Domestic Violence and Homelessness

by Dr. Chad Audi

As the National Football League continues to deal with the fallout from a series of domestic violence incidents involving players, the national spotlight is focusing on this terrible crime.

The statistics are alarming. It has been reported that 1 in 4 women will experience domestic violence in their lifetime. An estimated 1.3 million women are victims each year.

Domestic violence is a primary cause for homelessness among women. The National Alliance to End Homelessness says domestic violence survivors make up about 12 percent of the sheltered homeless population.

Many of the women who seek help at homeless shelters like ours at the Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries (DRMM), are running away from abusive relationships. They have finally gotten the courage to leave home after years of abuse and to start new lives. Often, the women walk into our shelter accompanied by their young children.

From that point on, DRMM sets out to restore confidence and self-esteem in the woman. She and her children receive shelter, food, clothing, transitional housing, educational support, spiritual guidance, and job skills training. As they look toward building a new future, we assist them with finding affordable permanent housing.

Without a doubt, domestic violence has a devastating impact on a woman – both physically and emotionally. Most abusers have cut the women off from everything — financial resources, employment, and support networks. And, the women often suffer from anxiety, severe depression and substance abuse.

When the women successfully complete our programs, they have overcome any addiction issues, recovered their sense of self, and they leave with a sense of accomplishment. They are no longer victims. They are brave women who took the first step when they made up their minds to seek help and end the cycle of violence. They deserve our support.

by Dr. Chad Audi

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