It happens in Bergen County, one of the 40 wealthiest counties in the United States.
It happens behind the closed doors of nicely appointed homes along the tree-lined streets of suburbia, just as it happens in the poorest of inner city neighborhoods. And everywhere in between.
It happens in every zip code, at every exit along the Garden State Parkway.
It happens in white families, black families, Hispanic families, Asian families, every kind of family.
It happens to young people, old people, middle-aged people. It happens to children.
It happens in the brightest hour of the day and in the darkest hour of night.
It happens in spring, summer, fall, and winter.
There is no off season for domestic violence. It simply doesn’t care.
Every day, and everywhere, domestic violence puts people in harm’s way, unraveling the very fabric of their lives and undermining their personal, social, emotional, and financial well-being.
We don’t want to admit that we have this kind of a problem, this ugliness, this blight, this form of terrorism.
It’s too easy to read the headlines of something bad happening somewhere to someone and to conclude that these are problems that other people face. Not us. Not here.
But truth be told, it happens in my neck of the woods. It happens in yours. It happens in ours.
The Center for Hope & Safety 24-hour emergency hotline fields more than 4,000 calls a year from people in crisis. More than 4,000 cries for help. Right here in beautiful Bergen County. In some communities, domestic violence is the most common reason for a call to 911.
You can’t do something about a problem until you recognize and admit that you have a problem. That’s called Awareness, with a capital A. Without Awareness, there can be no action, no remedy, no cure for the affliction.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, complete with presidential proclamation, but saving the lives and rebuilding the lives of people who are suffering the ravages of DV is a year-round job. It is a job that Center for Hope & Safety has taken on, day by day and month by month, for the past 37 years.
Our mantra is Safety, Strength, and Hope. But it is more than a tagline, much more than a quick and easy slogan. It is a call to action, a promise, a shining and unwavering beacon, guiding and motivating and energizing our staff and volunteers to do their utmost for each and every person who comes to us in crisis. Most often, people come to us when they have nowhere else to turn.
We work with them to turn their lives around. Whatever they need. We’ll help them find housing, pursue a good education, connect to legal assistance, get job readiness training.
Counseling. Mentoring. Therapy. Understanding. Support. Help. Guidance. Direction.
Safety—in the moment of crisis today. Strength—to build a better tomorrow. Hope—always.
We’re there for children as well as adults. For people who need emergency shelter, and for people who just need a helping hand, step by step along the pathway to self-sufficiency and a new life free from violence and the fear of violence.
Yes, it happens here. Fortunately, we can do something about it. So can you. Click here to find out how.