Safe Harbor Legal Advocate, Rita Wearbon, talks about her work in helping victims to obtain an Order of Protection.
As members of Safe Harbor’s staff, we’re often asked by community members: “What motivates you to do this type of work? Isn’t it hard? Heartbreaking? Frustrating at times?”
To answer their question simply: “Yes.”
Yes, working at Safe Harbor is not easy. Sometimes, this work is stressful and heartbreaking. We see suffering and injustice every day. We are haunted by the stories we hear. We are familiar with the feelings of defeat and frustration as we walk alongside of those who face overwhelming obstacles and barriers each day.
At the same time, however, this work is beautiful and life-giving. We do it because we believe in hope, in change, in transformation. We see hope and resilience in our clients and their children as they take those courageous and complicated steps towards starting a new life. We also have the opportunity to influence and push towards those gradual societal changes and attitude shifts that we truly believe will start to alleviate violence and abuse in our community.
In this short video, our Legal Advocate, Rita Wearbon, speaks about the satisfaction that she experiences when she is able to successfully help a client to feel a sense of safety and peace of mind through obtaining an Order of Protection. She says, “I walk away with a sense of satisfaction…satisfaction in knowing that one more person will be able to go home tonight…and be safe.”
This is what motivates us at Safe Harbor – the ability to change lives and systems, one step at a time.
Deborah Anderson first visited Safe Harbor as a client in crisis, fleeing a violent marriage with her 3-year-old daughter in tow. Today, she is a volunteer, donor and advocate for our cause. In this interview, Deborah shares her journey from being a victim to becoming a survivor, from receiving Safe Harbor services to providing them for others.
What led you to seek services from Safe Harbor?
Deborah: I was led to seek services from Safe Harbor after my ex-husband of six years began physically abusing me. He had been controlling and verbally abusive before. He did not allow me to drive, and he was very jealous about my being in contact with other males, such as in class, or his own male friends. He was over-involved in my few jobs, and I ended up leaving them because of him and letters he wrote to my employers. He escalated to pushing me, once while I was holding our three-year old daughter, also kneeing me in the back, pinning me down and threatening to rape me, and pulling me back forcefully into our kitchen table. He threatened that if I went to the police, they would take away his guns, and then he would “really hurt me.” I had no one to turn to, as I had come to America from England, leaving all my family behind at age 18. I had moved straight from my mum’s house into his, and I had never lived alone. He ensured that I did not have any friends of my own. He was also a Licensed Master of Social Work, and when I did leave with our daughter, he tried to make me look as unstable as possible to those who knew us – telling people that I was a drunk, that I was depressed & mentally ill… the list goes on.
Yes – I stopped taking the abuse. One night he had kept me up all night during one of his episodes, and he finally went to bed around 5am. I called up a co-worker, and she picked me, my daughter, and our belongings up. My ex-husband knew where we were, so when I found out about Safe Harbor a few days later from a lawyer, I called for help immediately. Read the rest of this entry »
On June 1 at 8:15am, the eighth edition of the Safe Harbor Cycle Tour will roll out from the Civic Center in Iva, SC. It has become a yearly tradition for many cyclists throughout the Upstate and beyond. Crowds have grown each year and, though technically it’s a tour where folks are encouraged to come enjoy a ride through our scenic countryside, this ride has also attracted a wide range of serious cyclists and multi-sport athletes. It is a fun, fast and interesting course. Above all else, the Cycle Tour is for a very worthy cause.
The ride benefits Safe Harbor, a nonprofit organization serving victims of domestic violence and their children in Anderson, Greenville, Pickens, and Oconee counties. Safe Harbor provides shelter, counseling, advocacy, and support services for victims of domestic violence and their children, and domestic violence prevention and education for the Upstate community.
The Cycle Tour starts in Iva and then rolls into northern Abbeville County through hills that form the banks of the Savannah River, Lake Russell and Lake Secession. Then the course heads back into southern Anderson County where the terrain levels. This is Mennonite country and the roadsides are dotted with picturesque farms and country homes. The last ten miles start to roll again. There’s even one hill about seven miles from the finish that borders on being a genuine climb.
After the Cycle Tour, lunch awaits at the Iva Civic Center.
Riders can choose between three courses this year – 25-miles, 42-miles, or 65-miles (metric-century course). The $40 registration fee includes a t-shirt, lunch, snacks, SAG, and course map. Or, register for $110 for an event jersey as well. All proceeds from this event will benefit Safe Harbor. Register online at www.safeharborcycletour.org.
Come see why this ride was rated the best in the area. It’s the cause. It’s the course. It’s a great time!
Families can become homeless for many interrelated reasons – unemployment, housing foreclosures, lower incomes, medical crises, and addiction issues. For groups like single women and women and their children, however, domestic violence is the most common contributing factor to becoming homeless and is currently considered the leading cause for homelessness.
Faced with a domestic violence situation, women and their children are often forced to move out of their homes to seek safety. At the same time, however, lack of affordable housing severely limits the victims’ options for safe housing and poses a major barrier to leaving. Due to the dynamics of domestic violence, victims are forced to choose between abuse at home and potential homelessness.
In addition to the aforementioned barriers brought on by the inadequate supply of affordable housing, victims of domestic violence face other difficulties. Victims often have poor credit records and employment histories because of the violence they have experienced. Landlords often discriminate against victims and subsidized housing availabilities are subject to long waiting lists. Women survivors may also potentially have to deal with other barriers including criminal history resulting from self-defense and stereotypes about survivors. Read the rest of this entry »
By MONICA KREBER, The Journal (Seneca, SC) – March 29, 2013
With strategic planning and a group of hard-working board members, Elisabeth Gadd hopes Safe Harbor can accomplish a lot.
Gadd, president of Safe Harbor’s 2013 Board, said the organization has been focusing on creating a five-year plan that will best serve the area (Greenville, Anderson, Pickens and Oconee counties). In this first year of the five-year plan, Safe Harbor hopes to focus on the Oconee County campaign and reach out to the community through counseling, shelter care, post-shelter care, advocacy and education – all meant to promote the mission of serving victims of domestic violence and their children.
“I think it’s very exciting,” Gadd said. “We’re working hard to move forward and I think we’ve made big strides.”
The organization has announced its 2013 board of directors and Gadd said the members are all “committed and dedicated” to the cause.
“I think it’s a great board,” she said. “It’s a hard-working board.”
The 2013 Board of Directors is as follows:
Elisabeth Gadd, Tri-County Technical College, president
Paul Ledford, Glen Raven Custum Fabrics, vice president
Julia Hoyle, The Arts Company, secretary
Deb Merrill, Delta Apparel, treasurer
Andrea Hopkins, Rosenfeld Einstein Insurance, 2014 president-elect
Hillary Andren-Wise, MacMillan Pazdan Smith Architecture, 2012 past president
Becky Callaham, Safe Harbor, executive director
Ann Bible Batson, Josef and Stephen Salon & Day Spa
Lori Coon, Integrated Media Publishing
Renee Dunlap, NAI Earle Furman
Brian Hobbs, Tectronic Industries
Stacy Kuper, Acumen IT
Stephanie Page, House & Home, Seneca
Monica Rockwell, Cox, Cauley & Rockwell, PA
Tara Trantham, World Acceptance Corporation
Sherry Watts, Fabri-Kal Corp.
Vanessa Woods, TD Bank, Seneca
Becky Callaham, Safe Harbor’s Executive Director, speaking at Safe Harbor’s 03.01.13 press conference in Oconee County.
With two new stories of brutal domestic violence in the headlines of The Seneca Journal this morning, today provides another sobering reminder of Oconee County’s urgent need for a Safe Harbor shelter.
In the video above, Safe Harbor Executive Director Becky Callaham talks about the background, research and community support that has led us to this point in moving forward actively with a capital campaign to “put a stake in the ground” of Oconee County, raising funds to open a shelter for Oconee County victims and their children. We’re already well on our way in this campaign, thanks to the efforts, advocacy and ground work that has already been done by Jenna Henson, Martha Frady, Oconee Sheriff Mike Crenshaw and his passionate staff, Oconee County United Way, Oconee victim advocates, Safe Harbor’s Board of Directors and Oconee Campaign Cabinet, and many others. We are incredibly thankful for all of these dedicated individuals and also for those who have already given generously to our Oconee Shelter Campaign.
When we hear these stories of domestic violence in the news, we are horrified, outraged, frightened. But, it is even more frightening to when we recognize that many stories of abuse never make the headlines. One in four American women report that they have been victims of domestic violence, and yet there are many others who never report the abuse due to shame, fear, or other barriers. Many victims and their children are living in terror right now, silently behind closed doors. They need our help, too.
Please join us in putting a stake in the ground of Oconee County, providing a safe place for victims and their children to find hope…to discover peace…to rest safely…to start a new life.
Click here to learn more about our Oconee County Shelter Campaign or to make a gift online.
On Thursday, March 7, over 400 guests gathered at the Poinsett Club for an evening of unforgettable fashion, food, and fun benefiting Safe Harbor. Guests enjoyed an exciting silent and live auction, including a live painting created onsite by Jared Emerson. The runway fashion show featured the latest Spring styles from Monkees of the West End, Plaza Suite, Petals Boutique, Muse Shoe Studio, Wisteria Salon & Spa, Vestique, Southern Tide, Coplons and the Safe Harbor Resale Shop. Two former Safe Harbor clients shared their stories of hope and success with the crowd. Former Safe Harbor client and local artist, Jennifer, shared, “Safe Harbor turns victims into survivors, giving us the tools and unconditional love needed not only to survive, but to truly live vibrant lives.”
Through Fashion with a Passion, $80,000 was raised towards Safe Harbor’s mission, doubling the original fundraising goal. Safe Harbor would like to express thanks to its 2013 Fashion with a Passion planning committee, sponsors, in-kind sponsors, boutiques, auction donors and guests.
2013 Fashion with a Passion Sponsors:
Presenting Sponsors – Kathryn Williams & Tom Ervin
Runway Sponsor – Southwest Airlines
Trendsetter Sponsor – Greenville Hospital System
Fashion Police Sponsors – Roy Metal Finishing, Greenville Oral Surgery, PA./River Falls Oral Surgery, Big “O” Dodge, Wisteria Salon & Spa, Wooten Auto Sales, Bow Tie Benefit Auctions
Fashionista Sponsors – NAI Earle Furman, Shaw Flooring, Laurens Electric Cooperative, Spinx Company, Greenville Pediatric Dentistry, Monkee’s of the Westend
Media Sponsors – TOWN Magazine & TALK Magazine
Printing Sponsor – Pre-Sort Plus
2013 Fashion with a Passion Planning Committee – Renee Dunlap (Fashion with a Passion Committee Chair), Andrea Hopkins (Auction Chair), Suzanne Manning (Auction Co-Chair), Tracy Daves, Lori Coon, Ann Bible Batson, Kristen Jenny, Tiffany Martin, Caroline Mahaffey, Courtney Laws, Carin Slader, Susan Spitzer, Becky Callaham, & Julie Meredith
During Safe Harbor’s 3/1/2013 press conference, Safe Harbor Board President Elisabeth Gadd announced that a generous Challenge Gift is being offered for Safe Harbor’s Oconee Shelter Capital Campaign. If Safe Harbor can raise $100,000 for the Oconee Shelter in the next six months (between March 1-September 1, 2013), Mr. & Mrs. Bob & Fran Hanson will match it with a $100,000 major gift.
Through previous fundraising efforts and other generous gifts, over $270,000 has already been raised towards the $990,000 campaign goal for the Oconee Shelter. Please consider making a gift and helping Safe Harbor to reach our campaign goal in order to open our Oconee Shelter as soon as possible, insuring safety and hope for victims of domestic violence and their children in Oconee County.
Click here to more about the Oconee Shelter Campaign or to make an online gift.
“Is this a season for us to lead?” – Rep. Trey Gowdy
On Friday, March 1, 2013, Safe Harbor officially launched our Capital Campaign to raise funds for our Oconee Shelter. U.S. House Representative Trey Gowdy (SC’s 4th District) spoke at this event, and his speech can be viewed above. We will be posting videos from this conference throughout this week. To learn more about Safe Harbor’s Oconee Shelter Campaign, please visit http://safeharborsc.org/oconee-shelter-project.
On Friday, March 1, Safe Harbor will hold a public press conference at 9:30am at the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office to announce the official kick-off of their Capital Campaign to raise funds for a 24/7 emergency shelter for victims of domestic violence and their children in Oconee County. Safe Harbor currently has a contract on a facility in Seneca that will become Safe Harbor’s Oconee Shelter. Safe Harbor’s fundraising goal is $990,000, which will cover the cost of the shelter facility, as well as three years of operations and program expenses, insuring long-term sustainability for this new shelter in the Oconee community. The shelter will be staffed with a full-time shelter manager, a full-time shelter counselor, a full-time family advocate and rotating relief staff persons who will work on evenings and weekends to assure that staff is available and on-site 24/7.
Safe Harbor hopes to meet their $990,000 fundraising goal as soon as possible in order to insure that the Oconee County shelter is opened by 2015. If the goal is met sooner, then Safe Harbor hopes to open the shelter prior to 2015.
State & local elected leaders will speak at the March 1 press conference to address the issue of domestic violence and the need for services for victims and their children. Members of Safe Harbor’s staff and board of directors will also share details regarding plans for the Oconee Shelter Capital Campaign and will call the community to action in supporting this fundraising effort.
About Safe Harbor
Safe Harbor is a non-profit organization providing safe shelter, counseling, advocacy, and support services for victims of domestic violence and their children, and domestic violence prevention and education for the entire Upstate community. Safe Harbor currently operates two emergency shelters for victims of domestic violence and their children in Greenville and Anderson Counties. For more information on available services or volunteer opportunities, visit Safe Harbor at www.safeharborsc.org.