Mary*, knew her long-term marriage was hurting her both physically and emotionally, yet she felt trapped. One day her husband tried to back the car over her while her children stood helplessly watching and screaming for her.
These stories are far too common. Every 36-minutes an Arizona police officer responds to a domestic violence incident where a child is present (Arizona Governor’s Office). Unfortunately, the lessons of violence and coercion children learn while living in a domestic violence environment can stay with them for a lifetime.
Fortunately, resources exist for women in children in these terrible situations. Chrysalis is one such safe haven.
Founded in the early 1980’s, the name Chrysalis is defined as the “growth that creates an independent being”. Chrysalis moves beyond shelter and seeks to rebuild victims into confident, self-assured women and mothers.
“We [Chrysalis] are unique in that we serve both victims and offenders of domestic violence,” said Director of Community Affairs, Lorie Simms. “We offer such an array of services because we recognize that not everyone experiencing abuse is in need of shelter. Our services give them a wide variety of options to explore what they need to remain safe and rebuild their lives.”
Those services include: crisis shelter, transitional housing, outpatient counseling, children’s therapy, victim advocacy in the courts, lay legal advocacy and an offender treatment program.
In this difficult economical climate, women are experiencing even more barriers as they pursue a violence free life. Not only is finding sustainable employment difficult in this challenging economic climate, but the services they rely on to stay safe are bleeding funds. Over the last 18 months, Chrysalis has received close to $100,000 in funding reductions from the Department of Economic Security alone.
“We have a phenomenal staff and volunteer base,” said Simms. “We know everyone is stretched thin with their ability to help Chrysalis and that our efforts are depended on by so many people who need our services.”
And those efforts come with tremendous rewards.
A year later, Mary* is living a very different life thanks to her personal courage and the support of Chrysalis’ Transitional Housing program. Mary works and pursues a professional degree, while raising three children on her own. Her most notable reminder of her new life is when her oldest son tells her at night how happy he is to feel normal again.
Looking for ways to help? Individuals and groups can also visit Chrysalis’ Action Center on their website to learn about easy ways to raise funds on their behalf (www.noabuse.org).
If you know someone who is experiencing abuse in their relationship, let them know that they are not alone and that there are places like Chrysalis that can help. Chrysalis has a 24 hour hotline available 602-944-4999.