ATASCOSA COUNTY – – Packed shelters, hotlines ringing off the hook, and pleas for assist. It’s the fact for a household violence shelter in Atascosa County.
In a small rural city with much less area and fewer sources, the pandemic has created a brand new set of challenges.
Nonetheless, a devoted crew of advocates is making it work.
“I had been married occurring three years and I used to be very reluctant to confess I used to be in an abusive relationship. It had not turned bodily till this final scenario, the place I got here right here. Two of these situations I used to be lower with a knife on my neck and a type of situations whereas I used to be pregnant,” mentioned a survivor who shouldn’t be being recognized for her security.
This survivor did all the things proper by understanding her worsening circumstances and forming a security plan earlier than leaving.
“Leaving positively is probably the most harmful a part of it. I known as my case supervisor and I mentioned, ‘Hey you bought to get me out of right here.’ I needed to come someplace I knew he wouldn’t discover me,” she mentioned.
She ended up within the Safer Path Household Violence Shelter in Atascosa County.
KSAT bought to go to final yr when the shelter opened, although the group has been offering disaster providers for 28 years.
They provide the identical providers as bigger shelters, however at a scaled degree.
“Security planning, divorce, protecting orders, no matter it’s that they wanted. They’re going to be there to carry your hand in courtroom by the entire authorized course of, should you want assist modifying your baby custody agreements, or if you wish to get counseling,” mentioned Govt Director Rhonda Williamson.
Williamson mentioned the pandemic created monumental obstacles for the small group.
“With COVID restrictions, meaning we will home eight households or eight people. However we do have 22 beds in these eight bedrooms,” she mentioned.
Each single room is full and there’s a waitlist to remain there.
When COVID-19 hit, the shelter was busy at a standard, sustainable degree. Then, keep residence orders saved victims at residence with their abusers.
“What’s actually scary for our employees is that the hotline give up ringing,” Williamson mentioned.
Then, like shelters throughout the nation, the orders lifted and folks flooded the hotlines and shelters.
Williamson mentioned she constantly companions with different small rural shelters in Seguin, Boerne, even Corpus Christi, primarily as a result of it’s usually unsafe for survivors in small cities to shelter in their very own group.
“It’s a complete completely different animal,” she mentioned. “We’ve had purchasers which have mentioned, ‘I’d have requested for assist earlier if I’d have recognized this was going to be confidential.’ As a result of your neighbor and your greatest buddy and your sister, all the things is 2 or three levels separation in a group of this measurement however we work actually exhausting at sustaining good skilled boundaries, respecting consumer confidentiality and know you might be secure to come back and inform your story to us and we’re going to work with you and be sure that techniques work the best way they’re imagined to work.”
Nevertheless now, lack of area makes these partnerships with different shelters extra vital than ever.
“If there aren’t any keep residence orders in place, we anticipate this to be our new regular,” Williamson mentioned.
So Williamson and her crew are working more durable and getting artistic so survivors know there’s assist, regardless of the place they stay.
“We’re going to include chat for our hotline, in order that should you’re caught at residence together with your abuser who can hear you on the telephone, which is what we depend on, that they’ll chat with any person discreetly,” Williamson defined.
She mentioned each survivor’s case is exclusive.
“You’re the professional on preserving your self secure. And if you recognize it’s not secure to go away, let’s work collectively to make a security plan for you that does hold you secure,” Williamson mentioned.
“No one’s going to battle more durable for you than you and your life and your kids,” mentioned the survivor who’s been staying on the Safer Path shelter. “I simply thank God I used to be blessed sufficient and lucky sufficient to be accepted in such a program like this.”
The pandemic has pressured Williamson to cancel the group’s two greatest fundraisers this yr.
So as soon as once more, she’s getting artistic and holding a raffle on-line.
“There’s some nice prizes, there’s a $2500, $1500, and $1000 Visa present playing cards. Raffle tickets are very cheap, it’s a $25 entrance charge, providing huge prizes together with $2,500 and $1,500 Visa present playing cards,” Williamson mentioned.
To learn the way to donate, head to the Safer Path FVS fundraising website.
For info on the Safer Path Household Violence Shelter and it’s providers, head to the main page.
For those who or somebody you recognize is in an abusive relationship, head to KSAT’s Domestic Violence Resource Page.
Copyright 2020 by KSAT – All rights reserved.