Phoenix Shelter Offers Solutions to Two Big Domestic Violence Hurdles

01-05-2017 8:58 AM

“I only planted an acorn, and a giant oak has grown …”

Mary Kay told attendees for the Governor’s Conference on Women in Business in 1985.

That statement holds true for the shelter grants distributed each year. Many times, the $20,000 that a shelter receives one year will help them meet needs and offer services that last far into the future.

The Sojourner Center in Phoenix currently pilots two of what I’d call “acorn” programs: the BRAIN Program and the Pet Companion Shelter.

Both programs are Sojourner’s solutions to some of the biggest hurdles in domestic violence.

The problem: An estimated 92 percent of women in domestic violence shelters reported their partners hit them in the head more than once. The physical effects can long outlast the immediate crisis, impacting decision-making, education and ability to work. Yet most shelters don’t address this piece of domestic violence. (Many simply don’t have the expertise, staff or funding for anything but crisis help.)

Sojourner’s Solution: The BRAIN Program is one of the first of its kind in the domestic violence field. BRAIN stands for Brain Recovery And Inter-professional Neuroscience. Sojourner Center partners with clinics, schools and other organizations to screen, treat and research traumatic brain injuries.

The goal is to develop traumatic brain injury treatment programs for both the abused and the abuser. The long-term goal moves beyond shelter toward prevention and seeks to engage society to bend, break and end the cycle of abuse and domestic violence.

Another problem: More than 40 percent of victims don’t leave their abusers because they are concerned about what will happen to their pets, per the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. More than 70 percent of women with pets who enter a shelter reported that their abuser had already injured, maimed, killed or threatened the family pet (Facts About Animal Abuse and Domestic Violence, 2014).

Sojourner’s Solution: Pet Companion Shelter. Sojourner allows women to bring their pets with them. The onsite facility can accommodate eight dogs and eight cats, with special accommodations for other pets such as birds and fish.

The Mary Kay Foundation℠ is proud to support such shelters like the Sojourner Center in Phoenix. Keep up the great work!