I was on the air Wednesday when I was told that The Faith House in Ville Platte was being shut down due to “budget cuts”. My tears immediately began. It was an awful, awful tragedy in my heart. I immediately began to think of women who need or will need the services of The Faith House. Those women who are being abused by their mate or who will in the future be abused by their mate. You see, there will always be someone being abused. Someone will always need the help of The Faith House. You may not know her today, but you may know her in the future. She may be the one that comes to work with a bruise on her arm and jokes that she “ran into a door”, she may the one that you see in the grocery store and she’s sporting sunglasses and a ball cap to hide that black eye. She may be your sister, mother, daughter, aunt, grandmother, and she could be your wife.
Domestic violence is real, very real. It has taken the lives of many thousands of women who did not or could not get the help they need. The lives of the ones who did not escape it.
Please understand that abuse is not just slapping or punching a woman. It comes in the form of isolation, cutting her off of any money, mocking and ridiculing, screaming and cursing and other verbal abuse. And, don’t forget the sexual abuse. These are factors in a woman’s life that she may not even recognize until it’s too late. Then, when she needs help, it is organizations like The Faith House who step in and help her with assistance from the Court, reforming her life and the lives of her children, providing clothing and necessities and helping her start a new life. When was the last time you had to ask someone for a bar of soap or deodorant? People do not always realize that some women have to leave in the dead of night just to survive. And, sometimes that means she leaves with nothing except the clothes she has on.
It takes bravery and help to escape domestic violence. That help comes in the form of Faith House. I have been an advocate of Faith House and have helped raise money and supplies for them for the past three years because I know that the need is real. I’ve seen it and I have lived it.
Yes, believe it or not I know how it feels to be a domestic violence survivor. I am not ashamed, I am totally blessed that others in my community knew about the abuse and stepped up to help us leave. Our church provided me with guidance and Faith House opened my eyes to what I had been dealing with.
This state needs not only more resources for battered women, but we need to educate our daughters on the signs of abuse and how to not only recognize it, but to absolutely not stand for it and report it. We are lagging very far behind other states in not only helping abuse victims start a new life, but protecting them from further abuse.
We have all watched as lawmakers have fought the battle of the budget every year and we always know someone’s going to “get the hatchet”. Normally, we see colleges and universities, hospitals, etc., take it for the team. But, this year strikes my heart and it should hurt yours.
I spoke with the Executive Director of Faith House, Bobbi Lacombe, and she said they tried to hold out as long as they could before they closed the Evangeline Parish office. The St. Landry and Acadia offices closed 6 months ago. She assured me that the resources are still going to be there for victims in Evangeline Parish. They now will have to call the Lafayette shelter where they can assist you. Advocates are available by phone 24-hours a day on the
CRISIS LINE at 1-888-411-1333
Lacombe said most of their funding comes from the United Way and that due to the recent devastating floods, reduction in oil field labor and other factors, budgets for non-profits are way down. She said they saw a 50% reduction in donations and lost over $100,000.00 last year. They are still waiting for July 1st to see what is allocated. They could see more reductions but they are hopeful.
I read an article on the air this week about Phil Jackson being fired from the NY Knicks. The man received $60 million dollars for three years of work. That is a staggering $50,000 per day. I don’t know about you, but to me that is a lot of money. When we celebrate things in our society like professional ball, concerts, expensive cars, monetary items and celebrities, don’t you think it is incumbent upon us to also recognize those who go forgotten in our society? Those who do not have a voice and may not even have a place to lay their head. It’s time to get back to basic humanity. I for one, will continue to fight against domestic violence and I welcome anyone who wants to come on the journey with me.
If you would like to donate to Faith House, you can donate online at faithhouseacadiana.com or you can mail them to Faith House, PO Box 93145, Lafayette, LA 70509.