[vimeo 60798720 w=792 h=446] We are incredibly excited to partner with a local non-profit group, Project Safe Inc., as part of this year’s Easter Offering. Project Safe works to end domestic violence through crisis intervention, ongoing supportive services, prevention and education, and systems change advocacy. Several women in our church work or intern with Project Safe; I asked them to tell a story about how they were challenged to face up to the reality of domestic violence, or a way they had seen God blessing people through their work at Project Safe. This is (some!) of what they shared.
I am the community & legal advocate so when people need legal protection from their abusive partners, I go to court with them and file the orders. I also lead a support group for survivors and provide case management.
I had been working with a client for months whose husband tried to kill her then kill himself. My client suffered serious injuries and had several surgeries from that incident. Her husband is facing several felony charges. After working with her for several months, I learned that my client had begun talking to her abusive husband and was considering getting back together with him. She has left multiple times over the course of their 25+ year marriage and it broke my heart to know she was even considering going back to him.
Knowing that about her challenged me in so many ways personally and professionally. I wanted to do anything in my power to show her that she is worth more than she knows and that if she goes back, she may not have another chance to leave because her husband may kill her. After I got off the phone with her and found that out, I just cried. The reality for her then was that the unknown of life without her husband is scarier than life with him. I kept having to remind myself that the Lord is sovereign and that even though I have no idea what will happen to this client or if she will decide to go back, the Lord knows and he cares for her deeply. It's been a month or so since that conversation with my client, and she has decided not to go back to her husband.
At Project Safe I am a Night and Weekend Staff member. I work directly with our hotline, shelter, and residents. Most of my shifts will be from 9PM-8AM, 9PM-9AM, or during the day on the weekends. During the days, we usually have 4-6 people in the shelter at a time, taking care of the needs of the shelter and such, but at night we are to take on all of the responsibility of the residents and the prospective clients that call the hotline in need of emergency shelter, outreach services (Sarah Penfold), referrals, or whatever else may come about. I would say we work the closest with our resident clients, as we spend a lot more of our time with our clients from intake to the time that they exit the shelter.
One night, a resident came to me with tears streaming down her face. She wanted to talk with me about what had happened. I took her to the office and asked her to tell me what was wrong. Her son was killed a couple years back, she might have cancer, she has no money to her name, her family would not speak to her because of the abuse she had endured, and her husband had put a price on her head.
Something in my heart told me to pray with her. I had never asked a stranger to pray with me before, and was not going to start now. I tried to ignore the voice, but as she continued to speak, I could not avoid it. Before I realized what I was saying, I had asked her if she wanted to pray with me. She looked at me and said, “Yes, please.” I held her hands and prayed for her with her. When I opened my eyes, she was looking at me. She had told me that no one had prayed for her before . . . and that she could not describe how good it made it her feel. She said she had never felt “loved” and that praying with me, that was all she could feel. I said, “Jesus has a way of making you feel that way.” She smiled, and exited the office.
She ended up not having cancer. Her husband was not released, and Project Safe, Inc. had set up counseling for her. She told me that she felt like, “God was listening.”
I was so encouraged. THE POWER OF PRAYER!
I am a Social Work intern at Project Safe. The past semester I spent all of my time at the shelter, assisting with case management (which really just means helping the residents with whatever they are working on, and helping with communication between staff and residents). I answered the business line, assisted in coordinating volunteers, and answered our 24 hour domestic violence crisis hotline.
Something that really hit me when hard in my time with PSI was when a girl came into the shelter that was my age, and a student at UGA. I had even had a class with her abuser . . . that was when it really clicked with me that it can happen to anyone.