Posted by: unlikelygrad | March 14, 2011

March charity: Project Safeguard

I haven’t only put off posting my March charity because I was busy, or because I was low on money (though that was true, too). I’ve put it off because this is a charity I am eager to donate to, one I believe in.

Project Safeguard is a local charity that provides legal assistance to victims of domestic violence. When people think of DV they usually think of a man punching a woman, but there is far more to it than that.

To put it simply, abuse is all about control. If a man’s partner doesn’t do what he wants, he can physically intimidate her into obeying his wishes, or he can make verbal threats that make her afraid to contradict him. He can make her feel so stupid that she feels incapable of making decisions, then make those decisions for her. An abuser tends to isolate his victim from potential support networks, so she doesn’t think anyone will help her. (Plus, she may not even realize that what’s happening is abnormal.)

People may ask: “Yeah, well why does she stay? She can leave any time she wants.” Quite simply: a victim of abuse gets to the point where she thinks there is no escape. Usually an abuser controls all of the money, so she doesn’t have the funds to set up housekeeping elsewhere, never mind hire a lawyer. If she has kids, the abuser can use them as leverage to keep her where he wants her to be.

There are plenty of shelters for abused women out there (and I encourage you to donate to one in your area). But what I like about Project Safeguard is that it provides what DV victims need more than anything–legal services. Because the only real escape from DV is a permanent escape.

From the Project Safeguard FAQ:

If he doesn’t hit me is it still domestic violence?
Abuse takes many forms:

  • Hitting;
  • Slapping;
  • Pushing;
  • Shoving;
  • Forcing unwanted sexual contact on you

are just some of the physical symptoms.

  • Isolation from friends and family;
  • Not allowing you to have access to bank accounts or money of your own;
  • Tracking mileage;
  • Tracking what you spend at the grocery store;
  • Monitoring phone calls;
  • Frequently calling to see where you are or who you are with;
  • Jealousy;
  • Threats to harm himself if you leave; and
  • Publicly embarrassing you, insults, belittling, and name-calling

can all be symptoms of domestic violence.

(To this I would add the most tell-tale sign of DV: “crazy-making”, aka gaslighting, which you can read about here and here.)

More about emotional abuse here.

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