Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Healthy Me Healthy weOctober is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. This is a somber month recognizing violence that plagues more than 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men in our society. At Huck House, we also spend October honoring survivors of Domestic Violence living in our Transitional Living Program. In this month’s blog, I thought it would be most fitting to hear directly from a survivor, one of our Transitional Living Program graduates, and a strong, hard-working, kind and funny woman, mom, daughter and friend, who will remain anonymous here. Listen to her words below that she delivered in a courtroom after her children’s father violated a court protective order:

To be honest, I do not want to be here. I would rather be in school than standing in front of a courtroom opening up old wounds. Unfortunately, standing in front of you is my best shot at a normal life. I met Joe* when I was 17. I was a loving, optimistic girl starting her senior year without a care in the world. Unfortunately, I am no longer anything like that girl. Over the past three years, I have experienced enough trauma to alter my perspective on life. Domestic Violence is something that I never understood until I was the girl behind the fist. The first fight was the scariest. Joe beat me up and down his apartment complex. Being choked against a brick wall with a 240-pound man screaming in my face than later getting dragged through the mud was the cause of the first part of the old me dying. The next few weeks were crucial for the cycle to begin. I was manipulated to believe the famous line “it will never happen again” but of course it did. The abuse continued and every attempt to break away from him was instantly crushed. I block him, he calls private. I change my number, he shows up unannounced. Joe has threatened anyone who tried to come between us. One night he walked around my house and refused to leave. Another, he waited at my car early in the morning to catch me before I left for school. Joe attacked me in front of my entire university, leaving me to be carried and locked in the admission building until the police were able to detain him. I was later taken to the hospital with a concussion that took me out of school for the rest of the semester. Months later, Joe threatened me as I was in the delivery room about the name of my son. He insisted that if I didn’t name him Joe the 3rd “not even god’s going to know what I’m going to do to you.”

I had to find the strength to leave that toxic relationship for the sake of my children. I refuse for my son to treat a female that way or for my daughter to think it’s ok to be abused in any way. Since the birth of my kids, I have gotten a restraining order, and even went as far as switching cars and moved into a secured place for Domestic Violence survivors. I have decreased interactions with mutual friends. I have been working with a counselor and Domestic Violence advocate in attempts to recover from my trauma. I have struggled greatly with depression and anxiety. The stress of being a full-time parent, student and athlete is enough for one person. It is not fair for me to have to continue to deal with his unstable behavior that forces me in and out of a courtroom.

*Names changed for anonymity

This amazing young woman has advocated for herself and her children and is excelling as a mother, a student, and a collegiate athlete. The Domestic Violence Program team at Huckleberry House was honored to stand by her side as she read this statement in the courtroom and as she walked through the day-to-day life of surviving and healing.

At Huckleberry House, we believe survivors, we advocate for them, and we support them in working towards their goals. While in the Transitional Living Program, they are surrounded by support. In addition to all of the professional supports, we encourage a sense of community among these young people who have survived violence. Twice a month, we have a dinner for the entire Domestic Violence Program, homemade by staff or by our gracious volunteers. These dinners are about more than just food. We discuss topics like developing healthy relationships, healing from abuse, and growing self-esteem, among other topics. The most amazing part is watching these young people understand and support each other.

We are honored to stand with survivors during Domestic Violence Awareness Month and throughout every day of the year.

 

 

Stephanie Smith

Domestic Violence Program Supervisor, Transitional Living Program

Triple P comes to TLP

The Positive Parenting Program comes to the Transitional Living Program

About 70% of the young people in Huck House’s Transitional Living Program (TLP) have young children of their own. The Positive Parenting Program (Triple P) is an evidence-based program that provides several levels of intervention to meet families’ needs.

The Ohio Children’s Trust Fund has partnered with Nationwide Children’s Hospital and Syntero, Inc. to provide parent support programming to help decrease parenting stress and improve the well-being of children throughout central Ohio.  Last month, a group of TLP moms participated in a Triple P session.

One of the greatest benefits of participation is the opportunity to talk other moms, learn that everyone has parenting struggles, and find ways to support one another. Other benefits include an improved sense of parental competence, enjoyment of parenting, and improved child behaviors.

“The Triple P parenting class focused on the normalcy of discipline problems in the household,” said Lindsey Buzek, TLP Parenting Mentor. “Parents were able to walk through frustrating situations, as well as hear experts give examples to curb unwanted or disruptive behaviors.”

TLP Parenting mentor Kenosha Hines added that learning effective ways to praise children was also helpful for her TLP clients.

Helping Homeless Youth not only Survive, but Thrive

It boils down to helping homeless youth not only survive, but thrive.
It’s one thing to provide a homeless young person with a roof over her head. It’s another thing to teach that person how to successfully maintain a stable home so she can focus on her goals and improve her life. The TLP program helps transition-age youth, ages 17-21, develop essential life skills that will serve them well beyond their time in the program.

Getting Angel and Marcus “Home”

Traditionally, the TLP program works with individual young men or women. Some of them have children of their own. But when we met Angel, our program had the unique opportunity to help support an entire young family.

Angel was a good student with a lot of potential. But due to her mom’s mental health issues, she frequently found herself out of the home without a place to stay. Then Angel became pregnant. Between trying to parent her daughter and find a stable place to live, Angel’s school attendance began to suffer. Her high school counselor took notice and contacted Huck House.

The Huck House TLP team connected with Angel and her boyfriend, Marcus, when they were living in the family shelter, desperately trying to find a way to care for their infant son. When the family entered the TLP program, the young couple received the support they needed to flourish. With a safe place to stay, they were able to care for their son and focus on their individual goals at the same time. Both Angel and Marcus were committed to giving their son a better start in life than what they had experienced. And so, with their team’s support, they worked hard to set and achieve goals. Ultimately, Marcus was able to secure a well-paying, full-time job while Angel finished high school.

As Angel and Marcus prepared to finish the program, their TLP team helped the young family secure permanent low-income housing. Marcus will continue to work while Angel attends Columbus State. The couple is using the skills gained in the program to parent their son and maintain a secure and healthy home for him and themselves.
“Angel and Marcus are amazing young people with a true desire to improve their futures and break the cycle of generational poverty for their own child,” says Amanda Glauer, LSW, TLP Team Leader. “The TLP program provided the guidance and support they needed to learn how to make it on their own. Now, instead of a young family on the streets or in a shelter, they’re living independently and thriving. They just needed the opportunity to make that happen.”

stephanie

Violence in teen relationships is more common than you think

Stephanie Smith, Huckleberry House’s Crime Victim Specialist, reacts to a violent assault on a local 15-year old by her ex-boyfriend.  Huckleberry House offers our support of this strong young woman and her family on the difficult road to healing. This story is tragic, heart-breaking, and shocking. However, for many teenagers and young women, the story […]

On Friday, September 8, the Transitional Living Program (TLP) team participated in a bus tour challenge around central Ohio. The challenge was designed by TLP manager Amanda Glauer to prepare staff to assist young people in TLP as they plan their transportation.

The 2017 Huck House Transitional Living Program (TLP) Bus Tour Challenge

The 2017 Huck House Transitional Living Program (TLP) Bus Tour Challenge Last Friday, the Huck House Transitional Living Program (TLP) Team participated in the first-ever TLP Bus Tour Challenge. The challenge was designed by TLP manager Amanda Glauer. Despite her team’s loss, Amanda was happy about the day and everything the team learned. She answers […]

Photo by Matt Hatcher, a photojournalist whose work can be found at www.mhatcherphotography.com/homelessness/

Youth Homelessness | By: Kyra Crockett

Photo by Matt Hatcher, a photojournalist whose work can be found at www.mhatcherphotography.com/homelessness/

Imagine being somewhere (like school, work, community center or a library) and not knowing where you are going next when it is time for those doors to close. Imagine riding the COTA bus for hours just to use up some of your idle time. Imagine having no consistent support system to lean on when things are scary, unsafe or unknown. Maybe today a friend’s parents fell asleep early so you could sneak in their basement for a while. Two nights ago you were sleeping in a tent campsite along the railroad tracks. The night before that, you were in the Grant Hospital ER hoping to blend in so you can sleep. Night to night, the scene changes with only one consistency — nowhere to call home.

Unfortunately, hundreds of homeless youth experience homelessness right here in Columbus, Ohio. Families who are exactly like people you know experience situations that push them into crisis for a period of time. Some families can work through it and eventually move on from it. Other families struggle to the point of a teen running away, parents kicking kids out or parents leaving their children behind when they move on. Homelessness is something no one should have to experience, let alone a youth.

Although there are many facets that play into the WHY, our efforts need to address PREVENTING IT IN THE FIRST PLACE. For those that are already there, how do we ensure their safety and rebuild their spirits?

Whether we blame the lack of housing options for young people or we blame the kids for being disrespectful or we point our fingers at the parents for not caring enough…it doesn’t change the fact that this goes on daily. The costs to our community, our families and our children are too great to ignore.

Talk to the kids in your lives! Make sure they have someone in their life (even if it’s not you) that they feel comfortable talking to about tough topics. And, as parents IT’S OK TO ASK FOR HELP AS WELL! None of us are perfect, so let’s stop acting as so!

-Kyra Crockett, Youth Outreach Program Manager

Why is it so hard to leave

Why is it so hard to leave?

I can only speak from experience……

Why is it so hard to leave an abusive lover? I have 4 main reasons why I didn’t.

My childhood, I watched my mom love a man who abused her, she never left and never told me those things weren’t ok. Somewhere in my mind, I thought things like this were supposed to happen. No one was around to teach and show me how a man really was supposed to treat you.

I loved him, this boy was my family, my best friend and more. It’s hard to let go of someone who was so close to you. Something that used to be strong and was planned to be forever. Some people stick to their vows no matter what happens. Even those that aren’t even married. Some people are just committed to what they want to happen. Sometimes your abuser can still be kind and be very sweet at times to the point you forgive him over and over again. But they turn around and do the same thing, that’s manipulated love. But of course we let them think that what they are doing to us is ok because at the end of the day that boy has you right where he wants you. He knows you will come back, he knows you won’t leave. This boy was the first guy I knew he took me in and protected me from the world. He became closer to me than any other male. The boy I once knew is gone, but in my heart I just knew that boy would come back, and all I needed to do was wait for him to return. But will he ever?

Low self-esteem, he made me think that no one loved me but him. He made me think I wasn’t pretty anymore. He made me think that there was no one out there that would love me like he did. So why leave? Who wants to be alone? But who wants to be with a stranger? That boy made me think I wasn’t capable of doing anything in life. That boy made me feel like a bad girlfriend, a bad daughter and the worst mother ever. Nothing I did was good enough for that boy. That boy made me give up on myself.

Then there’s fear, what if I did get up and leave, what would happen to me? Knowing that I can’t defeat this boy and battling is not what I wanted to do. When was the coast clear to leave? Will I even be safe if I go? Will he find me and hurt me even worse than before? I don’t want to see him hurting in jail because I still love him. I don’t want to go, I still love him. Even when we finally leave we somehow find a way back. Only because we were manipulated into believing that this is it.

Nobody out here loves me. I don’t have many options, I don’t know where to go. We look at everybody else around us differently. This boy was once my protector and now I need to be protected from him.

My abuser was insecure, an alcoholic and a cheater. He wanted everything to be my fault and to feel as low as he felt. Sometimes we don’t know what’s wrong with our abusers. Why they do the things they do. Maybe someone did the same thing to them that they are doing to you. Maybe they grew up believing certain situations are ok. A lot of people’s childhoods affect everything in their life….

Pay attention to change. Know what change is. Know when change is happening. Don’t be blinded by love. Don’t let love manipulate you. Don’t settle for less, learn what’s right, know what’s right and don’t ever let a boy take your rights away. Most importantly know that a boy and a man are two different kinds of people.

-Lucy, age 19, survivor in the domestic violence track of Huck House’s Transitional Living Program

First Date vs. Reality

While it would be nice to have a clearly written assessment of a potential new partner at the first date, this is not reality.

 

Imagine a first date. You arrive in a carefully-selected outfit at a casual restaurant to meet your date. Over dinner, you talk about your hobbies, work, and family. Conversation is fun and natural. You split the check. Before you decide to take off, your date reaches across the table and punches you in the face.

What would you do? Read more