I just read this and I thought I’d share it. It’s kind of a part two to the rant I made about donating to charity I suppose…
I read a lot about all of the people that we help in our shelters, and I pass a lot of that information onto people who want to donate and are looking for an organization that takes care of their money, but I know that people still get left behind, and some people need a lot more help than we can give. I think there are some who are very resistant to help to begin with, and it makes me feel awful. I read this particular comment on a newscaster’s blog after she stayed at our shelter overnight to gain insight. I put my comments in blue.
There are numerous resources out there but unfortunately I suspect the success rate for women leaving an abusive relationship is not a very high number. Not because women don't truly want a different life, but the supports are just not there.
(It takes most women eight times before they permanently leave an abusive partner)
You are given 21 days in a shelter – if you are lucky enough to get a bed. It is much harder for a single women to get a bed – they are told to go to the drop in center. In this time you are expected to find work or get welfare and find a new home. If you can't work and welfare refuses you assistance (which they will do if you do not have a place to live) and the wait list for subsidized housing is several years but because they do not have any units to meet your needs, in effect leaving you at the bottom of the list – you go back to being abused. On the 21st day the shelter throws you out onto the street like a piece of trash. (This is after shelter workers have allowed other clients during your stay to physically assault you and verbally abuse you. I was told if I phoned the police to charge another woman who attacked me for no reason I would no longer have a bed. This same abusive women was allowed to make racist comments against myself and other women.)
(though I am sure that some women DO abuse others in shelters, there have been no incidences like this at the shelter I work at. I am sure this happens and that people get abused in shelters, but to use the shelter that I work at as an example is just plain lying. I removed the name of my shelter because, well, this is a blog, and pretty much anyone can look it up. I don’t know what shelter this woman stayed at otherwise, but a counsellor who abused a client would be out on their ass faster than someone could come in. And no, we don’t throw women out after 21 days in our emergency shelter, but they do have a 21 day stay, and then we try to find them resources to help them get back to a more normal life.)
You go to counseling but the therapists I get don't help me. They can't reach the depths of my trauma or pain because they just are not skilled enough to understand the complexities of my past and present life. People are often shocked that I have survived my childhood. I am too much work for therapists and they just can't cope
(Frankly I just feel awful that this woman hasn’t been able to find someone to help her, but there are also barriers that people like this put up, making it difficult to tap into the deeper issues)
Places like _______and _____ will not accept disabled/chronical ill people into their programs. How does a person who requires a controlled housing environment and special diets live with other women? Services will not accommodate such individuals not only because of the lack of understanding but also liability reasons.
(Sadly, this is true—to an extent. We accept disabled to the point that they do not need 24 hour medical care. We also cannot have anyone who needs oxygen here because pure oxygen is highly flammable. I wish there WAS enough money to create housing to house the ill and the disabled, as well as those struggling with many other troubles, but sadly the government feels that social services aren’t as important as taking private jets to get to conferences)
My choices are get abused to keep a roof over my head or live on the street. Either way I am dead. The only control I have in my life it choosing to end my own life so at least i have dignity in death.
When I hear success stories of other women, I am grateful that there is one less person in hell. But success stories are deceiving to the public at large when who look at the number of women who do not thrive and the number of women who are being turned when they ask for help.
I don’t really know what I could say to the last portion of this. I wish reality weren’t like this, but sadly there it is…