Between 600,000 and 6 million women, and between 100,000 and 6 million men are victims of domestic violence each year (depending on the type of survey used to obtain the data.) More than three million child abuse reports and allegations were made in 2009, involving an estimated 6 million children. (Statistics from the Domestic Violence Resource Center)
Everyone wants to live a safe life, in a safe world. Yet for victims of domestic violence such safety is non-existent, as their lives are ruled by unpredictable and ever-present threats of mental or physical abuse. The only safe place is in their minds, within imaginary worlds of freedom and happiness.
The cycle of domestic abuse follows a predictable pattern. It begins with the deplorable torture of one human being by another, followed by untold apologies by the abuser and forgiveness always granted by the abused. It is a repetitive cruelty which once begun, becomes an ingrained way of life. That is why abuse victims struggle to stop or prevent the torture. It is life as they know it, in a pattern they have learned to accept and survive. And the stark reality is that to change such abuse requires incredible personal strength and courage, along with a great deal of professional support.
The Family Justice Center, headquartered in downtown Buffalo, understands what it takes for victims of domestic violence to choose such change. They know that when a woman or a man walks through their doors, odds are they will leave and return 6 times before finding the courage to change their abusive lives. That’s six times sharing the sordid details, showing the bruises and broken bones and displaying the mental instabilities that these victims have learned to accept as a way of life. Six times before the kindness of the FJC staff, the caring of their counselors and the support of their legal advisors can assure victims that a safe world does exist outside of their minds.
One year ago the FJC opened a satellite office in partnership with the Orchard Park Presbyterian Church. There was a time when the need for such community outreach seemed unimaginable in the affluent Southtowns village and neighboring towns. It was only the privately tortured life and death of Aasiya Zubair Hassan, suffered at the hands of her abusive husband that revealed the community’s secret need.
Since opening their doors last February on the anniversary of Hassan’s death, the FJC Orchard Park satellite has counseled and aided 96 victims of domestic violence. That’s 2 people every week searching for a way to safely end the abuse and begin again. And as FJC continues to serve the Southtowns, officials are hopeful that more victims will find the courage to step forward and seek the safe life options that their satellite location provides.
On the FJC website, their stated purpose is to offer the choice of a new life where violence stops, where families heal and where hope is realized. And as any domestic violence survivor will tell you, to be able to live a safe life, in a safe world, as only imagined in their mind.
For information about the Family Justice Center and their one year anniversary celebration of the Orchard Park Southtowns satellite call, (716) 558-SAFE 97233 or consult their website http://fjcsafe.org/event_details.php?eventid=57