Monday, April 13, 2015
Our Lives Depend On It Fund Crime Victims Services Yellow Medicine: The Power of 3
After witnessing years of emotional and physical abuse, Jenny is now surviving the horror of her mother’s murder – Granite Falls’ third domestic violence homicide in two years. Now, Jenny and I are working with the complex struggle to re-build a life shattered by domestic abuse. My name is Becci. I work at Women’s Rural Advocacy Program (WRAP) providing essential services to domestic abuse survivors, including family members of homicide victims, like Jenny. WRAP has a staff of 3 domestic violence advocates. Three of us provide core public safety services to Lyon, Lincoln, and Yellow Medicine counties with a total population of over 41,000 Minnesotans spread across 2,000 square miles. Due to the decreased funding of Crime Victims Services, WRAP does not have the money for me to have an office in Yellow Medicine County, so I work from my home and car. I am devoted to this work and believe in providing consistent support. I work evenings, weekends, sometimes even on a day off – despite my long hours and dedication, there are times I have to say “I can’t help you.” Every three weeks, I run the 24-hour crisis line alone, answering victims calls – from all 3 counties, at all times of the day. While juggling the crisis line, I also attend order for protection hearings. I help victims at hearings where they must look at the perpetrators who have raped and abused them. I get women to emergency shelter in the middle of the night. I help victims maintain their jobs and housing as they struggle with the trauma of abuse. I sit with family members at funerals and wakes. I help find counseling for children who have witnessed violence at home – the list goes on. With 3 domestic violence homicides in 2 years, the community of Granite Falls is asking me to be even more present in that community, and I dread saying these three words: “I can’t help.” I’m here to help the victims regain control over their lives. When I pick up the phone I want to say: “Yes, I can help you.” On behalf of advocates and victims across the state – fund crime victims services. Our lives depend on it.