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Peace at Home

What to Expect After Escaping Domestic Abuse

What a survivor experiences while in an abusive relationship does not go away as soon as the relationship has ended. While there may no longer be the threat of actual physical harm, the lasting effects from emotional, psychological, financial, sexual, and any other abuse that occurred can stay with a survivor for a long time. The amount of stress experienced while living with abuse takes time to fully understand and sort out. This may seem like a lot of work, but getting out of an unhealthy relationship is always worth it. There is not anything an abuser can give you that matters more than your health and safety.

The most basic steps to take after leaving an unhealthy relationships is to find a safe place to stay, cutting off contact (as completely as possible for your situation) with the abuser, and making sure you can support yourself and others that may be in your care. You will also want to surround yourself with people who care about helping you. Having a support system can look like many different things- your friends, family, joining a support group, getting a counselor or therapist, etc.- but they each can be incredibly helpful to you while you work through regaining your independence.

Do not blame yourself for any of the things that you experienced. Be kind to yourself and take time to do things that you enjoy, even if they seem unimportant or silly. Use positive language when thinking or talking about yourself, and remember that you are stronger than you may believe. When you’re ready, go out of your way to have new experiences and conversations with others. Healing will look a little different for everyone, so take your time and do not put unrealistic expectations on yourself. It’s normal for people who have experienced abuse to have certain drawbacks and hesitations about things that may seem very casual to others.

At the end of the day, you are in charge of the decisions you make. Being a survivor of domestic abuse does not have to define who you are. Do not be afraid to ask for help, talk about your experiences, or continue living your life. It may take some time before you feel completely safe or “normal”, but healing from any abuse is worth the effort. You can expect to live a happy, healthy life after leaving an abusive relationship.

If you or someone you know needs help, contact Peace at Home’s Crisis Hotline at 479.442.9811. We offer several different services, and can refer you to local resources as well.

“What do I do if my friend needs help?”

Abuse or assault is not a fun thing- to go through, to talk about, or to deal with. It can be hard to know what the right or wrong thing to do or say is. If someone trusts you enough to share that they have been abused, you can help them in a lot of ways.

1. Listen to and believe them.

Sharing their story can sometimes be just as traumatic as the actual event, so if a survivor wants to talk about it, listen. Try not to ask a lot of questions, and let them know that you care about them.

2. Know abuse is never the victim’s fault.

Sometimes it can be easy to believe that something ‘set off’ or ‘caused’ the abuser to act. The only person responsible for the abuse is the person who abused. Let your friend know that they are not in the wrong, and deserve to be treated better.

3. Find local resources that offer help.

It can be hard to know where to start when dealing with a stressful situation. Reach out to organizations that can help in relation to the abuse. The Peace at Home Shelter offers transitional housing, legal representation, and support with finding employment and support groups. We also offer community referrals. Other organizations have many of these same resources. You can also suggest making something like a Family Safety Plan, which is easily tailored to fit whatever emergency that may occur.

4. Respect their decisions.

Many survivors do not want to report the assault or abuse, or tell anyone else about what occurred. They know their situation better than you do, so let them make the calls.

5. Continue to support and help them.

Sometimes the best thing you can do for a survivor is be their friend. Being able to discuss what’s happening with someone can help release stress, clear up any confusion about the situation, and re-establish healthy connections. Do your best to genuinely be there, even after the situation is resolved.

If you have any questions about domestic abuse or assault, or need help, contact Peace at Home Shelter’s Crisis Hotline at 479-442-9811.

National Teen Dating and Violence Awareness Month

February is National Teen Dating and Violence Prevention and Awareness Month! While our primary focus here at The Peace at Home Shelter is empowering survivors of domestic violence, it’s important to know that relational abuse does not occur only between adults. In fact, it’s estimated that over 1.5 million high school students have experienced physical abuse in their relationships. The cycle of abuse is a learned behavior, and there is not any specific cap determining to or from whom, and where, it can happen.


(Graphic provided by BreaktheCycle, which has a lot of information on both domestic abuse and teen dating violence.)

Many signs of abuse in teenage relationships are similar to domestic abuse. A relationship may be unhealthy or abusive if a partner:

  • is extremely jealous/possessive
  • has an explosive temper or constant mood swings
  • uses technology/social media to stalk, threaten, or intimidate you
  • isolates you from family or friends
  • lies, ignores, or accuses you falsely of things
  • physically inflicts pain or threatens to hurt you
  • pressures you to to engage in activities you do not want to do

Any type of abuse is never caused by a survivor’s actions, despite how the abuser may defend themselves. If you or someone you know is at risk, there are many things you can do to get help.

  • talk with an adult you can trust about your relationship
  • end contact with the abuser/partner
  • block abuser on social media
  • change your phone number

Surviving and recovering from an abusive relationship takes intentional effort. Having the courage to get help and talk about it is the first step. A support system is very helpful for someone who has experienced dating violence or abuse. There are many resources available to help you navigate what can a scary, unsafe, and emotional situation. If you or someone you know wants to learn more about what teen dating violence can look like, check out Love Is Respect or the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence.

Peace at Home Family Shelter cannot provide shelter to unaccompanied minors. Please contact us at 479-442-9811 if you have any questions or are in need of help.

Santa Sack is Coming Up Soon!

It's time to start planning Peace at Home's annual Santa Sack holiday event!

Santa Sack is an opportunity to support women and children (and also men and their children) who have successfully left abusive living arrangements.  These families often struggle financially and the parents worry that their children will not have a Christmas because they simply cannot afford to buy presents.

Members of the community make Christmas a reality by donating new toys for the children and new gift items for the adults.  On the day of Santa Sack, moms (or dads) pick out gifts for their children and the children pick out gifts for them.  It is a festive event for volunteers, staff and especially the families we serve.

Santa Sack is a fun-filled day where families get to pick out gifts, take Christmas pictures, and enjoy holiday activities! We need volunteers and donors to help make the event a success!

We hope you will be able to help us.  We need donations of new toys, gifts, wrapping paper, tape, and gift cards.  We also need volunteers to help set up tables, assist individuals picking out gifts, and wrap the gifts.  Enclosed with this letter is a list of gift ideas that would be appropriate for Santa Sack.

Santa Sack 2018 will be held on Friday, December 14, 2018.  Clients will be invited to come between 10:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. We will set up the gift tables on Thursday, December 13 between 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.  All gift donations should be received by noon on Thursday, December 13. Volunteers will be needed from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Thursday and from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Friday.

If you are interested in helping us share Christmas with the families we serve, please contact Jean Kebis at 479 717-6417 or jkebis@peaceathomeshelter.com.

We hope you will be part of this fun and joyful holiday event!

Meet our new Staff Attorney – Katelyn Admire

Katelyn Admire recently joined the team at Peace at Home Family Shelter as our second Staff Attorney. Read below to learn more about our newest team member and her role helping survivors of domestic violence in Northwest Arkansas. 

The Peace at Home Family Shelter Legal Program provides legal representation, court accompaniment, advocacy, and assistance to over 200 families every year.

What is your role at Peace at Home?

As one of two Staff Attorneys at Peace at Home, I am responsible for coordinating with other victim service providers to assist clients in finding assistance for (primarily) family and immigration law issues. For clients who are unable to receive services from these other providers, I will offer legal advice and representation to both resident and outreach clients in cases involving divorce, paternity, custody, visitation, child support, and orders of protection.

What are you most excited about in starting your role at Peace at Home?

I’ve always considered home to be a safe, comfortable place, but understand that not everyone has that luxury. This position will allow me to assist women in my community who consider home to be a place of fear or uncertainty to change their circumstances.

Who inspires you?

I was inspired by my grandmother, who worked in law firms for decades and was very talented in her role, at a time when there were few women in the legal career. This led me to go to law school and become an attorney. She was a strong, brilliant woman, and I strive to be like her and to an attorney that she would be proud of.

How do you spend your time outside of work?

When I’m not at work, I enjoy cooking, reading, Cardinals baseball, and hiking with my German Shepherd, Ozzie.

Where is your favorite place in the world?

Home. I know that’s not a very exciting answer, but I’m a chronic homebody. Other than that, I absolutely love Universal Studios in Orlando. I grew up (and continue to be) a huge Harry Potter nerd.