A shelter on the Northern Neck.
Social scientists tell us that domestic violence has become endemic. Thea Marshall finds that this is true, even on the Northern Neck, but thanks to "The Haven" there has been a source of sanctuary and shelter for victims since 1987.
The Haven Shelter and Services here on the Northern Neck, well, it's been a source of safety, of sanctuary and yes, shelter to the victims of family violence, sexual assault, stalking and homelessness since it opened its first door in 1987 as a furnished one-bedroom apartment able to house seven people from one family.
Each year its capacity and services have grown. Jump ahead to today, a big house with 24-hour site supervision and access, with a shelter capacity of up to 32 people, crisis support and intervention, court advocacy, information and referral and more. Of course, the unasked question, "Why?" Why the growth of the Haven? Well, the answer is simple and it's sad; the growth of domestic violence has become, some say, endemic.
More than 32 million Americans are affected by domestic violence every year, and the Northern Neck, the land of pleasant living, is not exempt from this escalation. Social scientists tell us that domestic violence, well, it can happen to anyone of any race, age, sexual orientation, religion or gender, and that it can happen to couples who are married or living together or dating, and that domestic violence affects people of all socio-economic backgrounds and education levels.
Well, what exactly is domestic violence? Ellen Yeagle, Executive Director of the Haven here in the Northern Neck, tell us that it can be defined as a pattern of behavior in any relationship that is used to gain or maintain power and control over an intimate partner. It can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person, and this may include any behaviors that frighten, intimidate, terrorize, manipulate, humiliate, blame, hurt, injure or wound someone.
Ellen Yeagle told me that since the Haven opened its very first door, they've helped more than seven thousand victims. Can the growth of violence be diminished? Well, the Haven has developed many services available to the community that can help, and they include community education, volunteer training, advocacy for victims through court or community agencies and support for allied professionals.
Ellen recently told me, "We've been fortunate to serve a community that cares about victims of domestic and sexual abuse and that supports the work we do to assist these victims."
Well, one of its annual support events is Just Gardens, celebrating its tenth year of raising funds for the Haven. It's a tour of some outstanding local gardens and a way to learn what grows and flourishes here. In a way, well, the tour, it could be a metaphor for the Haven Shelter and Services. It grows to help victims of domestic violence flourish.
This is Thea Marshall.