Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Guest Post - Safety Net

Here's a post from Sheila, one of the great people behind Safety Net, an Etsy shop raising money to open the Cottonwood Commons Transition Home so domestic violence survivors won't have to leave all their friends and family to seek refuge.

" Hi folks. This is Sheila from over at Cottonwood Commons Transition Home in Deer Lodge, MT. You probably haven’t heard of us. Or our little town. But I can tell that you’re the kind of person who cares about the lives of others, even those you don’t know. You just have that vibe. 

Put on your walking shoes and get ready because I’m about to take you on a tour of our little slice of heaven, in Deer Lodge Valley between the Flint Creek Mountains and the Continental Divide. Here, I’ll show you:

Not too shabby.

But amidst the beauty of nature and the quiet style of rural life lurks a big ugly scar: domestic violence. The abuse rates in our area are horrendous. Any violence is unacceptable, but especially that which is directed at those intended to be cherished above all others. Unfortunately, our small population of just over 3,000 people cannot attract the services available to domestic violence sufferers in larger cities. We have one victim advocate who works tirelessly to serve all crime victims in the county. It was she who first noticed the need for more services and led the initiative to establish a transition home. 

Put your walking shoes aside and put on your sympathetic glasses. Let’s pretend for a moment that you are here in Deer Lodge and have found yourself in a physically and emotionally abusive relationship. You want to leave, but there is nowhere to go in town that can separate you from your abuser. They know your where best friend lives, your parents, even your pastor. Your children are school aged.  You will not leave without them. You’ve thoroughly researched your options and it seems like the only safe place you can go is 40 miles away. That means leaving that best friend. Leaving your parents. Leaving what support you might have in your religious community. That means relocating to a strange place you’re unfamiliar with and don’t know many people. What about your children? Are they better off being taken from their friends and enrolling in a new school? Deer Lodge is the only life you’ve ever known. You don’t want to leave, but you can’t stay. It seems like there is no way out. You begin to wonder if it’s even worth it… Slowly but surely, you convince yourself that it would be better for you to stay where you are than to take such a major risk. 

As you might imagine, the lack of services makes leaving a dangerous relationship all the more daunting. A transition home in Deer Lodge would mean a safe, secure place that allowed survivors the comfort of being “home.” We are currently doing anything we can think of to raise funds towards our non-profit status (which is an $800 application fee) and startup costs. We were donated a private home in town to use, which is a huge head start. Our Etsy shop, Safety Net,  sells handmade goods from community members who have donated their time, materials, and talents to help us make this dream a reality. Right now, most of our items are crocheted, like this laptop sleeve:
Purple Flower Laptop Sleeve - $18.00 USD

Or this arm-knitted scarf:

We are working on gaining awareness and support for our project at our blog.  The plan is not only to provide a safe, comfortable place to live for up to two years rent free while a survivor is moving on, but also to improve quality of life. We are seeking our volunteer teachers for classes like cooking, basic hygiene, sewing, financial management, and other life skills. We are building relationships with local businesses to provide on the job training. We are working to transform lives from hell to hope. We hope that someday we can help other little towns with similar problems, and perhaps more importantly similar hearts, to make a difference in their communities. If you are interested in helping us meet our goals, or keeping an eye on our progress, feel free to stop by any of our links. 

See, I knew you were a person who cares. That’s a good vibe to give. "
"This is not love.  It is a crime,...You can't look the other way just because you have not experienced domestic violence with your own flesh."  - Salma Hayek

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for featuring our cause Susan! You do a great job of trying to get the word out for charitable Etsy shops--and not to mention some beautiful jewelry too!! :)