COLLIN COUNTY (CBSDFW.COM) – The numbers, experts say, are staggering: one in four women will experience abuse in her lifetime. And safely escaping isn’t a simple task.

“I was in a domestic violence situation,” says Misty, 37, “and I had no place to go.”

With help from Hope’s Door, a Collin County shelter, Misty is well on her way to becoming a survivor, rather than a victim. But, her story is all too familiar.

“I had tried contacting other organizations and they were full. It took me two weeks to find a place.”

And that was before the now infamous video of pro football player Ray Rice punching his then fiancée in the face surfaced, and sparked nationwide outrage.

“This week alone, I would say we’re probably doubling our hotline calls,” says Aimee Ziegler, shelter director at Hope’s Door. She says the increased awareness of family violence is a good thing; but, resources are strained. “We have 21 beds. The challenging part for us is that sometimes we’re full. We have been full for the past three to four weeks straight, nearly over capacity.”

Still, they say, they will turn no victim away — even if that means searching for space in other shelters or temporarily putting victims up in hotels. And while the social media outrage is supportive, experts say the bottom line reality is food and a bed are just the basic needs.

“They have case managers, they have legal advocacy, they have counselors,” says Ziegler, “those are the parts that give them the support that empower them to believe that they can make a difference and they can change the way they were living.”

And it’s already happened for Misty.

“I am in a better place,” says Misty. “Hope’s Door is amazing… they opened their door and gave me hope again.”

DONATE MONEY
Give a one-time donation, make regular contributions, donate in honor of a loved one, consider an organization in your estate planning, or sponsor an event.  Just $25 can pay for a woman’s hospital visit after an assault.

Genesis Women’s Shelter & Support
The Family Place
SafeHaven of Tarrant County

VOLUNTEER
Serve a meal at a shelter, organize a donation drive, work at a thrift shop, provide career mentoring, engage children in organized activities, or answer phones at a hotline.

Genesis Women’s Shelter & Support
The Family Place
SafeHaven of Tarrant County

GIVE ITEMS
Help stock closets to meet the immediate needs of women and children entering a shelter – or help a thrift shop raise money by selling your gently used goods.

Berry Good Buys
1701 W. Berry Street, Fort Worth

Arlington Resource Center
401 W. Sanford St. 140, Arlington

The Family Place Resale Shop
11722 Marsh Lane, St 354, Dallas

Genesis Benefit Thrift Store
3419 Knight Street, Dallas

SafeHaven has a list of things to watch for signs of abuse.

·         Strict control of money, friends, appearance
·         Excessive texts and calls
·         Verbal insults in front of other people
·         Extreme jealousy
·         Fear in the eyes and actions of a victim
·         Isolation from family and friends
·         Frequent cancelling of plans at the last minute
·         Unexplained injuries or explanations that don’t quite add up

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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