TOWN HALL 2021
Part 1: The Barriers
Part 2: The Solutions
This year's virtual Town Hall discussion brings together stakeholders in the community for a direct, solution-based conversation about breaking significant barriers facing Lowcountry domestic violence victims. The panel-led event will feature leaders across multiple segments of the victim service population, engaging with the community in a collaborative, cross-functional discussion.
*Both panels will now be held virtually.
This year, our Town Hall event is presented as a two-part virtual conversation.
In Part I, on October 5th, our panelists will be highlighting barriers faced by domestic violence victims and why coming forward to seek help during and after abuse can be so difficult.
In Part II, on October 19th, we will reconvene for an engaging panel discussion around solutions and practices that support victims of intimate partner violence.
At My Sister's House, we strive to be innovative and transformative. As part of our annual campaign to raise awareness of domestic violence with a focus on breaking barriers to survival, we look forward to these engaging and victim-centered conversations with you.
We want to hear from you! If you have experiences to share, please fill out our survey before the event: 2021 Breaking Barriers Survey
For Survivors: Increased Risk of DVFor victims of domestic violence, shelter in place and quarantine orders are terrifying. Home, for them, is often not a safe place to be. Abusers will use any tactic possible to yield power and control over their victims, even a pandemic. Isolation: Abusers can use this time to further isolate survivors from their loved ones. They may also use this as a time to further restrict a survivor’s movement in person, controlling where they go and when. They might also control a survivor’s interactions online, limiting their access to the outside world. Restricting Access to Information: Abusers may also restrict access to the news and other outlets, making themselves the source of all information. Increased Abuse: The abuse may worsen during this time as survivors may be spending more time in contact with their abusers. Survivors may also experience new or different types of abuse during this time. In-Person and Digital Stalking: Abusers might try to exert their power by trying to monitor, control and stalk survivors in person and digitally. Financial Abuse: Many individuals are experiencing financial burdens due to being unable to work, and abusers may further financially exploit survivors during this time. Parenting: Survivors who co-parent their children with their abusers may be facing unique challenges during these times, such as barriers to visitation and/or increased exposure to the abuser due to lack of accessible childcare. For example, in order for a survivor to work, he/she/they may need to utilize their abuser for childcare. Access to Services: Additional family stress, increased isolation and economic uncertainties add an accelerant to an already dangerous situation and make physically or emotionally abusive relationships much worse. Other community resources, such as faith based organizations, schools, courts and other non-profit organizations are scaling back services. Such networks of support would previously provide additional layers of help and accountability for families at risk for domestic violence. Victims of domestic violence have less resources for help, and feel more trapped.
On MSHBefore the Coronavirus Pandemic, SC ranked #5 in the US for the number of deaths of women by men, up from #6. This number alone shows the critical need for our services in the Lowcountry. The federal grant, VOCA (Victims of Crime Act) has been reduced by 18% in 2020, cutting into critical services of shelter, counseling and advocacy for victims of domestic violence. The need for emergency domestic violence services will likely spike during and following COVID-19. Additional family stress, increased isolation and economic uncertainties are all contributing factors in the multi-faceted problem that is domestic violence. Other community resources, such as faith based organizations, schools, courts and other non-profit organizations help combat these issues with their services. In a time, when all businesses and non-profits are scaling back services, these resources may be limited or unavailbile increasing the need for MSH. When we cannot provide adequate social distancing and quarantine capacity and staffing in community living shelters, we have to provide resources for immediate health and safety for victims of domestic violence and their children via emergency hotel stays and provisions for food, transportation and other basic needs. Fundraisers held during this time are postponed indefinitely and/or cancelled. Overall giving, because of economic instability may be stalled or decreased. My Sister's House depends on these fundraisers and individual giving to not only fund regular budget operations, but also to shore up additional funding for 2021 decreased grant funding. Domestic violence agencies are first responders to very lethal situations. Many victims will call for safety from domestic violence organizations before or instead of law enforcement assistance or even emergency health care.
Part 2: Discussing Solutions, will be moderated by Jennifer Berry Hawes. Jennifer is a projects reporter on The Post and Courier focusing on investigative narratives. She previously worked with three other reporters on "Till Death Do Us Part," a series about domestic violence that won the Pulitzer Prize in Public Service.