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October is Domestic Abuse Awareness Month

Most cases are never reported to police. Most cases we never hear about. Most domestic violence happens in homes behind closed doors. The average woman will take the abuse and attempt to walk away 7 times before gathering the courage to flee. With support from United Way of Southeast Missouri, 84 women and 37 children were given refuge in 2019 at the Safe House for Women, and 635 phone calls were made to the hotline for women experiencing abuse. 

October is Domestic Abuse Awareness Month. UWSEMO supports two programs at the Safe House. One helps prevent abuse by educating students about safe relationships, and the other helps with medical expenses for abuse victims fleeing to the shelter. This VIDEO offers a tour of the newly constructed Safe House for Women from the eyes of a woman seeking shelter, and this article shares a success story of a pregnant victim of abuse.

This year, a pregnant woman arrived at the shelter after her other children had been placed in foster care. The Safe House for Women employees were able to assist the client with initiating prenatal care and preparing for the arrival of her baby. After her delivery, she returned to the Safe House with her baby boy, where the staff connected her with Educare, another partner in our network, and she completed parenting classes. After seeking housing assistance with another UWSEMO partner, Community Partnership, the mother and baby are safe and thriving in their own home.

To help prevent the need for refuge in the first place, United Way of Southeast Missouri invests in the Choose Respect healthy relationships program for students in Southeast Missouri. Last year, 1,539 youth in 14 area middle and high schools were educated on what a healthy relationship looks like and how to recognize and leave one that is unhealthy. A Safe Dates program is offered in the shelter to help connect residents with one another and gain confidence in their ability to recognize unhealthy relationships. The goal is to empower residents as they rebuild their lives and stop the cycle of abuse. You can help victims who need shelter and other services within the United Way Network by choosing to Round Up your credit card expense or make a monthly donation 

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