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Sue Curfman, President and CEO

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For the time it takes you to read this sentence, the National Domestic Violence Hotline will have received two calls from victims of abuse.

The leading victims of domestic violence are women, regardless of age, race, religion, nationality, educational background or economic status. One in three women experience abuse by their intimate partner.

On a national scale, one in four women will experience domestic or sexual violence. In Missouri, 140,000 domestic violence incidents were officially reported in 2012.

A parent could expect one of their four daughters to experience domestic violence.

A classmate could expect one or more of their female friends to experience domestic violence.

A homeowner could expect one of their adjacent female neighbors to experience domestic violence.

Walk away. Leave the relationships. Find a new place to live. Talk to someone. Get help.

How many mothers, daughters, and friends did not survive the last 24 hours at the hands of their perpetrator or abuser?

For a victim, leaving the abusive situation may be the most difficult decision of their life, even if it is to preserve their own life.

On average, a victim will return to the abuser seven times before successfully breaking the cycle. Resources, support, provision, finances, and safety are often the leading factors for leaving a situation.

Abusers use the power of fear to control the minds and emotions of victims.

If I leave, I will not survive. If I leave, I will lose my family. If I leave, I will be at fault.

In order to combat the fear of leaving, domestic violence shelters provide victims a safe place to escape. Shelters offer resources, support, counseling, safety, and family to the most vulnerable and in-need community members.

According to 79 shelters in Missouri, over 10,000 victims and their children received safe shelter, while 17,500 of those in need were turned away due to lack of resources.

The domestic violence shelter in Jefferson County, A Safe Place, a division of COMTREA, saw a 24 percent increase from 2016 to 2017 in families referred to other agencies because of full capacity.

A Safe Place, a division of COMTREA, was able to provide 6,289 nights of safety in 2017, but the demand greatly exceeds the shelter’s capacity.

Recognizing this crisis, a Friends of A Safe Place Foundation was created and launched a capital campaign for Mary’s House of Hope at A Safe Place with the purpose of building additional housing for survivors of domestic violence in Jefferson County.

The build will offer apartment style living spaces. Residents may stay for two years, as they participate in a self-empowerment program and receive counseling, employment assistance, support, and resources to transition to an independent, sustainable life.

Help break the cycle of domestic violence in Jefferson County by raising awareness, by talking about it openly, volunteering at A Safe Place domestic violence shelter, a division of COMTREA, and by donating to build transitional housing.

Learn more and donate to building housing for survivors at www.comtrea.org/campaign.

If you are a victim of domestic violence, call the 24 hour national hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE or A Safe Place, a division of COMTREA, at 636-232-2301.

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COMTREA Main Office: Festus, Missouri   Phone: 636-931-2700   Fax: 636-931-5304                                     

This health center receives HHS funding and has Federal Public Health Services (PHS) deemed status with respect to certain health or health-related claims, including medical malpractice claims, for itself and its covered individuals.

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