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Elizabeth’s Letter

By Michelle Hill, Safe Harbor Community Counselor

Forgiveness is a powerful means towards healing for victims of domestic violence, yet it is an extremely difficult process. After participating in months of Safe Harbor counseling to heal from the abuse she had suffered for five years from her husband, “Elizabeth” shared during a session that she felt like she needed to forgive her abuser. She told me that she felt that forgiveness was essential in order to recover from her past. Elizabeth did not want to deny or excuse the abuse or to release her abuser from his responsibility.  She wished simply to release herself from the pain of those traumatic experiences that continued to get in the way of her own happiness and peace.

Elizabeth and I talked about forgiveness and what it would mean for her. We discussed ways in which she might be able to reach a sense of forgiveness for her abuser. Elizabeth finds a lot of strength through writing, so I suggested that she write a letter to her abuser that she would never send to him. Through this letter, she could safely express herself to him, fully and honestly. She could write specifically about how he had hurt her, how he had changed her. Most importantly, though, she could express how she had recovered and how she, through forgiveness, would release the emotional grip he had had on her quality of life even after she had ended her relationship with him.

Two weeks later, Elizabeth brought the letter to our session. She read it out loud. She paused several times to take a breath, to cry, to let the memories release. When she was done she released the letter. The experiences she had written about and read about out loud no longer held her captive emotionally, physically, or spiritually. She was freed from the abuse in her past, empowering her to move forward with a sense of strength, peace, and joy in her future.

Below is a portion of Elizabeth’s letter that we are sharing with her permission.  We hope this letter will provide hope to other victims and survivors as they are seeking safety, support and healing along their journey. 

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Safe Harbor’s Housing Assistance Program (HAP)

By Julieta Barcaglioni, Housing Assistance Program Manager

In October of 2011, Safe Harbor received a grant from the Office of Violence Against Women to begin a second transitional housing program for victims of domestic violence. This second program – called the Housing Assistance Program (HAP) – will serve a minimum of 14 clients for a period of 3 years and strives to achieve three main goals and objectives.

The first and main goal is to provide secure, stable and safe housing for victims of domestic violence. HAP provides transitional rental and utility assistance for its clients for an average period of 18 months. During such period, HAP pays 40% of participants’ rent and utilities.  Participants are able to select an apartment or home of their choice in any of the four counties that Safe Harbor serves (Greenville, Oconee, Pickens, and Anderson).  Securing safe and affordable housing is one of the greatest obstacles that survivors of domestic violence face.  Therefore, the HAP program also includes a more long-term solution approach to housing. Participants are encouraged to begin thinking about other long-term solutions and are guided through the process of familiarizing themselves with more permanent low-income based housing and home ownership programs.

The second goal of the program is to increase the ability of domestic violence victims to obtain jobs.  Victims of domestic violence are particularly vulnerable to the economic and personal challenges of sparse employment opportunities.  For this reason, all HAP clients are offered placement into the Greenville Technical College Quick Jobs with a Future program, which allows clients to quickly obtain skills matching the needs of local business and industry.

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Funding Needed for Prosecutors to Fight CDV in SC

This article was reposted with permission from The Journal – written by LaDonna Beeker, 02/21/2012.  To contact your local state legislators to voice support for this needed funding, visit .

WALHALLA – With South Carolina’s criminal domestic violence numbers staggeringly high in the nation, 10th Circuit Solicitor Chrissy Adams is hopeful that state legislators remember to adequately fund prosecutors who fight for domestic violence victims in the upcoming budget.

In the 2009-10 fiscal year, South Carolina’s budget did not include funds for criminal domestic violence prosecutors in the state because of a three-year $500,000 federal grant and $1 million received in one-time money from the federal government.

With the grant expiring in June, Adams, along with 15 other state solicitors, is reminding lawmakers that $1.6 million is needed to continue to fight CDV cases in the state. If the $1.6 million is allocated, Adams said it would give $100,000 to each circuit.

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Trying To Turn The Tide

Safe Harbor wants to thank The Journal of Seneca, SC for highlighting the issue of domestic violence in the Upstate.  Below is an editorial written by Editor, Brett McLaughlin, on 12/17/2011. Periodically, we receive letters and calls from readers who…

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The Peace of Giving

by Samantha Tucker, Director of Development, Safe Harbor

“There is always something to be grateful for.”  ~ Charles Dickens

The holidays truly are a special time. True, the hustle of it makes the month of December scoot by so quickly…but this time of year brings with it a heightened level of appreciating and understanding one another.  For me, I look forward to quiet times shared with loved ones.  I feel peaceful when I see my family’s decorated tree and the sweet stockings that represent the members of my family.  I smile at the obvious joy and innocence I see in my children, and I enjoy the effort people put into being festive and cheerful.  For all of this…and for so much more…I am grateful.  What are you grateful for this time of year?

For our residents at Safe Harbor, this time of year can be difficult.  The season prompts missing home and missing personal traditions.  Yes, our residents are grateful to spend the holidays in an environment of peace.  At the shelter we have a decorated tree, and we have kind people from our community who make sure our clients each have a gift or two beneath it.  Still, though, the holidays reinforce that life is different now and that change can be a difficult process.

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