Imagine you are stranded in a broken car on an abandoned road with your two young children. The three of you have no food or blankets and you grow colder in what seems like an endless snowstorm.
You did not plan your journey this way. You wanted to arrive at a place where you could all be safe and warm. You know you and your children need help, but you're uncertain about what to do. If you stay, you can hold the children close and keep them warm for a time, but they may not survive the ordeal. You might be able to find help if you take them and venture out into the storm, but you might also expose them to other dangers and an uncertain future. Both options are frightening.
As the drifting snow rises up against the side of the car you can see that the cold is starting to weaken the children. In your heart you know it is unfair to them to stay in this helpless situation, so you build up your courage and take them out into the storm.
I once knew a woman who felt she was trapped in an abusive relationship. She felt stranded, helpless, frightened, and without hope. She even felt she deserved to suffer all alone in a relationship that was cold and biting.
Her husband abused her physically and emotionally, but it was a frightening secret that neighbors and friends only whispered in private conversations -- a secret that the children began to accept as normal.
One day, she saw her teenage boy striking his younger sister with the same angry abuse the boy had seen his father dispense. She knew it was time to leave that broken family vehicle.
She found help at the local shelter for abused women, and she was able to start a new life. It was not easy, and it took time and a lot of hard work. But most importantly, it took help from an understanding community that recognizes the dangers of domestic violence.
The Roundup sincerely thanks the good people and businesses of our community that support the Time Out Shelter and Thrift Shop. Your compassion and willingness to help has made the difference for hundreds of families that have ventured out in the storm looking for a better future.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. If you are interested in volunteering or making a donation to assist the shelter, call Volunteer Coordinator Jean Oliver at (928) 468-1611, or the shelter at (928) 472-8007.
To volunteer at the thrift store, call Marsha at (928) 474-3989.