Letter: S.A.V.E. helps domestic violence victims

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To the Editor:

Growing up in Cannon County in the mid '60's through the early 80's, I was fortunate in many ways. My parents were God-fearing, law-abiding, hard-working people.

On the farm my dad was what you might call the "enforcer". He killed hogs (that was a hard lesson to learn about where bacon comes from), de-horned cattle, "pulled" calves, castrated various things from time to time and killed frogs and dressed them (or undressed them) in the front yard. If we had fried chicken for supper it was because he had gone outside, picked one up and rang it's head off? And, of course there were the occasional "dead pet walking" trips back into the hollow. Daddy and a sick pet that wasn't going to get any better would go in and only Daddy would come back. Every dirty, seemingly inhumane task that had to be done, he did. Wild animals did NOT stand a chance if they got in his garden or threatened his livestock. He was a man on a mission. That mission was to provide for his family. Sometimes, as a child, these things made me a little fearful of my father. Animals I wanted to pet, he was murdering in my eyes. But one thing I never worried about or even considered being a possibility, was that the stress from making ends meet and dealing with four rowdy children would result in my father hitting my mother. As I said, I was fortunate.

When I got married, I was sure my "Prince Charming" would never ever take his frustrations out on me physically; and even though at times money has been tight, his job has been stressful and I have not always been a supportive ray of sunshine; during nearly 35 years of marriage, he never has. I am blessed.

I guess the life I have lived and the experiences I have had contributed to my initial reaction to stories of "Domestic Violence." My reactions have ranged from "Well, I would never let him do that to me" and "He'd be picking his teeth up off the floor if he did that to me" to "Why doesn't she just leave?"

Well, things are not always so cut and dry and all women have not been as fortunate as I have. Every man is NOT God-fearing, law-abiding and hard-working. All husbands DO NOT love their wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself for it. All women DO NOT grow up in a loving home and marry a good man. Sometimes their "Prince Charming" turns back into a frog and instead of warts he gives them broken bones and black eyes. All women DO NOT have loving families to go home to when the one who promised to love, honor and cherish them uses her face for a punching bag. Sometimes a "sketchy" husband that might be good to you seems like a better bet than abusive parents that have proven themselves unworthy. All marriages DO NOT last 'til death do us part and when marriages do end, they DO NOT always end with an ex-spouse being cordial and civilized for the sake of their children.

When the only thing standing between you and your children being hungry and homeless is the paycheck of your abuser, another beating may not seem like such a high price to pay. It might seem like you're just "taking one for the team". "Will it be bad enough for stitches this time?" "Will I have to wear sunglasses to hide a black eye - again?" Or the really hard questions: "Will he hit me in front of the kids this time?" "Will my little boy abuse his wife someday because he thinks it's how husbands treat their wives?" or "Will my little girl grow up and marry a man just like her daddy?!?" I've never had to ask myself these questions. I am fortunate!

Domestic violence is real in Cannon County. There is help here in the form of an organization known as S.A.V.E. which stands for Service and Violence Education. S.A.V.E. provides assistance with everything from obtaining Orders of Protection and providing Court Advocacy to help with food and clothing, continued education and job skills training to emergency housing for those with no safe place to go. S.A.V.E. is a not for profit corporation and donations are tax deductible.

The Director of S.A.V.E. is constantly applying for and receiving grants to cover the expenses that come with successfully keeping an organization of this kind in operation. Several local Church congregations have seen the need for assistance and have responded whole-heartedly as well as several generous individuals. One very generous and kind-hearted individual even purchased a very nice building to provide emergency transitional housing for victims at no cost to S.A.V.E. He wanted to do something special to honor his late wife and this organization touched his heart. But the need for funds is ongoing. Even though the building itself is provided at no cost; the Director's salary has to be covered and the utilities, upkeep and operating expenses are a monthly challenge. Fundraising is a constant struggle.

What a shame it would be to finally have a way of escape from your abuser and finally feel safe for the first time in a long while; only to have that safe-haven be shut down due to a lack of funds. Organizations with grant money to give carefully scrutinize programs asking for grants. Community support is a BIG deciding factor. Watch the newspaper for information on upcoming fund raisers.

I sincerely wish that S.A.V.E. was no longer needed in our community, but as long as it is, it is my hope that S.A.V.E. becomes financially stable and is always here to assist those that so desperately need it. I hope you will feel the need to invest in your community and support S.A.V.E.

Sandy Hollandsworth
S.A.V.E Board Member

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