Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

Photo by Jenny Steffens Hobick @
It is that time of year when we stop to give thanks for all of our many blessings. We at Hope House are extremely blessed.

We are blessed to be a part of this wonderful community; a caring community that reaches out to us in so many ways. People are amazing in how creative they are in helping us with our many needs!

Here are a few examples of things that people have done for us in the past that may give you a great idea for how your family, office or church can get involved with Hope House:

- Invite your neighbors over and ask them to bring a new, unwrapped gift for our holiday store. In return, they get hot chocolate and cookies made by your kids.

- Teach a Girl Scouts group how to crochet and have them create tiny blankets for our newborns.

- Hold a wiffle ball tournament with a percent of entry fees coming to Hope House. Get your kids’ schoolmates involved.

Did this list get you thinking creatively? If so, contact our Volunteer Manager, Gretchen, at 816-257-9342 or to discuss the details.

We thank you for your support and for thinking of us throughout the year. We couldn’t do the work we do without the involvement of our community. We are grateful to everyone who has touched our lives as we work to break the cycle of domestic violence.

We wish everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Penn State Scandal

Jerry Sandusky photo by AP.

This past week I have been following the news from Penn State and learning about the alleged horrendous abuse that occurred over many years to innocent young children.

I understand that Jerry Sandusky has claimed his innocence of these allegations; however, I read in horror that many people knew about “suspicious” activity occurring but they never followed through or did anything to investigate.  

It is so familiar to hear people respond by saying, “He was a coach and founder of a children’s charity. How could he do this? How could he be a well-respected member of the community and a sexual predator of young children at the same time?”  

In Mr. Sandusky's case a court of law will determine his guilt or innocence, but every day there are those that appear to be model citizens who torture and abuse innocent victims behind closed doors. It is unimaginable to think they could be a coach, a minister, or a judge. It goes against our way of thinking that people can perpetrate such hideous crimes against others, especially children.

We see victims of domestic violence every day who have struggled alone in silence because they didn’t think anyone would believe that their abuser, a respected upstanding citizen, could also be a torturer at home. I heard the same thing reportedly said by those young boys: they didn’t feel they could say anything because no one would believe them or care.

Unfortunately, in this situation, it certainly appears those were valid concerns. People did see the abuse happening, reported it and nothing happened. How can any child feel that they should continue to report? 

What threats are made to hold them hostage in the vicious cycle of abuse?  There are so many similarities to how domestic violence and child abuse occur: trapping victims and perpetuating the belief that they are alone, no one cares, and nothing can be done to stop it.

My heart goes out to all those who have experienced abuse by someone they love or trust. I am sickened that it took so long for this to come to light. How many victims could have been saved endless torture and years of recovery had someone stepped in to help them?

We must all speak up when we see someone being abused; we may be their only hope. We must stop the abuse that is happening in our society before another innocent person becomes a victim. 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Judge Beats Daughter With a Belt

I was horrified at the video released by Hillary Adams that showed her father, Judge William Adams, beating her with a belt and cursing at her extensively. WARNING: this video is extremely graphic and very difficult to watch.
Her mother, Hallie, is also seen hitting Hillary with a belt and yelling at her. Many of the videos’ commenters ask what would possess a mother to allow this to happen, and worse, participate in the cruelty?

Hallie reports that she was also a victim of domestic violence, was brainwashed and had to do everything her husband said.  Is it possible that Hallie participated to the extent that she did to try to keep her daughter safe?

My first thought when I saw Hallie in the video was that she is a battered woman and is doing this to protect her child. If she can make her husband think she agrees with him, then she might be able to calm him down. If she participates and hits Hillary with the belt herself, then maybe he will stop. Pure speculation on my part, but something I’d like you to consider.

Many say if abuse is going on in the home, the mother should leave.
 In this situation, Judge Adams is a Family Court Judge; he makes decisions every day on who gets to keep their kids and who doesn’t! It’s quite possible Hallie felt that if she left her husband, she would lose custody of Hillary. What are the chances Hallie would have retained custody? 

Wasn’t Hillary better off with Hallie in the home acting as a mediator and working to protect Hillary from her father? What if Hallie did leave and lost custody? Hillary would have been in the home alone with her father, with no mother to help protect her. As counter intuitive as it sounds, sometimes staying is the safer option.  

I am not suggesting that exposing children to child abuse is a good thing.
  I am only pointing out how difficult the choices are that a mother often has to make. Most of the mothers I have worked with care more about their children than themselves.
I am not defending Hallie’s actions; I’m just trying to make everyone look at the situation from another point of view. Let’s remember that the monster in this story is Judge Adams, not his battered wife.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The $10,000,000 Wedding That Lasted 72 Days

Photo by
I must admit that I do watch some reality TV but I have not been a follower of the Kardashian Family… that is until recently.

It’s hard not to know what is going on with this family since the big wedding and now the big divorce.  The family is everywhere. I‘m perplexed by the interest in them and their never-ending adventures.

But now, I’m so angry that I have found myself watching and listening when the media reports the Kardashian’s newest drama. I don’t know why I do this since it raises my blood pressure and causes me to use words that are highly inappropriate!

Why am I angry?

Because these people waste money just because they can. I am sickened by the fact that 10 MILLION DOLLARS was spent on one wedding. REALLY?! What does someone need to have at a wedding that costs $10,000,000?

I understand that people have different standards than I do, but again I say: REALLY?! You must spend that type of money?

Since the big wedding I have been spouting off to anyone around me who will listen about this outrageous spending. And now that the marriage lasted a whopping 72 days, I am even more livid!

What does their spending have to do with me?
Do you know what $10,000,000 could do for non-profit organizations? I cringe when I think about how many lives could have been saved if that money had been donated to the domestic violence programs across this country.  Hope House alone serves over 10,000 people every year through our programming. How many more could we serve and assist with $10,000,000, or even $1,000,000? 

Lives are at stake every day in the work we do. We scramble for every penny we get, and yet the Kardashian’s reality is so different from ours that they can throw away millions of dollars for a party. That is just plain wrong and it is shameful.

I am so grateful for all of the supporters that we have. Sometimes they don’t have much themselves, yet they consider others and their needs. They are helping us to break the cycle of violence every day.

I can only hope that someday Kim Kardashian and others who have so much will look at the resources available to them and say, “You know what? I have enough. Instead of throwing this money down the drain, I am going to donate it to a worthwhile charity.” 

Until then, I am afraid those around me will continue to hear me rant.