Oklahoma Shelter Provides Safe Place for Women

01-29-2015 10:26 AM

This week’s blog post is by Marie Robinson, Executive Director for the Wings of Hope Family Crisis Center. Her organization is one of the shelters who received a 2014 shelter grant from The Mary Kay Foundation.

When a woman seeks help and freedom from domestic violence, she can make different choices. She can recognize her strength. She can recognize a potentially unhealthy relationship.

I live to hear someone say, “I was a victim, but now I’m a survivor.”

Head Held High

I remember the very first woman I worked with at our shelter six years ago. She had been physically abused. But her husband also repeatedly told her that her eyes were evil and that people only saw evil when they looked at her.

So she wouldn't look me in the eyes during our therapy sessions. She ended up staying at the shelter about three months until she could work and save enough money to get an apartment.

When I saw her later around town, she seemed a bit taller to me. As I kept thinking about this, I realized that she hadn't gotten any taller. Rather, she was looking at me in the eyes. She was no longer afraid to look people in the eyes.

Empowering Women

Now every time, I see her I smile thinking about what an empowered woman she is. She knows who she is. She’s no longer afraid, and she can move on with her life. And I like to think I had a little something to do with that.

When people donate to The Mary Kay Foundation, they make an impact on real people. I see these people every day. I hear their voices, and I see them grow as individuals. Shelters like ours can only help these women because of donations and grants like this one from The Mary Kay Foundation.

Home Away From Home

We operate one of the largest shelters in Oklahoma. It’s about 17,000 square feet. We have 10 bedrooms, each set up like hotel suites. They can sleep at least five people. Our shelter has a play area, kitchen, toiletries and clothing closet and a nice living room. We try to make it as much of a home as possible.

We provide all the food for our clients, so they don’t have to worry where their next meal is coming from. And we empower them to prepare their own meals.

Encouragement and Counseling

Every woman who comes to our shelter is assigned a counselor and an advocate. Every child also sees a counselor or an advocate. We encourage the women to find jobs and continue living a normal life.

Just to endure an abusive relationship, a person has to be strong physically and emotionally. Our counselors work really hard to encourage those women to continue to use that strength to find a job, move on with their lives and take care of their children. We remind them there is life after domestic violence.

We would not be able to provide these services for victims if it weren't for grants like The Mary Kay Foundation. We feel blessed to receive this grant and look forward to increasing services because of it.