Connie Ellis always gets a little nervous when LifeWire’s phone rings. As a volunteer, she works the Bellevue organization’s helpline for survivors of domestic violence. The calls that come in can range from a woman fleeing an abusive husband and in need of a new place to hide to a mother overwhelmed with shame and looking for someone to talk to. Ellis is that person.
Becky met her former husband while backpacking in Australia. They married in Britain, but she followed him to the Eastside.
Looking back, Becky realized the abuse started while they were dating but became steadily worse after they married. He controlled all of their finances and criticized her for buying things even though they both had good-paying jobs.
Over time the violence became more physical. He shoved her and hit their dog. Finally, he strangled her. Becky reached out to LifeWire for safety planning and financial support as she worked to leave her abuser and start a new life.
During October’s Domestic Violence Action Month, LifeWire’s Executive Director, Rachel Krinsky, domestic violence survivor, Becky, spoke with Gary Shipe about domestic violence and you can do to help survivors.
Women and children are not part of the homeless communities we typically see in our region. You don’t pass by them on your way to work or see them at a freeway on-ramp. Yet about half of homeless people are families, and domestic violence remains a leading cause of homelessness among women and children in the U.S. today.
“Eighty percent of homeless women with children have experienced domestic violence,” said Rachel Krinsky, LifeWire’s Executive Director. “Right here in Washington state, families with children represent nearly half of the 20,000 people experiencing homelessness on any given night.”
For 20 years, Anna lived under the abuse and control of her American husband, who refused to allow her to become a U.S. citizen. Despite her efforts to obtain a Green Card, she needed her husband’s approval. Instead of signing her paperwork, he held the threat of deportation over her head as a method of control.
Since 1982, we’ve held to one simple belief: that every person – regardless of race, religion, immigration status, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, or experience – deserves to live in a safe environment, free from oppression, and with the opportunity to thrive.
We’ve opened our doors day after day to survivors who have the incredible amounts of courage and strength needed to persevere. We’ve cried with you and celebrated with you. We’ve felt your pain and your joy.
We know that we will continue to face obstacles and opposing views in the coming years. Many people will try their hardest to normalize the violence and abuse you’ve experienced.