Saturday, August 24, 2013

Divorce diaries

Should have been what many of us women did first, before marriage.

When a woman lives in a small town, with no women's shelters, she is basically on her own.  She has to stay with friends, hope Social Services puts you and your kids in a motel or sleep in her car, if she can even afford a car.  I know, first hand.  I went to Social Services once, the first time I had tried to leave, and this is what one of those workers said to me: "I'm so booked up right now.  Can't you just make up?  For a while?"  Now it's a statistical fact most abused women leave 5 times before staying away, or for good.  Can't imagine why in small towns.  I know those workers hope we all leave their jurisdiction, to save them paperwork.  One woman I met, later on, while working in a city that did have a shelter, fled with her small dog, to be told: "I'm sorry but we cannot let you have your dog."  Bull shit!  There is a loving connection with a pet, what in hell is wrong with agencies anyway?

Getting services is frustrating.

A woman has to go for services if she has no job at the time.  The abuser usually makes sure she has no decent job because he calls where she works, or she is emotionally distraught as to what is going at home, no social support, and isolated that she ends up losing her job. 

My two kids and I stayed with a friend for a while, but her husband was so abusive, that was a trauma by itself.  We stayed there because even though I found a nice apartment, Social Services refused to pay for it because the landlord didn't require a security deposit.  No safe haven because of some effed up rules.  

Then we found a HUD apartment and we had absolutely no furniture because we fled with the clothes on our backs.  But we were happier than in a household full of turmoil.  Social Services offered no help with furniture nor tells you they have a fund for any.

I know many people view women who go for services as lazy, incompetent, shiftless, bad mothers and so on so forth.  Not so.  If you have school aged kids, well you also have to 'look for a job' because Welfare to Work is supposed to help you be self-sufficient. But how is that?  You usually have to get a low paying job, crappy hours, no support especially after a while, for child care, no car and Still have to get food stamps and Medicare because the crappy job pays nothing, so you cannot afford rent and utilities and food.  You know what small towns offer for jobs?  Mostly the "Would you like fries with that?"  Kind of employment.

Over the edge yet?

The times I had called the police when the abuser was acting up, went like this:  once the cop sided with the ex saying: "I understand, my ex wife is a bitch too."  The abuser is not the bitch?  Then another cop tried to talk me out of having him arrested.  Explaining to me the abuser was just distraught and upset.  

Yes, he usually was distraught and upset over nothing.  What's new?  I am a firm believer that a Case Manager should go on Every domestic call simply for the woman to have someone to talk to, and to have moral support.

Like I always say: "Stop domestic violence" is nothing more than the slogan and the cause of the week once a year.

What have YOU done to help an abused woman get someplace safe?