Each year, October is recognized as Domestic Violence Awareness Month. On average, 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the US, and 15% of violent crime is intimate partner violence. The impact on children is substantial, as 1 in 15 children are exposed to intimate partner violence, and 90% of these children are eyewitnesses to this violence(1).
Emily’s Place is a Texas-based program that provides long-term housing for survivors of domestic violence. They call themselves a “bridge” between shelter and independent living. Their mission is to break the cycle of violence for women and their children through long-term transformational care to restore faith, hope, and health.
Serving USA sat with Emily’s Place Executive Director Brynn Bruno to debunk myths and highlight issues that some people may not be aware of concerning domestic violence survivors.
MYTH: Only moms are affected by domestic violence
“It’s important to remember that children are also victims of domestic violence, even if they’re never physically abused themselves. More than 75 percent of reported cases of DV occur in homes with children, and witnessing that violence can cause post-traumatic stress in kids. This affects their emotional and academic development as well as their ability to trust the non-abusive parent, usually the mom. A key focus of the Emily’s Place program is rebuilding that parent-child bond.”
MYTH: It is easy for people to leave an abuser.
“I think the other thing that people forget is when it comes to domestic violence, a mom has to give up so much to leave her abuser. Not just her relationship. She loses a key stability point. She is going to lose whatever community, friends, and family support- primarily his. A lot of the victims we work with specifically don’t have a strong support system. They have to give up their church and sometimes their job because they have to take care of their kids. It’s not easy if you don’t have all of these resources, housing, and stability for your family.”
MYTH: Domestic Abuse only happens to certain people.
“At one point, we had a grammy award-winning artist, we had a school teacher, and we had someone who didn’t complete the 7th grade, and they all connected because they were all focused on how to be the best mom they could be and how to get to financial and housing stability for their kids.”
Emily’s Place offers programs catered to the distinctive needs of the people they care for. While many participants have the same goals, the routes to attain them vary and require individualized care. “We see so many amazing things happen to families when women are empowered,” says Bruno. Emily’s Place provides access for families to housing, legal services, employment, education, financial education, life-skills training, spiritual guidance, transportation, and more.
Serving USA is proud to partner with organizations like Emily’s Place, which provide access to programs where women can be “thriving instead of surviving.” When asked about our partnership, Brynn Bruno shared, “(Serving USA) wanted to invest in what we are doing and see the depth we can create. Serving USA during the grant process, they were so connected, asked great questions, and seemed to care about our mission. It was so aligned, and they wanted to affect generations to come.”
About Serving USA:
SUSA’s mission is to bring grace and redemption through Christ to incarcerated individuals, women in recovery, and military veterans through a supported network of exceptional partner organizations.
Our support for prisoners and ex-offenders includes restorative and redemptive pre-release programming and discipleship, addressing life skills and physical, spiritual, and vocational needs. We are making a difference to better prepare these men and women for release and walk with them when they get out by providing housing, transportation, job placement, legal aid, and other wrap-around services to reduce recidivism drastically.
Our commitment to women in recovery includes programs that walk alongside women, offering shelter, compassion, counseling, life skills, job training, spiritual development, and encouragement as they recover from various forms of abuse and transition to healthy and productive lifestyles.
We provide an array of services and innovative programming to our wounded warriors, emphasizing PTS (Post Traumatic Stress) and combat trauma issues that lead to a suicide rate of 21 per day and contribute to violent crime and homelessness.
For more information and to learn about all partners, please visit www.servingusa.org. Questions, comments, or concerns can be relayed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
(1)NCADV. (n.d.). National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Retrieved September 2, 2022, from https://ncadv.org/STATISTICS