Archive for January, 2013


SafeHouse Denver weighs in on Teen Dating Violence

Posted on January 29, 2013 by josh in About VSN

Teen Dating Violence: What You Should Know

 

During the month of February, organizations, municipalities and schools across the nation recognized National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month in an effort to educate communities about the severity and prevalence of teen dating violence today.

 

Unbeknownst to many, dating abuse amongst teens and tweens occurs far too frequently and often silently.  According to a 2008 study commissioned by Liz Claiborne, Inc. and conducted by Teenage Research Unlimited:

 

  • Nearly half of teen girls who have been in a relationship (48%) say they have been victims of verbal, physical, or sexual abuse by their boyfriends.
  • Among all teens age 15-18, one in 10 (10%) indicate they have been physically abused by an angry partner (kicked, punched, choked, slapped,

or hit).

  • Nearly one in five teenage girls who have been in a relationship report that their boyfriends threatened violence or self-harm when presented with a break up (according to a 2005 survey by the same organizations

listed above).

 

And the statistics are even more alarming for kids in the “tween” age group (11-14 year olds). According to the same study:

  • Nearly half of all tweens in relationships (47%) say they know friends who have been verbally abused (called stupid, worthless, ugly, etc.) by a boyfriend/girlfriend.
  • One in five 13-14 year olds in relationships (20%) say they know friends and peers who have been struck in anger (kicked, hit, slapped, or punched) by a boyfriend or girlfriend.

 

In today’s world, youth are also exposed to an additional form of control and abuse via technology. Many teens share that they receive upwards of 200 text messages per day from their significant other. 200 texts per day is not love, it is control.

February Shout Out: SafeHouse Denver

Posted on January 29, 2013 by josh in About VSN

SHcolorSafeHouse Denver is committed to providing prevention and early-intervention services to youth experiencing or at risk of experiencing dating violence. In 2011, SafeHouse Denver reached 428 teens through either ongoing teen dating violence prevention and intervention groups or educational presentations about dating violence. In groups, participating youth explore definitions of dating violence, warning signs of abusive behavior, affects on children and how to access support or help someone in need.

 

In addition to addressing unhealthy characteristics, the groups also identify attributes found in healthy dating relationships.  Teens, for example, are given resources such as the Dating Bill of Rights which informs them that they have the right to, among other things, ask for a date, refuse a date and set physical, emotional and sexual boundaries.  By utilizing these tools, it is our hope that youth will be able to recognize warning signs of dangerous behavior and model new and healthy practices to their families and peers.

 

Through our educational presentations, one-on-one counseling and support groups many youth in our community are learning that they have the right to be happy, respected and safe and that there is support available to them. SafeHouse Denver is committed to reaching youth in this way, not only in the month of February, but throughout the year.  To learn more about Teen Dating Violence and how you can support youth, visit www.breakthecycle.org or www.loveisnotabuse.org.iStock_000010280186Small

 

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Established in 1977, SafeHouse Denver is the only agency in the City and County of Denver that provides both emergency shelter and nonresidential counseling and advocacy services to victims of domestic violence. As part of its mission to assist adults, children and youth in reclaiming their right to a life free of domestic violence, SafeHouse Denver also runs a 24-Hour Crisis and Information Line, (303) 318-9989, and offers community education throughout the Denver metro area to help empower communities to prevent, reduce and effectively respond to domestic violence. For more information on programs and services, as well as giving and volunteer opportunities, please call (303) 318-9959 or visit www.safehouse-denver.org.

 

 

Brief Description of Organization:

 

Established in 1977, SafeHouse Denver is the only agency in the City and County of Denver that provides both emergency shelter and nonresidential counseling and advocacy services to victims of domestic violence. As part of its mission to assist adults, children and youth in reclaiming their right to a life free of domestic violence, SafeHouse Denver also runs a 24-Hour Crisis and Information Line, (303) 318-9989, and offers community education throughout the Denver metro area to help empower communities to prevent, reduce and effectively respond to domestic violence. For more information on programs and services, as well as giving and volunteer opportunities, please call (303) 318-9959 or visit www.safehouse-denver.org.

 

iStock_000012387352_ExtraSmallTestimonials:

 

Karen’s Story

When Karen came to the SafeHouse Denver emergency shelter for the first time, she only stayed one night. She was concerned about leaving her cat behind and the impact leaving would have on her two young children. She left the next day but kept her Advocate’s card close by.

 

Two months later, Karen and her children arrived back at shelter. This time, she was ready to leave her abusive relationship but she knew she needed help.

 

Prior to coming to SafeHouse, Karen was the victim of severe verbal and emotional abuse. Her husband would not allow her to work nor have access to their finances. He reprimanded her for comforting their young children when they were upset, undermining her role as a parent, and had been abusive to their cat. Karen didn’t even have keys to their house, and therefore had to get permission to leave her own home.

 

Extreme isolation had kept Karen in the relationship and unaware of the resources for survivors of domestic violence in the community. When she arrived at shelter the second time, her Advocate described her as a different person. “Karen,” she shared, “was like a sponge, soaking up any and all information and resources we could provide.  Free from the violence in her life, she regained her independence and was very motivated.”

 

During her stay at shelter, Karen was able to connect with legal services to file for a protection order and received medical care for herself and her children. She also connected with an employment agency, found a meaningful job and was eventually able to move into an apartment of her own. Karen and her children continue to receive services at our nonresidential Counseling and Advocacy Center.

 

Julie’s Story

As a young adult, Julie, a native of Vietnam, moved to the United States to attend college and quickly found herself married to a man nearly twice her age. After a move, her husband refused to allow her to continue her studies and made excuses about why he wouldn’t allow her to work despite her intellect and competence. He closely controlled their finances, listened in on her personal phone calls and began to physically threaten Julie.

 

After connecting to SafeHouse Denver through the 24-Hour Crisis and Information Line, Julie started working with an Advocate at the Counseling and Advocacy Center to process the abuse she had faced and to begin to rebuild her sense of self and independence. After divorcing her husband and safely leaving the relationship, Julie has returned to school, is working in the hospitality industry and connected with a faith community.  She has started group counseling at SafeHouse and is, step by step, reaching her goal to “get myself back.”

NAC goes to “Bernie’s Place”

Posted on January 23, 2013 by josh in About VSN

NAC Field trip Bernie's place 015Last Tuesday the Networking and Advocacy Committee (NAC) toured the newly minted Colorado Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Center (CSADVC) run by the illustrious, Bernie Mellinger.   A record number of attendees turned out to meet and tour this new facility.  This center provides services for the Denver metro area’s survivors of trauma.  They provide forensic exams, counselling and all other SANE protocols.

All agreed that this center is a great addition to victim services.   Be sure to join the NACers for the next exciting adventure!

It takes a “Warren” Village…

Posted on January 2, 2013 by josh in About VSN

Warren Village is a unique family community created to help motivated low-income single-parents move from public assistance to personal and economic self-sufficiency through subsidized housing, on-site child care, intensive case management, educational guidance and career development. Learn more about Warren Village HERE.

Here are some of their success stories:

Savannah

savanFor Savannah and her children, Warren Village was a refuge from an abusive boyfriend.  Looking back Savannah says she should have recognized the signs.  Her boyfriend was controlling; constantly tracking where she was and questioning her if she was even 15 minutes late coming home from work.  Then with his increased drinking the abuse turned physical.  After years of abuse, Savannah with her two girls, Olive and Elvis, left with only $50, no job and no place to live.  The family lived in their car before being accepted at Warren Village.

Savannah talks about how empowering it is to get to know people who are in similar circumstances.  “It was also good for my children to understand there are other single-parent families they aren’t alone.” She also says she till take many of the skills she learned in the life skills classes with her, “The classes were great, I loved going to them – it didn’t feel like a requirement.  The tools you learn in the parenting classes are so helpful. “

Savannah recently moved out of Warren Village.  She is now working two part-time jobs and studying for her degree in cultural anthropology.  Her children are thriving and she credits Warren Village for giving her a new start.   “The people at Warren Village are amazing, both the staff and the residents.  The future is bright.  I want my kids to be successful, happy people and discover what they want in life.  I’ll always have a relationship with Warren Village.  I feel so grateful.”

 

 

Janei 

Twenty-four year-old Janei and her son Jamal came to Warren Village First Step after practically living on the streets.   Janei had been homeless off and on since she was just 15 years old.  Never staying in one place for more than a couple of months,  Janai left home to escape the physical abuse of her mom. a

For Janei the most difficult time came when gave birth to Jamal almost four months early.  At the time, she was sleeping on her friend’s couch and was told by the apartment landlord she could no longer stay there.  It was winter and Janai had no where to live when Jamal was released from the NICU.  It was a frightening time.  Some nights she would leave Jamal with friends while she rode the bus or walked the streets all night.

Janei arrived at Warren Village First Step when Jamal was just one-year old.  She says the most

meaningful part of Warren Village is the staff.  “They have been there step by step.  They are dedicated.  As long as you’re trying to better yourself, they will support you, they have your back.”  The resources and guidance from staff have been invaluable to Janei.  Her son who was severely developmentally and physically delayed is flourishing and Janei has learned how to better manage her finances so when she moves out she can have a more secure future.

Janei is currently working at a doggie daycare facility and trying to find permanent housing  so her son has a stable place to grow up.   “I want to be stable and not have anything to worry about, that’s my goal for right now.  I want to have that one place where I can say this is where my son grew up and he can have childhood friends and not go to 20 different schools like I did.”