Alarmingly, domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women in the Upstate of SC, more than muggings, stranger rapes and automobile accidents combined. And, both sexual abuse and domestic violence are associated with an increased risk for developing a number of psychiatric conditions or exacerbating existing mental health challenges. At the same time, living with a serious mental illness or disability may also increase a woman’s vulnerability to abuse.
Unfortunately, many victims of domestic and sexual violence and women with mental illness disabilities, are reluctant to seek help due to fear, shame, and the stigma of their experience. On October 1, 2009 Safe Harbor became one of only six organizations in the nation to be funded by the US Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women with a three-year $600,000 grant awarded to address challenges that victims of violence with mental health disabilities confront when seeking services.