Supporting survivors of domestic violence
Domestic violence navigator at the Family Justice Center of St. Joseph County
National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Domestic violence often encompassess more than physical violence alone. As an advocate, I seek to educate my clients on what domestic violence is and what dynamics may look like within a relationship. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence is a fantastic resource for survivors of abuse as well as community members looking to educate themselves on the patterns and escalation of violence.
Family Justice Center of St. Joseph County
For those interested in connecting with or supporting a local agency, my colleagues and I at the Family Justice Center of St. Joseph County serve victims of domestic and family violence, sexual assault and stalking. Our nonprofit agency collaborates with other nonprofit and government community partners to help victims confidentially seek information, safety plans and access to resources so they can escape the cycle of violence and move toward healing.
S-O-S Crisis Hotline
The 24/7 S-O-S Crisis Hotline is a great resource for survivors of violence and sexual assault—and their loved ones. Whether you are in need of emotional support, or help connecting with resources or navigating next steps, you can ask to speak with an advocate. Individuals in St. Joseph County can also request confidential hospital accompaniment from an S-O-S advocate for incidents related to domestic violence and sexual assault. Advocates can provide emotional support, information and advocacy for survivors in the hospital setting. To reach the hotline, call 574-289-4357.
YWCA of North Central Indiana
Another local resource is the YWCA of North Central Indiana, a community provider of emergency shelter in St. Joseph and Elkhart counties for women and children fleeing violence. YWCA locations provide economic empowerment programs along with residential and nonresidential services for women who are victims of violence or who are struggling with chemical dependency.
No Visible Bruises
No Visible Bruises, written by Rachel Louise Snyder, debunks myths of domestic violence through stories of victims, perpetrators and law enforcement personnel. The more we deepen our awareness of the narratives around us, the closer we come to changing them into something more supportive.
The Body Keeps the Score
Another book I recommend is The Body Keeps the Score, by Bessel Van der Kolk. This book discusses the effects of trauma on the brain and body. For those not familiar with how trauma changes the mind, body and brain, I believe this book can provide you with tools to better interact with and serve people in the community who are living with the impact of trauma.
The Clothesline Project
Some survivors of violence find healing through creating displays of art. The Clothesline Project is a visual display of violence statistics that often go ignored. The purpose of the project is to increase awareness of the impact of violence and abuse, to honor survivors’ strength to continue and to provide another avenue for them to courageously break the silence that often surrounds their experiences.