Imagine your name is Amy. You live in a rural area without a car. There is no close public transportation. Your partner controls all the finances in the house. You don’t have a land line–no one does anymore–and the cell phone is usually with your partner when he is at work. How would you get help if you needed it?
While the physical location of FVPC is in the center of downtown Chapel Hill (a hub of activity from morning until late night, especially when the university is in session) we serve all of Orange County. Orange County is large and much of it is “country”. Many of our clients are in a similar situation as Amy. They may be able to call our office once or meet one of our advocates in our Hillsborough office or in court. In the short amount of time that we work with them we can accomplish a great deal, however. We can safety plan, discuss shelter (if they are ready to leave or considering leaving), give them a 911 cell phone, discuss protective orders and do some immediate crisis counseling.
We can also refer them, if it is safe, to a few websites which are helpful resources for women affected by domestic violence. Once such website is WomensLaw.org. There are safety planning tips, information about domestic violence, where to find help (local, state and community resources) and information about the individual rights and the law. One of the best sections is on staying safe in rural areas, which is very applicable for many clients in our area.
What can you do? Donate a cell phone! Or start a cell phone drive at your church, business or school. It’s an easy way to make a difference in someone’s life. And, of course, be a resource for those who do need help. Refer them to our 24-hour hotline 929-7122, our website or this blog.