What is Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence is an escalating pattern of abuse in which one person in an intimate relationship does a variety of things to control another person. (By “intimate” we mean marriage, dating or former partners.) The shift in power can happen very slowly, over a period of time, so that the other person cannot even remember when it happened. Or it can happen very quickly after there is some sort of commitment or some change in the level of intimacy.
Many people wonder if what is happening to them is domestic violence because their partner has never hit them. Physical abuse is probably what most people think of with domestic violence, but it is just ONE of MANY ways that your partner might try to gain power and control in your relationship.
While every relationship has its own unique rhythm and patterns, most victims experience domestic violence in a cycle of three repeating phases that escalate over time: the tension-building phase, the explosion phase or acute battering incident, and the hearts and flowers phase. During the tension-building phase, you may feel like you are “walking on eggshells,” like you need to calm and placate your partner to try to prevent an explosion. When this tension becomes too extreme, the control or violence escalates into an explosive release of tension, called an acute battering incident. Finally, the hearts and flowers phase can bring apologies, promises, gifts, and efforts to repair and strengthen the relationship. This phase can feel hopeful, like your partner will change and the relationship will get better. Over time, the kindness and apologies of the hearts and flowers phase often disappear as abuse escalates.
You Are Not Alone
According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), “one in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime and an estimated 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year.”
If we apply the NCADV statistic to all women ages 18 years and older in our four-county service area, there are approximately 15,000 victims in the service area who need our help: (Source).
All services are FREE and provided to anyone, regardless of age, sex, race, religion, ethnicity or income.
24-Hour, 365 Days a Year Help Line:
The WRC staff and volunteers provide victims and survivors with critical support including information about the medical and legal systems, safety planning and information about the effects of domestic violence and sexual assault.
This service is provided at the emergency shelter and at the WRC offices in Traverse City, Benzonia, Kalkaska and Lake Leelanau. The One-on-One support is available for any individual victimized by domestic violence, their families and friends.
Group support combines counseling and peer support in a relaxed, safe atmosphere. The WRC hosts empowerment groups for victims of domestic violence in Traverse City, Benzie, Kalkaska and Leelanau counties. Upon request, the WRC provides group support on-site in area schools, businesses and social service agencies.
The WRC provides emergency shelter to women and their children who are victims of domestic violence. During their residency at Helen’s House, assistance is provided to attain resources for meeting immediate and future needs. Emergency shelter for male victims is provided through collaborative agreements with other area agencies.
The WRC owns and operates Madeleine’s House a transitional home where clients can sign a lease, pay a portion of rent and are allowed to stay for up to two years.
Information and Referral:
The WRC refers clients to other area resources and agencies for assistance with finances, counseling, legal issues, substance abuse, housing and other needs.
WRC staff and volunteers advocate with other agencies on behalf of clients when needed to access medical, legal, housing or other resources. Advocates also provide assistance with obtaining, enforcing, modifying and terminating personal protection orders.
Crime Victim’s Compensation:
WRC staff and volunteers help clients file claims for Crime Victim’s Compensation, a program that helps pay out-of-pocket medical expenses, lost earnings and funeral bills. It also provides reimbursement for grief counseling, crime scene clean-up or other financial assistance.
Thrift Shop and Other Direct Assistance:
The WRC operates a full-service resale shop. Clients and other community members can obtain clothing, furniture and other household goods free-of-charge. When funds are available, the WRC also provides scholarships, assistance with transportation needs, rent, security deposits, utilities and other financial resources.