Local shelter raises awareness about domestic violence

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WELCH, WV (WVNS) — Every minute, 20 people in the United States are abused by their partner, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. During National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, organizations like Stopping Abusive Family Environments, or S.A.F.E., want people to know they are there to help victims, no matter the month.

S.A.F.E. has a shelter in Welch, WV. The organization reported 17 domestic violence deaths in West Virginia in 2019, and those who work there say they want to do everything they can to prevent any additional deaths.

“Would you say (S.A.F.E.) saved your life?” “Yes. My abuser tried to kill me twice. If I didn’t come here, I’d probably be dead,” That’s the answer from a woman who came to the shelter after suffering from domestic violence.

The victim wanted to remain anonymous to protect her safety, but also wanted to tell her story. She said she wants others who are going through the same situation to know how much the shelter has helped her.

“They helped me mentally as well as emotionally, so that I can be ready to go out and live a good life,” said the victim.

Alice Walker, Executive Director of the S.A.F.E shelter, said it is their goal to protect these victims every month of the year

“We need to promote that every month, daily just to get the word that there is help, that we are available,” Walker said.

Walker said they need to continue to fight because domestic violence does not end on Nov. 1. She said during a pandemic, it becomes even more important for victims and their families to have a safe space to go. The shelter still provides meals, a clean place to stay, and anything else to help victims get back on their feet.

“That is all because of S.A.F.E, and I wouldn’t have none of it if I didn’t have this place,” said the victim.

If you know someone who may be suffering from domestic violence, they can call the S.A.F.E Shelter hotline at 1-800-688-6157.

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