Wednesday, August 31, 2011

It Can’t Happen To Me

Photo by Ben Earwicker, Garrison Photography

Many people tell me they have never known anyone who was a victim of domestic violence.  Yet, the statistics tell us that nearly three out of four (74%) Americans personally know someone who is or has been abused by their partner.  

The sheer volume of people who have had domestic violence in their lives makes it difficult for us to not know someone who been affected by domestic violence.

The Statistics
The statistics show that one out of every four women will at some point in her life be impacted by domestic violence. That’s 25% of the population! It’s staggering to think of the number of people who "know” domestic violence; who have lived it and experience it on a daily basis. With numbers like that, it’s amazing to me that so many people think it could never happen to them.

All Demographic Groups Are At Risk
When you look at the statistics about domestic violence you’ll see that it affects everyone.  Some groups are more at risk, but no one is immune.

·         Women ages 20-24 are at the greatest risk of nonfatal intimate partner violence.
·         Women of all races are about equally vulnerable to violence by an intimate partner.
·         Intimate partner violence affects people regardless of income. However, people with lower annual income (below $25K) are at a 3-times higher risk of intimate partner violence than people with higher annual income (over $50K).
·         On average between 1993 and 2004, residents of urban areas experienced highest level of nonfatal intimate partner violence.
·         Approximately one in five female high school students reports being physically and/or sexually abused by a dating partner.

We all need to be aware of what domestic violence is, how it occurs, and what to do if you find yourself in a violent situation, because unfortunately, it can happen to anyone.

If you or someone you know needs help, please call our 24/7 hotline at 816-461-HOPE (4673) or visit the Hope House website.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Safety Net

If you look on our website or in our brochures, you’ll see:

“Hope House services form a safety net of prevention, education and support for more than 10,000 victims of domestic violence every year.”

So what does the term “safety net” mean?

What’s a Safety Net?

Photo by Stephanie Bennett Vogt
When a woman enters shelter, her life has just taken a drastic turn. A million thoughts are swirling through her head:
  •          How will the kids get to school?
  •          Where will they get clothing to wear to school?
  •          Where am I going to live now?
  •          I was a stay-at-home mom. How will I survive without an income?
Hope House provides a web of services - a “safety net” - to keep her afloat so her life doesn’t continue to spiral downward.

Services Included in the Safety Net

The safety net includes services to handle immediate needs like:
  •          A safe place to sleep
  •          Help figuring out how she’ll get to work/the kids will get to school
  •          Clothing and personal items
  •          Three meals a day
But it also covers long-term needs such as:
  •          Help finding a place to live
  •          Help with legal issues like divorce or custody
  •          Therapy
This list doesn’t begin to list all the services available. Our advocates also help our clients navigate the maze of services available from other agencies like applying for government assistance, or getting mental health counseling.

Photo by Lisa Truscott @
Think Trapeze Artist at the Circus

Just like the trapeze artist at the circus whose life depends on the safety net that will catch them if they fall, Hope House services are here to keep a woman from hitting rock bottom while she transitions from being a victim to being a survivor.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Inner City Myth

Valerie Avore/The Epoch Times

A common myth of domestic violence is that it only happens in the inner city; it doesn’t happen in the suburbs. This myth is very similar to the misconception that it only happens to poor people.

For some, it can be very difficult to believe or acknowledge that something so horrible could be happening in your neighborhood, by people you know and care about. It’s easier to think it only happens in segments of society; to “other” people.

So it’s common to assign it to a group that you are not a part of, whether that be poor, rich, suburban, inner city, white, black, Christian, Muslim, or non-believer—whatever “label” you want to assign so it’s not a part of you and your world.

Unfortunately, domestic violence transcends all worlds so it will intersect with you at some point. It happens everywhere, to every group of society.  We can’t ignore it, and we can’t assign it to someone else so we can avoid addressing it.

If we are ever going to end the cycle of violence, we must first acknowledge it and then address the underlying problems.

Hope House has two locations in the suburbs of Kansas City.  We are full every day with people from suburbs across the metro area. It IS happening here.

The Lee’s Summit location was started after three women were murdered by their husbands. How many homicides does Lee’s Summit have in one year? Not many— most years, none. To have three in one year was eye opening for many.  It moved a group of people to start the fundraising so we could have a shelter in the city to address the need.

We must see it as it is, acknowledge it, and work toward solutions. It takes a village to raise a child and it takes the entire community to stop the violence. Together, we can break the cycle and work toward a future where there is no domestic violence.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Hope & All That Jazz

Our largest fundraiser of the year is fast approaching. Hope and All That Jazz will be held at the Muehlebach Hotel on August 20. Festivities start at 5:30.

The event activities include fabulous food and drinks, the opportunity to bid on some of the best auction items you'll ever see, dancing to the sounds of the Kerry Strayer band, and an opportunity to spend time with friends and learn more about Hope House.

It isn't too late to join us! For ticket and sponsorship information, go to the Jazz page on our website, or you can contact Libby at 816-257-9334 or

For the first time, we're starting the Jazz festivities a couple of weeks early! We've set up an online auction which features unique items like you’ll find at our Jazz event such as:

A Danger Zone Flying Experience where you’ll be flying the plane in dog fight. Hello, Maverick?
An autographed Eagles Greatest Hits album, signed by all the original band members.
Sporting gear like a Nike golf shirt and a wind jacket that has sleeves that detach at two different lengths.

The online auction continues through 5PM CDT on August 16. Get registered now
 and join in the fun! 

The proceeds from the online auction and the Jazz event support our daily operations. The dollars raised are crucial for us to maintain the level of programming we currently offer. By participating in this event, you could have a great time, and help to save lives. What could be better than that? We look forward to seeing you there.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Summer in Shelter

Photo by kevinrohr @
For those of us in Missouri and most places around the country this has been a scorcher of a summer. We’ve tried hard to make this hot weather as bearable as possible for those who are in shelter. We’re grateful that the air conditioning has worked most of the summer… just one outage for a few hours, and it was fixed immediately.

Besides the heat, what exactly happens around shelter in the summer? The same things that happen at your home in the summer: parents work, some kids go to summer school, and other kids play and enjoy their time off from school.

We strive to make the summer as much fun as possible for the kids staying here. We have water play days where they can run through sprinklers, and play on Slip ‘N’ Slides. They ride their bikes all over the campus.  You can hear them squealing as they see the fish swimming around in the water garden. They even go on field trips. But mostly, they do what kids do everywhere: they have fun.

There are some up sides to being in shelter. There is always someone to play with and always someone to talk to. It seems that boredom isn’t an option for our kids; there are too many things going on and too many fun possibilities.

Kids in shelter also have the opportunity to spend time with the Children’s Therapist. This can be very fun; working through issues and obstacles doesn’t have to be a chore.  It can be done through art and play and is just as therapeutic and long lasting as other traditional forms of therapy. This time with the therapist allows the children time to focus on themselves, and their needs, and to work through the issues of the trauma that has gone on in their lives.

I’m grateful we’re able to provide the children with everything they need so that they can focus on what they need to be doing: just being kids.