Celebrating Our 1st Anniversary in Oconee County

August 14, 2015

Today, Safe Harbor celebrates the 1st anniversary of the opening of our Oconee Shelter. On March 1, 2013, we launched a capital campaign to raise $990,000 to open a 24-hour emergency shelter for victims of domestic violence and their children in Oconee County. The Oconee community stepped up with tremendous support, and over $1,300,000 was raised. Safe Harbor purchased the building for the shelter in December of 2014, and during the first six months of 2014, staff and volunteers completed renovations and necessary preparations for the opening in August of 2014.

On August 14, 2014, Safe Harbor’s 16-bed Oconee Shelter opened its doors for the first time, and within 48 hours, the shelter was full. The shelter consistently operates at or near capacity, highlighting the great need for domestic violence services and prevention programs in Oconee County. “I am so proud of the work we have been able to accomplish so far in Oconee County since the opening of our shelter. Thanks to the support of the Oconee community more than 150 women and children found safe shelter when it was so desperately needed,” said Becky Callaham, Safe Harbor’s Executive Director. “Through our support services and education initiatives, we are working to influence real, positive change in Oconee County.”

Over the past year, the shelter has housed 159 women and children in crisis situations. Community counselors and advocates have provided more than 400 hours of counseling and advocacy for victims, including services like individual and group counseling, safety planning, and transitional housing assistance. And Safe Harbor’s Relationship Education Project (REP) has brought healthy relationship curriculum to more than 1,000 middle and high school students in Oconee County.

“In a lot of ways, I think that my job is the best one possible at Safe Harbor,” shared Ester Griffin-Devita, an Oconee Community Counselor, “I get to walk the road with our clients from victim to survivor, and be present not just during the times of struggle and heartache, but also during the times of peace and happiness. This year has been a good one and filled with many changed lives…lives that could have easily ended, were it not for Safe Harbor.”

I am a survivor of domestic violence.


“I didn’t know that I was being abused...

I am a survivor of domestic violence.


“I didn’t know that I was being abused because my definition of abuse looked different. My husband pushed me, but most of my suffering was verbal and psychological. I left my husband to protect our young daughter. Almost immediately I felt the weight of his oppression begin to lift. I could see a difference in my daughter as well. Then he broke into my home and assaulted me in-front of her.

I sought help and was led to Safe Harbor. My daughter and I are in counseling now. I am sorting out the mess that abuse has caused. I am finding my voice and seeking opportunities to grow and better my life as well as my daughter's. She will gauge her self-worth from my own self-worth. I must show her that she deserves the best, by expecting the best for myself.

Many years I suffered in silence. By telling my story and being honest with friends and family, I am taking control of my life again.”

- Beth

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When you give to Safe Harbor, 84 cents of every dollar goes directly to our intervention services and prevention initiatives to break the cycle of domestic violence in the Upstate of South Carolina. 

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