10/25/2017 1:11:00 PM Safehome's Light The Night Gala A 30th Anniversary Celebration
Safehome Systems Inc. in Covington hosted its first Light the Night Gala Saturday evening at the Historic Masonic Theatre in Clifton Forge, celebrating Safehome’s 30th anniversary of assisting victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse. The evening featured silent and live auctions of donated items, with funds raised going toward the efforts of Safehome in assisting victims and their children. Pictured, Safehome Executive Director Tamy Mann speaks during the Light the Night Gala. (D.S. Crosier Photo)
If you’ve ever read a biography on an organization or individual, the phrase “humble beginnings” is typically used.
Sometimes it’s used a lot, making the phrase a bit overdone.
When telling the story of Safehome Systems Inc., though, “humble beginnings” truly describes where the Covington-based organization has come in its 30 years.
From its earliest incarnation — with domestic violence victims and their children staying in private homes — to its first official shelter on Main Street in Covington in 1987 and now to its current location, the legacy of Safehome began, earnestly, with humble beginnings.
Celebrating what Safe-home has meant to the lives of countless survivors of domestic violence and sexual abuse brought a large crowd to the Historic Masonic Theatre in Clifton Forge Saturday evening for the Light the Night Gala
The evening featured remarks by Safehome board President Betsy Arritt, Executive Director Tamy Mann and Covington Vice-Mayor David Crosier.
Silent and live auctions were held to raise funds to assist Safehome in the daily fulfilment of its mission.
Music for the event was provided by Marc Sizemore.
Live auction items included a rocker recliner, donated by Grand Home Furnish-ings; a Thomas Kincaid print, donated by Teenie Kegley; a Myrtle Beach vacation, donated by Judy Casteele, and a custom playhouse, built and donated by Union Church Millworks.
Current members of the Safehome board of directors include Betsy Arritt, president; Tracey Spangler, vice-president; Teenie Kegley, treasurer; Janet Bryan, secretary, and Julie Jennings, the Rev. Bill Hartsfield, Lana Kemper, Christopher Shiraki, Renee Cardwell and Janet Seldomridge.
Domestic Violence A Survivor’s Story October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and the following piece was recently submitted to The Virginian Review.
It’s written from the perspective of a domestic violence survivor, who asked she remain anonymous, and relates how Safehome helped her through her ordeal and helped her find her voice as someone who now works with other victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse.
October is historically a bad month for me for a number of reasons, but that's not the reason I'm writing today.
October 17th marks two anniversaries for me.
I was assaulted both physically and sexually by an ex-boyfriend, seven years ago.
The attack was so bad that when I got back to campus (I was taking classes full time) the campus counselor sent me to the emergency room.
I had fingerprints all over me.
I had fingerprints around my neck, my jaw was dislocated.
The doctor said that considering I wasn't in a vehicle accident, I had the worst whiplash he had seen from how hard I was slammed around.
It took me three weeks to admit to the campus counselor what had actually happened.
I was in denial, and I was in the place that had been instilled in me since I was young — you keep the pain to yourself.
Fast forward to October 17th, exactly five years later.
The person, (because I won't call him a man) I was dating, that I thought loved me, that I thought was so different from the string of bad luck in relationships I had in those five years, decided it was the best day to get drunk, get mad at me and strangle me to the point of passing out.
I woke up alone, in a pool of my saliva.
He had threatened me in the midst of it that if I ever left him, I may as well not have a life.
His attack was intentional.
He knew it was an anniversary.
But that's what abusers and manipulators do, right?
They use any weakness they can against you.
It took another six weeks to actually leave him.
I was scared, and I felt like I was alone. I felt like I could tell no one what was going on.
I told one person what was going on, and finally was convinced after his repeated harassment and stalking that I needed to get a protective order.
Unfortunately, other than the initial emergency order, I was denied.
I was devastated.
Here enters in my story — a wonderful organization called Safehome.
I had known of them, but had never had the chance to interact.
Mary Downer gave me words of comfort and not just words of comfort, but concrete caring.
She treated me as a human who needed support, and not some riff-raff that had deserved what was coming to them.
I am, and forever will be, indebted to her for the nonjudgmental compassion that she showed me and for giving me resources and support that I had no idea existed.
I am indebted to Safehome and the staff that I have been so richly blessed to interact with since then.
It has been because of their support that I have been able to continue on, and to be able to continue working and caring for others in this area.
I say all of this because it is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
I share this very intimate part of myself because I want others to know that no matter your past, your patterns, your lifestyle, you are not alone!
I know it can feel like you are, but you aren't.
There are resources and these people truly care about you and your future.
They can, and will help; but only if you open your heart and let them.
I asked for this to be anonymous because I could be any one in this community.
Domestic violence is such a stealthy predator, and it knows no boundaries.
I could be your next door neighbor, I could be the lady you see smiling, waving and walking down the street.
You may never know just how many of us there are that are around you every day.