Lee Alcott, Executive Director Barren River Area Safe Space, Inc.
January 9, 2014
Mary Kay Ash and the Mary Kay Foundation have long supported efforts to end Domestic Violence and assist Domestic Violence shelters across the country to improve services. What are some of the ways Mary Kay affects the movement against domestic violence in South central Kentucky? Mary Kay consultants provide free make-overs to residents of the Barren River Area Safe Space, Inc. and donate extra products for women to use towards increasing self-esteem.
Mary Kay consultants assist in promoting the annual Pink in the Park at a Bowling Green Hot Rods Game to raise funds for local domestic violence services in Logan, Warren and other counties within our service area. The Mary Kay Foundation awards annual grants to Domestic Violence Shelters. This competitive grant process has resulted in two grant awards to BRASS.
In 2013 Mary Kay promoted the One Woman Can national and international competition. Five winners were announced across the country. Each winner of this before and after make-over event was awarded $5,000 for her favorite charity that served women and children. A young woman from Greensburg, KY won and donated the $5,000 to our shelter. But The Mary Kay Foundation is about more than monetary awards and donations. Statistics are also gathered to help promote awareness of the prevalence of domestic violence in our communities.
The fourth Mary Kay Truth Against Abuse Survey was released in 2013. Over 730 Domestic Violence shelters across the United States participated in the survey. Surveys from Domestic Violence shelters in the south, including Kentucky, reported that 77.6% of victims who stayed in abusive relationships stayed longer because of the current economy. Limited resources often delays an individual from leaving an abusive relationship. And 64.9% reported that “abuse is more violent now than before the economic downturn.”
What does this mean for our regional shelter, The Barren River Area Safe Space, Inc. (BRASS)?
Regardless of the downturn in the economy that began in 2008 and continues with the recent effects of federal sequestration and the government shutdown, BRASS, Inc. continues to provide comprehensive and effective services to victims/survivors of domestic violence. Yes, it has been a struggle, especially as the calls for help increase. For the past three years, our Crisis Line Advocates have answered more crisis calls than any of the other state funded 14 Domestic Violence shelters, including calls from Logan County.
We are often asked why our numbers are so high. Does it mean that this area of the state experiences more Domestic Violence? My response has been, “Not necessarily. Perhaps it is because we have worked to increase accessible services. Perhaps it is because others acknowledge the value of our services and help promote awareness, such as United Way of Southern Kentucky, Emerson Electric, Ventra Plastics, Logan Aluminum, The News Democrat Leader, and other corporations, law enforcement, schools and churches. Our agency learned a long time ago that we cannot do it alone. The work to end domestic violence must be a collaborative effort with a multi-disciplinary approach.
In order to reduce those statistics collected by the Mary Kay Truth Against Abuse Survey (2013) we must band together. In order to reduce numbers of domestic violence related fatalities, we must educate our young people, boys and girls, to respect and honor each other and to seek alternatives to conflict. In order to increase accessibility to services, we must promote awareness of the crisis line, 1-800-928-1183 and encourage those affected by domestic violence to call and ask for help.