MIDLAND, Texas – Most of the moms who find shelter with Buckner Family Transition Programs either were a victim of domestic abuse or saw it in their home as a child. On Oct. 16, they could be “Silent No More.”
“Statistics are staggering,” Anna Rodriquez, program coordinator of Buckner Family Place in Midland, said regarding the frequency of domestic abuse. “Every nine seconds, a woman is beaten. This is not a topic we can shy away from or be silent about.”
In recognition of Domestic Violence Awareness month, Family Place partnered with local safe homes, community leaders, the district attorney’s office and local law enforcement to educate the public about the effects domestic abuse has on a family and the local resources available for victims.
“The children are seeing that abuse,” Rodriquez said. “So much of this abuse is generational. They are taught to suck it up and leave it alone, and that is the type of community our kids are being raised in. We need to speak up and say that domestic abuse is not OK and there is help if you are in that situation. It’s about breaking that silence. It’s about raising a healthy community.”
Family Place, a transitional family program, creates that healthy community by providing housing, child care assistance and counseling in an effort to support single mothers who are completing their education and trying to create better lives for their families.
[caption id="attachment_10187" align="alignright" width="400"] Veronica Castillo tells her story at the Silent No More event, comparing her life before escaping domestic abuse to a dry, dying tree.[/caption]
Veronica Castillo is one of the many mothers who found security and peace at Family Place after years of abuse.
“I was dying inside of me,” Castillo said. “I was weak, fragile, and I could not pay attention to my daughter. I knew I had to do something, but all that verbal abuse, all those words, all those threats telling me not to trust people, it got to me. I was scared. I wanted to leave, but I was afraid.”
Fortunately, Castillo’s sisters and mother encouraged her to seek help. Since coming to Family Place, Castillo is no longer afraid. She is empowered to live her life.
“I was crying,” Castillo said about first coming to Family Place, “but for the first time, these tears that I was crying were not from pain or from hurt, they were from joy. We have been blessed so much. I have been building a stronger life and my daughter is stronger too.”
Cynthia Rentie, program manager for Buckner Family Pathways in Dallas, said that is the purpose of the transitional homes – to provide hope.
“They come in wounded, scared, hopeless and vulnerable, but when they leave, their heads are raised high and they have self-esteem and can feel self-sufficient,” Rentie said. “They know they don’t have to go back to that place to their past because what they receive here, they feel empowered and their past does not identify who they are now. They have a whole new road map to life.”
Aimee Freston is the print publications editor for Buckner International. Contact her at afreston[at]buckner[dot]org.
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