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Casualties of domestic homicide: Children

  Within two weeks the lives of countless people have been changed. Two women from different backgrounds were murdered by their husbands.  They both had ties to Hendricks County. The common thread for these women is they left behind children.      Not only have they lost their mother, they have also lost their father.  Their lives will never be the same.  They will never have her to help with homework, to teach them to drive, to watch them as they leave on their first date, to shop for their prom dress, see them graduate, attend their wedding, see their first grandchild born… and the list of firsts goes on.   More than this there is another person in the mix.  An often forgotten person in these tragedies is the caregiver to the children left behind.  Not only are they dealing with the death of their daughter, planning the funeral, digesting the fact that their son-in-law is a killer, going to court to obtain custody, possibly finding a larger home to care of these children, and now becoming not only a grandmother, but also a parent.  I cannot imagine the pain, anger, confusion, stress, and burden they now carry.       As shelter staff each time we hear of a domestic violence homicide we are affected.  The first thing we think about is, was she one of ours?  Did she ever seek help with us or our sister shelters?  Did anyone know of the secrets she held within?  Could we have done more?  When it hits close to home, we go into action.  What can we do to provide support to the...

Kiddos….

Sometimes we really do not know if we are being effective or not in the many things we are called to assist our women and children.  But this past week it has been amazing to see the changes amongst some of our kiddos living at SW.  They feel safe and secure.  They are attending groups, therapy and reconnecting to their mom in wonderful ways.  It is sweet to witness. ...

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Shattering

  In her recent volunteer work with a Bloomington area shelter, Gabrielle participated in presentations to many Indiana high schools and junior highs in which surveys helped measure student attitudes about what was acceptable and healthy behavior in a relationship… and what was not. “I couldn’t believe the results,” says Gabrielle. “Examples of verbal, and even physical abuse like slapping and hitting, seemed okay to a lot of these kids.” As Miss Indiana, Gabrielle is making it her mission to change that. In her recent volunteer work with a Bloomington area shelter, Gabrielle participated in presentations to many Indiana high schools and junior highs in which surveys helped measure student attitudes about what was acceptable and healthy behavior in a relationship… and what was not. “I couldn’t believe the results,” says Gabrielle. “Examples of verbal, and even physical abuse like slapping and hitting, seemed okay to a lot of these kids.” As Miss Indiana, Gabrielle is making it her mission to change that. Gabrielle’s platform is called “Empowerment from the Start,” and it fills a real need in the fight against domestic violence. As Gabrielle says, “Prevention is what’s going to interrupt the cycle of violence, and that has to begin when kids are just starting to date. That’s what’s going to empower the students to make their own decisions about healthy relationships before they find themselves in an abusive one.” Gabrielle is working within the existing network of domestic violence shelters to spread her message. She explains, “In no way do I consider myself a domestic violence expert. My goal is to help define it. I let people...