Friday, April 08, 2005

domestic violence has another voice

This morning I was reading an article in the Houston Chronicle online. Melissa Noriega is introducing a bill stating that a lease can be broken when domestic violence occurs at a residence. At first glance this may seem like a " duh " issue.
As it stands now in Texas and most likely in other states as well you can still be held liable for breaking a lease if you have to move away unexpectedly because of domestic violence.
Many women ( and some men too ) have found themselves in a situation their personal safety as well as that of their children and family members are in jeopardy if they stay where they were when the violence took place.
We find ourselves looking at so many issues as it is. In my case when I left my abuser I left with only the clothes on my back. No money; no resources to get anything. My immediate concern was I had waited for my escape plan to unfold and when the opportunity presented itself I had to take it.
Much like facing a natural disaster only more private.
While in shelter there were women who were faced with this very problem of the breaking of the lease.
It was another hardship they faced in trying to rebuild a life for themselves and their family.
Texas has initiated some help for victims of domestic violence that is in place. There is a law if you prove you have been a victim of domestic violence the deposits for utilitiy hookups are waived.
Melissa Noriega is to be commended for bringing this to light. Attached to this bill also is another addendum that also allows a serviceperson to break a lease if called away to war.
Again, wouldn't you think this was already in place?
She is serving as a representative in her husband's place because he is serving our country in Iraq.
He may be the only representative serving in the Armed Forces. His name is Rick Noriega.
Thanks to both the Noriega's for serving our country at this time in our history. And Melissa isn't a puppet in his place. She seems to bring her own causes to the front.
Personally, I think the laws should be uniform across the country for victims of domestic violence. So many of us have had to relocate. I knew of women that had to go into the Witness Protection Program through the United States Marshall's Office.
We carry the physical, emotional and psychological scars. the financial scars should be as minimal as possible.
As a side note. It is springtime and we are focused on spring cleaning and purging what is in our closets, etc.
Keep in mind shelters that assist the homeless and victims of abuse when you are going through your things. Make the effort to donate to one of these organizations.
I can speak of personal experience that clothing and household goods are so much appreciated.
Women are trying to interview for jobs and don't have the appropriate clothing, shoes and accessories. It is nice to have an outfit or two that is put together to help the damaged self-esteem.
When one is starting from scratch in putting a home together every possible item becomes important.
Think outside the box. Maybe you can organize a drive at your job or your church or in your community to assist these people. The homeless person may be someone in that situation through circumstances beyond their control. It may not be the drug addict or drunk laying in an alleyway. It very well could be a woman who has children that finally summoned up the courage to take control of her life and destiny.
If you operate a business think about donating goods or services to a shelter.
I remember one night two Mary Kay representatives came and gave a free makeover to all of us. You can never know what that did to boost our self image. And they donated all the products demonstrated to us; that wasn't inexpensive.
I'm quite sure their donation accrued into the hundreds of dollars.
Another night a beauty college that was ready to graduate a class came and gave hand massages and donated manicures and we each got an emery board and a bottle of nail polish. We had a regular visit once a month from a woman who was a professional organizer and financial consultant. A bank manager came once a month and new residents were able to open a new bank account for a dollar.
Local department stores would donate out of season clothing or slighly damaged clothing. Wal-Mart donated out of date baked goods.
All this stuff made a difference.
No donation is too small and all is appreciated no matter what the community is.
If you want to understand the impact a donation has the first week I was in shelter we had sandwiches every day for lunch and dinner. We appreciated that we had something to eat but do you know how grateful we were the first day we had a real meal for dinner.
I remember the first Sunday there wasn't enough to go around. Some of us chose not to eat to make sure the kids had enough.
Each and every donation is appreciated. Most shelters rely on donations for the majority of their budget. They need not only food but personal care items and feminine hygiene products; stationery, stamps and phone cards.Socks, slippers gowns, robes, bedding.
Always much needed are disposable diapers and wipes and formula.
High chairs, play pens and cribs.
Heating pads, blow dryers, curling irons, vaporizers. Toys, books for all ages and levels. If you have a working pc that you can donate some women are trying to find jobs and fill out applications online as they don't have transportation. A used bike will be appreciated because it is a form of transportation.
So anything you are throwing out could be a treasure to someone who no longer has it.
And, if you need further incentive its always a tax deduction.

No comments: