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One in four women will be beaten or raped in their lifetime. Every 10 seconds a woman is assaulted, at least four women a day are killed by their partners. Children who grow up in violent homes are six times more likely to commit suicide, 24 times more likely to be sexually assaulted, 1000 times more likely to be abusers themselves and the affects of abuse go on and on. While statistics are faceless - until someone you know is victimized - it is the devastation to the victims caused by domestic violence and sexual assault that is the focus of our work at the YWCA.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and the time of year we earnestly ask people like you to provide financial support to our organization so we can continue not only to raise awareness about domestic violence in our community and surrounding area, but more importantly to provide direct services to those women and their children in danger.
Can you imagine being scared to death of your partner’s reaction if you were five minutes late? Or what if you had to ask permission to buy groceries to feed your children? What if you had to live under the constant threat of a verbal beating? How would you deal with being abused? Would you leave the first time you realized your relationship partner was abusive? We all like to think we would. “Well I wouldn’t tolerate it for a minute,” or “Why doesn’t she just leave?” are statements we hear a lot when the topic of domestic violence arises. National averages show a woman in an abusive relationship typically leaves her abuser seven times before she is able to break free of the abuse. Why is it so hard to leave? The answer is domestic violence and the abuse associated is a vicious and insidious cycle.
One of the most frightening pieces in the domestic violence puzzle is you don’t have to have bruises to be beat up or beat to the ground. Words, finances, and the constant worry of the next blow up wears on a woman’s psyche causing her to lose self esteem, confidence, hope and in some cases the willingness to live. Unfortunately, as the woman shrinks so does her children. In more than half of all cases, the children are abused or neglected as well and so the cycle of abuse is generational. Domestic violence knows no social, racial or economic boundaries and its victims may be your friend, your neighbor, your sister, your daughter or even yourself.
It is our Mission at the YWCA to ‘Empower Women’ and we need your financial help to continue to provide programs such as operation of the Mercy Home – a temporary shelter for women and their children victimized by domestic violence and or sexual assault, a 24 hour 7 day a week crisis line with a Victim Advocate trained to provide hope and assistance to those in need, counseling, domestic violence and sexual abuse survivor support groups, children advocacy program for children while their mom attends support group or counseling sessions, clothing for those without any, and more.
In this past year, we have seen continuing increases in the use of YWCA services. 20,193 people were served through programming at the YWCA. We provided 249 women and children with 4,591 shelter nights, served 12,966 meals in the Mercy Home and responded to 2,566 crisis calls. We provided clothing for 882 women and their families. We also were able to provide 745 individual counseling sessions to women and children in need of support dealing with violence in their homes.
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YWCA of Great Falls
Since 1913, the YWCA of Great Falls has worked to advance the quality of life for women of all ages, races, faiths and their families. The YWCA provides services to meet critical needs such as food, shelter, and clothing, to promote self sufficiency, to reduce violence and achieve equal opportunities for all people.
In 2015, the YWCA provided 148 women and 99 children with 4.591 shelter nights, served 12,966 meals, responded to 2,566 crisis calls, provided 6,941 counts of personal advocacy, and 745 hours of counseling The Mercy Home Shelter Program runs at capacity or near capacity all year round. We are running out of space to meet the ever growing needs of the victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking and child abuse. Please won’t you help us today in our efforts to protect the vulnerable, empower women and eliminate racism?