Domestic violence is a threat to us all. Domestic violence hurts communities, children and families. Only when we see it as our collective responsibility, to address it as everyone’s issue; only when we make sure that we have supports in place to respond to the needs of survivors can we move forward significantly in serving survivors and their families.
While domestic violence may not be the immediate reason families may be presenting when they apply shelter, so many of the families that I encounter throughout the year express that they or their children have been impacted by domestic violence.
All too many times it has been confided in me that perhaps there would have been less irreversible damage had there be a place for the survivor and their children to go. Survivors expressed that having no place to flee to or uprooting their children made the decision to flee more complex, scarier.
It saddens me to know that in some cases housing instability could be major factor in why families that are in an unsafe situation are forced to stay. It would be remiss of us to ignore that housing is an important piece to the puzzle.
As unfathomable as this may seem too many of us, this happens daily, repeatedly and unnecessarily.
When Domestic Violence hurts a person or family, domestic violence rocks that community.
When homelessness and housing Instability threatens a family, homelessness rocks that community.
If this is true than we can only imagine what happens to a family and communities that are plagued by domestic violence and housing instability coupled together.
While these traumatic experiences are unique, the outcome can be anticipated… for families that survive, they will have to start anew often vulnerable and in many cases with little to no resources and or connection to peers, friends, family or support.
If there is one thing that survivors teach us all it is that hope and creative solutions couple with networks of collective support can put an end to injustice. Can we come together … DV, EA, advocates, providers, families and be that network of support to come together with creative solutions and unified voice and put an end to injustice?
If there is something we can all learn from survivors it is to look at the strength and opportunities that surface in the most difficult times.
Can we as a community that cares use our strength and see the opportunity to demand supports, safety and housing so that survivors and their families can rebuild?
I invite you to read and share two blog posts:
- I am a Survivor, written by a member of HFF’s Consumer Advocacy Team, and
And I invite all of you to think about what your role might be, how you can connect with places that are doing the work and how we can partner in order to push forward the work and message of the domestic violence community as well as the EA community in order to make sure that safety and housing are never on the table as negotiable when we talk about our families.
Director of Leadership and Community Building