Readers help women, kids in crisis

January 6, 2013 

Blood's thicker than mud, and it's Monday Mail.

Family affair

Today's opening is from the song "Family Affair," by the group Sly & The Family Stone.

Family violence

Today's reader feedback concerns a Dec. 23 column telling people eager to respond to the Connecticut school shootings they can help victims of violence here by donating to Hope Harbour, the battered women's shelter.

Once considered a private affair, family violence is a public health threat loading our criminal justice system with assaults and homicides involving not only domestic partners attacking each other, but parents abusing children.

Ending such abuse before it escalates saves us a lot of time, effort and money. And it saves lives.

Hope Harbour is a Columbus refuge for women and children fleeing violent men, and it's very busy -- as illustrated by this message director Diane Hett sent Dec. 21 as we discussed the column:

Tim,

If you have not finished the article, I should have added that the shelter stays full. I just phoned and the person covering the crisis line has had five crisis calls since 2 p.m. today. We constantly shuffle people to make room for someone else coming in -- to include having them sleep on the sofa bed in the computer room.

If necessary we will relocate a victim to another shelter or to friends or relatives (across the state or across the country).

Extended family

A reader responding to that column sent an editorial page letter to say Hope Harbour's not the only area haven for victims of violence. The Crisis Center of Russell County is expanding and needs funds.

"Donations can be made from their website at http://www.ccpcrc.org/ through Paypal or through Columbus Bank and Trust Of Phenix City at http://www.cbtbankea.com," wrote Robert E. Cole in his letter published Dec. 27.

Follow up

In appreciation to all who acted on that column, we have this Dec. 26 message from Hett:

Hello Tim,

Thank you for the article in Sunday's paper…. I have already received three checks that I attribute to the article, and Alice Budge stated that her contribution was in response to it.

Diane.

Dear Diane:

I would ask you to let us know every time the shelter needs help in a crisis, but that might be all the time. I guess that goes to show fighting family violence on the front line is really hard work.

But rescuing women and children is worth it.

The Hope Harbour crisis line is 706-324-3850 or 1-800-334-2836.

Tim Chitwood, tchitwood@ledger-enquirer.com, 706-571-8508.

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