Services to abused families needs our support

By Hope A. Smith
Special to the Rappahannock News
What if you found yourself in a situation where you’d been beaten by your spouse, boyfriend or other family member? You might seek assistance from law enforcement, other family members or friends or even need to go the hospital for emergency treatment. After you have taken any or all of these actions what do you do next? Going back home may not be an option! Are you aware that there is of a free and confidential resource located in Culpeper that can provide you safe shelter and support?

Services to Abused Families Inc., (SAFE) has been helping survivors of domestic and sexual violence in Culpeper, Orange, Madison, Fauquier and Rappahannock counties for more than 30 years. Unfortunately, the financial crisis straining the resources of local and state governments is also impacting the support they can provide to nonprofit agencies like SAFE. Why should this matter to you?

According to the Web site, on average more than three women a day are killed by their boyfriends or husbands. Nearly one in four women in the United States reports experiencing violence by a current or former spouse or boyfriend at some point in her life. In 2007, there were 248,300 rapes or sexual assaults reported — how many were not reported for fear of retribution? A horrifying fact for us parents of teen girls: Approximately one in three adolescent girls in the United States is a victim of physical, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner — a figure that far exceeds victimization rates for other types of violence affecting youth.

The facts and figures above are just the tip of the iceberg. Unfortunately, the state of the economy only brings those figures up. Folks are out of work, raising stress levels; the higher the stress level, the more likely the perpetrators are to take their frustrations out on their victims, their spouse and children. Regrettably, funding available to support domestic and sexual violence shelters and services have already been eliminated by our local governments. They may want to support these valuable services but they simply no longer are able to.

SAFE needs your immediate support — it’s a necessity that this community cannot lose.

Many of us personally know folks who have directly benefitted from SAFE, and some can even give SAFE credit for saving their lives. Just think if everyone in each county donated $1 to help SAFE save lives and break the cycle of family violence. I just sent in my $10 donation of support. What will you do? If you recognize the importance of this agency as much as I do and many have, you will send your donation to Services to Abused Families, PO Box 402, Culpeper, VA 22701, or contact me in care of this newspaper.

Most of us know someone who has been the victim of domestic and/or sexual violence, or know of someone. Agencies such as SAFE are a vital part of our community, and they must survive, even in a downturned economy. Please, help stop the cycle by contributing — are you up to the challenge?

A fundraiser benefit for SAFE, “Words and Wine.” is scheduled atPrince Michel Winery in Madison County for Sept. 25 from 6 to 9 p.m. Guests will hear central Virginia authors speak, participate in book signings, enjoy good food and wine and bid on auction items, all for a worthy cause. Email for more information.

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