A Mother's Day Gift
Instead of sending flowers to the Mom's in your life for Mother's Day, send a gift that will impact the Mom's served by CASA. Make a gift to CASA by Friday, May 4th and we will send a beautiful card in your name to the special Mothers you care about. The flowers will fade, but your gift to CASA will make a lasting impact. Click Here Now!
and Socio-Economic Class
by Shannon Collins, LCSW
One of my most memorable moments working with survivors of domestic violence occurred when a professional, upper middle class woman who usually referred other survivors to my office ended up sitting in the chair across from me as a survivor herself. Her shame was so profound that she had become an expert at concealing her abusive relationship. She suffered in silence until the abuse became so horrific that she could no longer hide it from her colleagues. Like many of us, she had internalized the myth that domestic violence was something that happened to other people, not to educated professionals like herself.
Advocates against domestic violence have been arguing for many years that domestic violence knows no boundaries. We know that it can happen to people who are poor and wealthy, young and old, and it can happen to people regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation. We know that there are many reasons that people stay in abusive relationships for as long as they do, and that financial dependence is only one of those reasons. We know these things to be true in an academic sense, yet we can still internalize stereotypes based on socio-economic status.
Research consistently shows that economic hardship is directly correlated with an increase in risk for domestic violence. In other words, the poorer a person is, the more likely it is that she will experience domestic violence. However, critics point out that middle and upper class survivors may have access to resources that conceal their abuse. For instance, they may see private doctors and therapists or stay in hotels when they need to leave home, versus using emergency rooms, government agencies, or nonprofit shelters that may be more likely to collect and disseminate data about the abuse. Often the shame is so great that survivors may not reveal the abuse even after they have left the relationship, particularly if the abuser is someone with stature in the community.
The reality is that regardless of the socio-economic status of a survivor, domestic violence causes individuals to experience economic hardship. It is common in abusive relationships for survivors to become financially dependent on the abuser and face financial stress or poverty if and when they choose to leave the relationship. Often when a person leaves an abusive relationship, she leaves behind her home and her car, escaping with little more than the clothes on her back. More . . .
Shannon Collins received her MSW from the University of South Carolina in 1999. Since then, she has contributed to efforts to end violence against women through her work as a crisis counselor, advocate, and program director. She specializes in violence against teens and young adults and has worked and studied at the University of South Carolina, Georgetown University, and the University of Chicago. She currently resides in St. Petersburg, where she is raising her two young children and serving as a volunteer for CASA.
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Vicki and Rick Franklin at their restaurant, Cody's Original Roadhouse on Park Street North in St. Petersburg, auctioning items to raise money for CASA on Saturday, March 24th. Shelley Gold, a 22-year employee at the restaurant, was killed by her boyfriend at their home in January. An overwhelming response of grief, and a need to help other victims of domestic violence, led to this special event. Nearly $14,000 was raised in one morning from sales of t-shirts, baked goods and an auction of donations from one-of-kind photographs to a weekend stay at the Don Cesar. Rick and Vicki have plans to continue supporting CASA and the many friends of "Our Shelley" by creating a second event in October during Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
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Alison, Suzanne, Vicky, Elise, Stacy and Susan (on floor), some of the members of Team Hope, volunteers who furnish and decorate CASA Transitional Housing apartments for new residents. Team Hope has furnished eight apartments to date, and have been the subject of an ABC Action News story about their generosity and creativity in helping survivors of domestic violence in Pinellas County get the new start they need to build happy and successful lives for themselves and their children.
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Leave a Legacy when planning your estate.
Including the following information for your bequest will allow you to impact the future of survivors of domestic violence and their children:
Community Action Stops Abuse (CASA)
P.O. Box 414
St. Petersburg, Florida 33731
Federal Tax I.D. #59-2114359
For more information, contact Stuart Berger, Development Director, at (727) 895-4912 x 114,
or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
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