We’ve all heard the nostalgic tune, “There’s no place like home for the holidays.” For many of us the song summons warm feelings, cherished memories, and a wonder for the magic of the snow-covered earth. However, the holiday season can look very different for those experiencing domestic violence.
For *Heather, home was the last place she wanted to be during the holidays. To the outside world, Heather, Mark, and Sophie were the perfect family. Pictures from vacations, holidays, and school gatherings were all over social media. Mark had opened his home to Heather and Sophie, caring for them when they were in need. Mark seemed kind and charming, quickly winning over Heather’s friends and family with his humor and generosity.
What the world couldn’t see were the bruises that Heather’s holiday party dress had been carefully chosen to cover. No one saw the broken dishes, holes in the wall, or escalating physical violence perpetuated by Mark. No one knew that Heather put Sophie to bed early almost every night so she wouldn’t see or hear what was happening in their home. Heather never dreamed that her life would look like this.
On a snowy afternoon, towards the end of Heather’s annual exam, her healthcare provider handed her a small wooden nickel and encouragingly told her, “They may be able to help.” On that nickel was the Partners for Peace toll-free number. Heather reluctantly accepted the tiny piece of hope and tucked it into her shoe, knowing that Mark would likely go through her purse that night.
When Heather called the Partners for Peace helpline she formed a strong connection with the empathetic advocate. Together they explored what it might look like if she left Mark, and how she could support Sophie through the transition. Heather identified that the safest place for her and her daughter to be was in Baltimore with her family. Together they created a list of items she needed to have with her when she was ready to go. Heather ended the call with a plan and a sense of determination.
Three weeks later, Heather and Sophie arrived at the Partners for Peace Dover-Foxcroft Resource Center with two small bags. Sophie was greeted by a volunteer and escorted to the sunny children’s room to play while Heather reconnected with an advocate. She shared that she was afraid to withdraw cash or use her cards to purchase bus tickets, because Mark watched her bank account. Her phone, credit cards, and years of memories were all left behind. Before the end of the day, Partners for Peace had purchased a pair of bus tickets and Heather and Sophie were headed for Baltimore. They wouldn’t be home for the holidays, but they would be safe.
In fiscal year 2018, Partners for Peace advocates helped 1,724 individuals affected by domestic abuse. Your support allows us to operate a 24-hour helpline, two public resource centers, multiple rural outreach locations, an emergency shelter, and a transitional housing program. Without donors like YOU, these resources would not be available.
At Partners for Peace we are thankful for the faithful support and generosity our community has shown year after year. Household items, paper products, food, and warm winter jackets pour in the door this time of year bringing comfort and increased safety to those journeying to find a life free from abuse. Today, we ask you to consider a financial contribution to further the organization’s mission.
Your continued support is essential to the future of Partners for Peace. When home is not safe your contributions ensure survivors have a place to turn. Together we can help survivors of domestic violence have a home where they want to be, not just on the holidays, but every day.
P.S. Returning your tax deductible gift with the enclosed reply card by January 31, 2020 will ensure that we are here and ready when we are needed most.