When I worked as a counselor in the Safe Harbor shelter, I remember one particular Christmas season when four year old “Stevie” arrived with his mom, “Katherine”. Stevie’s biggest desire was to go to school with a backpack. Even though he wasn’t old enough to go to school, we gave him a superhero backpack. He wore it everywhere. I will never forget the pride that Stevie had when he walked through the shelter with his backpack.
Katherine returned from the store one afternoon and explained that she was going to temporarily take Stevie’s backpack away from him. Apparently, Stevie had stuffed some candy in his backpack without her knowledge. As she removed the backpack from his hands, Stevie yelled a vicious stream of expletives while kicking and slamming his head on the floor. It was clear that, although he had not been physically abused, Stevie had witnessed countless incidents where his dad behaved similarly.
In October, Safe Harbor started our very first Child and Family Therapy program to serve moms and their children together. This new program helps survivors better understand the trauma that their children have experienced and guides moms to encourage their children’s unique coping process. Our therapists work to disrupt the cycle of violence by offering a safe space for children to heal while also strengthening a healthy bond between each child and their courageous mothers.
I often wonder about Stevie. He would be a young adult now. My hope is that his experience of safety, hope and reassurance at Safe Harbor helped to build a brighter future for him.
This Holiday Season, You Can Help give families like Katherine and Stevie the fresh start that they need to live lives free from fear of abuse.
Will you join us this holiday season in giving to Safe Harbor? Your investment will not only provide safety and hope for adult victims of domestic violence, but will also assure that their children will be seen, heard, and gently ushered into their own critical healing.
You won’t regret this gift, I promise.
Peace to you,
Becky Callaham, Executive Director for Safe Harbor