lifeless to warm, homey and inviting.
We would like to thank all of those who made this project possible. We couldn’t have done it without your generous donations and support. We are grateful for this opportunity to make such a difference in the lives of others.
Want to make a difference? Ways to contribute include:
Spread the word – make sure people know they are not alone!
DVRC has a 24 hour crisis line for those in need:
503-469-8620 | (Toll Free) 1-866-469-8600
Monika’s House Donation Wish List
Volunteer with DVRC’s Kids’ Club
Do what we did – have your work or group of friends sponsor a room at Monika’s House!
Shop at AmazonSmile – Amazon will donate a portion of what you spend to DVRC
And the easiest way to make a difference:
Link your Fred Meyer Reward card with DVRC! (non-profit number 94204)