For Survivors: Meet Shirley Adonis, InVEST Victim Advocate

It was the fast pace of shelter life that first attracted Shirley Adonis to Hubbard House.

“I was a junior in college completing training to become an On-Call Advocate for the Women’s Center at the University of North Florida,” said Shirley. “Part of that training was a tour of Hubbard House. I remember walking past the hotline room … Multiple lines were ringing. Doors and gates were going off. Participants were at the door. The person working there at the time was completely calm, addressing one thing after another. I thought to myself, I want to do that.” And, she did.

Initially, Shirley worked in the Shelter. After two years, she moved to a position in Court Advocacy. Today, she serves on the Intimate Violence Enhanced Services Team (InVEST)* as the InVEST Victim Advocate. She starts her day at the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office (JSO) where she and other team members review domestic violence police reports looking for high lethality indicators, i.e. strangulation, loss of consciousness, weapons, etc. Then, she returns to her Hubbard House office and proactively reaches out to the victims judged to be in the greatest danger.

“What I love most about my current position is it’s structured around a Hubbard House advocate reaching out to provide services as opposed to the survivor reaching out. It still baffles me how many people don’t know what Hubbard House is and what we do,” said Shirley. Some victims opt to receive shelter and services immediately; however, even when a victim isn’t ready, Shirley takes satisfaction in knowing that she’s planted a life-saving seed and the victim knows where to turn when s/he is ready to take the next step.

Of course, sometimes working with victims who’ve experienced extreme violence takes a toll, so Shirley works a self-care plan that relies on people; namely, she surrounds herself with positive people in her personal life and leans on her Hubbard House family – supervisors and fellow advocates – for support at work. Shirley explains that no one understand the pressures or pleasures of doing the work like fellow advocates, and no one understands better the driving force behind the work they do: to always be the best for survivors.

InVEST program

*The Intimate Violence Enhanced Services Team (InVEST) program is a partnership with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office and the City of Jacksonville. Daily, a Hubbard House advocate, a detective and a city employee review domestic violence police reports, evaluate cases for lethal indicators and proactively contact the victims to offer services. The program has been credited with reducing intimate partner homicides in Duval County and has been replicated statewide.

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Survivor Story: Kelly wasn’t alone anymore

Baby faceKelly came to shelter feeling as if she was just a shell of her former self. Before meeting her husband Tony, she had laughed easily, spoke freely and enjoyed close relationships with friends and family. After meeting and marrying Tony, and as his abuse escalated into physical violence, there was no joy, just fear; no open communication, just coerced agreement; and her sense of isolation was all-consuming, leaving Kelly feeling utterly alone. Then, one day, everything changed … The stick turned blue.

The pregnancy was unexpected but Kelly very much wanted her baby. Pressed by the reality that her pregnancy would soon show, and Tony would be dangerously irate because he didn’t want children, she searched the Internet for help. She found Hubbard House, called the Domestic Violence Hotline, and with the help of her victim advocate, created a plan to come into shelter, safely.  When the day of escape came, she acted as if it were any other day, but it wasn’t: It was the first day of her brand-new beginning.

In shelter, Kelly received the services she needed. Counseling and survivor support groups helped alleviate the isolation and assisted her in identifying the domestic violence she’d suffered. She also received legal help and obtained an Injunction for Protection, and a career coach helped her to figure out how to talk to her employer, who proved to be a valuable ally. Ultimately, Kelly had to use a variety of techniques to find freedom, like changing her work hours and finding a new place to live, but it was all worth it when her daughter was born, a healthy, naturally happy 7.5-pound blue-eyed baby girl.

Today, the two live free of violence and full of hope in the Jacksonville area.

 

Chaplains Offer Comfort to Survivors in Shelter

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The Hubbard House chaplaincy program, established in 2016, is part of the agency’s ongoing efforts to supply complete services to survivors. “Research and conversations right here at shelter led me to understand that providing spiritual help is essential to our survivors, especially women,” explained Hubbard House CEO Dr. Gail A. Patin, who spearheaded the program alongside dedicated volunteer Linda Hill. Currently, three volunteer chaplains, all ordained ministers, serve in-shelter survivors.

When asked what surprised her most about working with Hubbard House participants, Chaplain Kimberly Weir said, “Most of the survivors I’ve met with come to me with a well-established faith. They aren’t asking where was God when their abuse happened. Instead, they want God’s help for today’s challenges or spiritual guidance for what’s next.” Chaplain Kimberly, also on staff with another local non-profit serving the low-income elderly, has been with the program since its inception and is encouraged by the program’s impact.

Chaplain Kimberly explained that many survivors finds it validating when a person they see as spiritually significant sits to hear her story. “I don’t try to offer answers,” says Kimberly. “Instead, I am a witness to what they want to share. I try to speak words of affirmation and hope over their futures. And, if they are interested (and most are), we pray together, asking for God, as the survivor understands him or her, to protect, guide and strengthen them as they heal.

Hubbard House Holiday Guide!

istock Young boy opening Christmas gift small versionWant to help make the holidays happier for domestic violence survivors and their children? Take a look at the Hubbard House Holiday Guide 2017 PDF  It’s full of wonderful ways that you and yours can bring significant joy to survivors and survivor-led families who are escaping the darkness of domestic violence and finding bright new beginnings!

Still have questions after reading the guide? Email development@hubbardhouse.org.

 

 

2017 Domestic Violence Awareness Address

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At last week’s Barbara Ann Campbell Memorial Breakfast, Hubbard House CEO Dr. Gail A. Patin delivered a powerful speech that asked and answered the questions on the minds of many in the community; namely, why should I, as an individual or organization in Jacksonville, support Hubbard House? What difference does Hubbard House make locally? And, how can I personally help to eradicate domestic violence? Her remarks, featured below, resonated and moved many to action.

Domestic Violence Address

23rd Annual Barbara Ann Campbell Memorial Breakfast, October 12, 2017

Hubbard House CEO Dr. Gail A. Patin

People often ask why I have chosen to make my life’s work the eradication of domestic violence. The reason is simple: Survivors. I am driven to see these courageous women, children and men live safe and satisfying lives that they choose for themselves. As I look out at each of you, I see this truth: You are with me. We are in this together.

It’s also true that together, as a community, we can eradicate domestic violence, especially domestic violence homicides.

To take our next steps in this work together, let’s begin by wrapping our hearts and minds around two truths that will inform our work going forward:

Truth one is this, and it’s difficult . . .  Last year, we saw the number of domestic violence homicides climb to a 20-year high in Duval County.

Twelve (12) victims were shot, stabbed, strangled, drowned, set on fire, beaten to death and/or thrown out like trash by their intimate partners.

The word unacceptable doesn’t even begin to cover it.

Furthermore, it’s especially tragic because we didn’t have the opportunity to intervene in these situations. Not one of these victims were seeking services from Hubbard House when they were murdered.

So, truth one is this… In 2016, a record number of human beings in our community lost their lives to domestic violence, and none of them were receiving services from Hubbard House.

Here is truth two, and this is our best truth, the good news:

It doesn’t have to be this way!  Hubbard House is here to help,

and we are saving lives together.

Last year, Hubbard House provided life-saving, life-changing services to 5,019 women, children and men here in our local community.

Right here in Jacksonville,

Survivors were safely sheltered and sustained.

They were supported, counseled, informed and educated.

They were helped to obtain injunctions for protection, and they were assisted in finding jobs and homes.

And you know what else? They are all alive today.

Every woman. Every child. Every man. Every person who sought Hubbard House services in 2016 – All of them – are alive right now.

Taken together, what do these two truths mean? They mean that there are people dying in our community because of domestic violence, and they don’t have to because we have a solution that works! We simply must reach them, survivors living in these situations, through greater awareness of domestic violence and of our services, so more survivors will turn to us. Awareness, after all, is why we are here today.

As we move forward in this work we are doing together, here are two ways that you can maintain or deepen your commitment to the cause, the eradication of domestic violence.

One. Share about domestic violence and Hubbard House with those in your circle of influence – leave our “What is abuse?” cards in your break room, schedule a Hubbard House speaker to talk with your group about domestic violence, or share one of our informative Twitter or Facebook posts with your friends or followers.

You know, on average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States, and one in three women experiences physical violence, sexual violence or stalking from an intimate partner in their lifetimes, so you will reach someone in need. Someone that we, Hubbard House, can’t reach on our own.

Two. Please continue to support the work of Hubbard House with your time and your treasure. In so doing, you are providing a place for survivors and their children to turn for help, when they need help most. And, the truth is, miracles happen in our halls! You are also making our community a better place to live, because when life gets better for some of us, it gets better for all of us.     

Because of you, lives are saved and hearts are healed. Thank you so much for your support.

Saving Lives, Healing Hearts . . . Together

Small Hubbard House-0018By Hubbard House CEO Gail Patin

As I look back over my first 10 days as the new CEO of Hubbard House, I am so very grateful for the phenomenal Hubbard House team of staff, volunteers and board members. Their dedication to our vision of “every relationship violence free” is unparalleled. I am also incredibly, deeply grateful for the community’s support of the Hubbard House organization.

This community wraps its arms around the work we do through volunteering, advocating for survivors and by supporting Hubbard House financially. Volunteers answer our hotline, clean and paint our facility, throw parties for our residential children, organize food drives and the list goes on and on. Supporters invite us to speak in the community, allowing us to create greater awareness of domestic violence. And our donors, well, they give in many ways, such as by sponsoring our events and giving financial gifts.

I am also grateful for our retired CEO, Ellen Siler. Ellen is a remarkable woman who left a legacy of sound business practices and empowerment-based services for survivors. However, I believe it is her no-holds-barred compassion that is legendary. Whether she was advocating for survivors, listening to a staff member experiencing a personal crisis or helping a woman tell her story of courage, Ellen’s heart was and is wide open. When I think of Ellen, I think of a cross-stitched saying my mother has displayed in her home, “She gives so much and knows not that she gives at all.” I am grateful for having her in my life as a leader, a mentor and a friend.

Last but certainly not least, I am grateful for survivors of domestic violence. Over the past 20 years, I have had the privilege of meeting and getting to know the many women, children and men that come through our doors. Every day they teach me the meaning of courage and strength. They are the reason for everything I do, everything we do together, and it’s an honor to be a part of their stories.

So, as we move into the future, my heart is full of gratitude for the wonderful support this organization and community has for survivors and their families and for the survivors themselves. I look forward to continuing to work with the community to create a safer city for all of us.

Survivor Story: Why I Walk

Lauren Musielak PhotoIn this powerful blog, one survivor shares why she walked with us at this year’s Stand Up & Stride. We are grateful that she and so many other survivors joined us to create domestic violence awareness and to celebrate their bright new beginnings.

WHY I WALK by Lauren Musielak

I walk for myself. I keep my head up, knowing what I have overcome. My past doesn’t define me. I am a lot stronger. I am a survivor.

I walk for my perpetrator. I stand up and stride, letting him know that I am no longer scared. It is my body and I decide what happens to it. He is to blame, not me. No means no, but most importantly yes means yes.

I walk for my ex. For I am strong, independent and free, free of his words, which no longer haunt me. I walk hoping he got help, that he is a better man.

I walk holding hands with my daughter. I hold tight, hoping she will never have to go through what I have. I know that I can’t protect her from everything, but I can raise her knowing what a healthy relationship is.

I walk for her. She was just a child, her innocence stolen. She is now an adult and did what seemed to be impossible, she got help. She now knows that she is not to blame and it wasn’t right. She will have to face him in court, but she won’t be alone.

I walk for the ones who aren’t able to. Every day three women are murdered by a current or former male partner in the U.S. Out of the 1,095 killed each year from domestic violence, only 4 percent of them had used a domestic violence hotline or shelter within the year prior to being killed by an intimate partner.

I walk for the 1 in 3 women and the 1 in 4 men who have been physically abused by their intimate partner. We walk together, to stop the epidemic. We walk to inspire people to help and inspire victims to get help.

Most importantly, we walk for you. You are not alone. You are not to be blamed. You do not deserve to be abused. You too, can rise. You have rights. Your body has rights. You can get help.

We walk to stop domestic violence. We stand up and stride with Hubbard House, because we are survivors.

Hubbard House 24-Hour Hotline (800) 500-1119 or (904) 354-3114

Hubbard House is a full-service certified domestic violence center providing prevention and intervention to domestic violence survivors and their families in Duval and Baker counties in Northeast Florida.

VOLUNTEER PROFILE: COAST GUARD GMC IAN KEANE

ian-with-giftcardsCoast Guard GMC Ian Keane serves the community by day and, through his volunteer efforts with Hubbard House, also on many of his days off, nights and weekends! What has his experience been like? We asked and he answered. Below, find the responses of the honorable Ian – military man, toy store decorator, gift card raiser, walk worker and all around great friend.

(Thanks, Ian, for everything!)

Tell us about the first time you volunteered for Hubbard House.

The first time I volunteered for Hubbard House, I was invited by a coworker to help sort toys and set up the holiday store. A group of five or six of us showed up, and we were told to turn the room into a winter wonderland. Since I enjoy volunteering and was working with so many fellow military members, we accomplished a lot and the time flew by.

Before I knew it, it was time to leave, but not until some of the staff came in. Seeing the awe and appreciation on their faces and the tears in their eyes made it unlike most volunteer efforts that I am a part of. In addition, we were given a tour of the facility and got an overview of all Hubbard House provides.

Since that first time, you’ve continued to volunteer in a variety of ways: you’ve raised funds, helped with special events, and led teams that help at the holidays. Share with us a favorite memory.

Each opportunity has been equally rewarding. However, my favorite memory actually happened this year. While sorting toys, a mom was shopping for her kids in the toy store. She walked in and was instantly overwhelmed. Seeing her being blessed by the generosity of strangers warmed my heart. Even the coworkers I brought said their faith in humanity was restored a bit. To see the positive impact that Hubbard House and the volunteers have on these victims is priceless. To be a part of that and to show unconditional love to complete strangers who may never have experienced it is so rewarding.

You’ve been volunteering for Hubbard House for years! What keeps you coming back to us?

My love of helping others keeps me coming back. When I joined the Coast Guard I told the recruiter that I want to help people. I wanted to give some stranger a second chance at life, whether through stopping drugs or performing a rescue at sea. Through Hubbard House, you get to see the life changing work that is being done every time you are there. The mission of Hubbard House is also dear to my heart as my wife was verbally abused by her father for more than 20 years. No woman or person should ever have to face physical or emotional abuse, period. I am proud to help such an honorable organization.

We are so grateful to Ian and all of our volunteers. We simply couldn’t do this work without the support of caring people, like him, them, and you. If you’re interested in exploring Hubbard House volunteer opportunities, contact Outreach Engagement Coordinator Alexis (Lexi) Carpenter at volunteers@hubbardhouse.org. We hope to see you around the halls of Hubbard House.

If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship please call the Hubbard House 24-hour domestic violence hot-line at (904) 354-3114 or (800) 500-1119. Hubbard House can help.

ABOUT HUBBARD HOUSE: Hubbard House is a full-service certified domestic violence center providing prevention and intervention to domestic violence survivors and their families in Duval and Baker counties in Northeast Florida.

 

Survivor Story: Tami

bw-big-pexel-for-blogTami lived with her boyfriend, Tom, in a remote area of Jacksonville. As such, when Tom began to beat her, there were no neighbors to hear her cries; furthermore, she had no support system, so she had no friends or family to turn to and no safe place to run. Daily, Tami awoke feeling trapped and terrified, forced to face her ever-angry abuser alone.

As time wore on, the beating and other abuses intensified. During one episode of violence, Tami described how Tom shoved her to the floor. When she would try to get up, he would punch her, each blow harder than the last. Eventually, Tom strangled Tami until she lost consciousness. She woke to a blood-chilling threat: “I’m going to kill you someday, and no one will find your body.”

One evening in June, the violence came to a head when Tom dealt Tami an especially savage beating. He bloodied and bruised her body. He broke her nose and ribs. As she laid on the floor, she knew she had to do something. So, she waited for an opportunity, made her way to the bathroom, locked the door behind her, and called the police. Soon, officers arrived, Tom was taken into custody, and Tami was taken to Hubbard House.

At Hubbard House, Tami met with a Victim Advocate who helped her to get desperately needed medical care and a Court Advocate who helped her file for an Injunction for Protection. Soon after, she met with the Hubbard House Counselor who helped her to begin working through the trauma-related issues she was experiencing and to help her regain her self-concept and self-esteem. Days once filled with fear were now filled with art therapy, journaling, gentle yoga and most importantly, safety. She also attended a Hubbard House support group. As she listened to other victims, women just like her, key truths crystalized: the abuse was not her fault, and more broadly domestic violence is never a victim’s fault.

As Tami’s healing progressed, and she felt stronger, her eyes turned to the future and becoming self-sufficient. She met with the Hubbard House job coach who helped her put together a resume, search for jobs, and practice her interview skills. She was also provided with an interview outfit from the career closet and transportation to and from the interviews she landed. Within one month, Tami had a job.

Tami decided she wanted to continue rebuilding her life in Jacksonville. She searched for rentals in the local area and found one she liked, safe and clean, and close to work. She was able to cover the move-in costs on her own, but she had no furniture, linens or kitchen items. Again, Hubbard House was able to help. A voucher to the Hubbard House Thrift Store allowed Tami to furnish her new place with all the essentials at absolutely no cost to her.

The day Tami moved out of shelter, she met her Advocate in the lobby, and they participated in a joyful Hubbard House tradition: the key dance. The key dance celebrates a victim who has become a survivor and who is moving into a new, safe place. Today, Tami continues to do very well. She resides in the Jacksonville area and is living violence-free.

About Hubbard House

Hubbard House is a full-service certified domestic violence center providing prevention and intervention services to domestic violence survivors and their families in Duval and Baker counties in Northeast Florida.

Individuals who are in an abusive relationship, or know someone who is, are urged to call Hubbard House’s 24-hour domestic violence hotline at (904) 354-3114 or 1-800-500-1119.

#YouAreNotAlone: Our Campaign to End Domestic Violence

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Studies estimate that every 9 seconds a woman is assaulted or beaten in the United States. For domestic violence victims, the feeling of isolation can be paralyzing. But, change will come if we speak out.

That’s why we are introducing our social media campaign, #YouAreNotAlone: to show support and let victims know that we stand with them. Throughout the month of October, we are partnering with local sister shelters, Quigley House, Betty Griffin’s House, and Micah’s Place. We ask our followers to paint their left ring fingernail purple, share a photo on social media with the hashtags #YouAreNotAlone and #HHJax, and tag us in the photo, so we can share it too. You can follow along with the conversation on our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages. Together, we’ll raise awareness of domestic violence.

What to Say

When someone asks about your one purple nail, it’s your chance to educate them about the issue of domestic violence and the ways Hubbard House is working to end it. Here’s what you can say:

  • Domestic violence (DV) is a pattern of power and control that one person exhibits over another, and it isn’t just physical. (It can include manipulation, threats, cyber stalking, and economic coercion.)
  • DV is prevalent: 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have been physically abused by an intimate partner.
  • This year marks the 40 year anniversary of Hubbard House. They run a 24-Hour Hotline (904-354-3114), an emergency shelter, support groups, and even batterer’s intervention programs to help women and men in the community.

Sample Posts

Not sure what to write on social media? We have some sample posts for you. Feel free to copy and paste these posts on your Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages, along with your photo!

Facebook

  • Every minute, 24 people experience rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner. Take the #YouAreNotAlone challenge this month, and help Hubbard House, Inc. [tagged] end domestic violence! Details here: https://hubbardhouse.wordpress.com/ #HHJax

Twitter

  • Help @HubbardHouse end #domesticviolence – take the #YouAreNotAlone challenge: [link] #DVAM #HHJax [photo]

Instagram

  • #DomesticViolence affects 1 in 4 women in the US. This month, I’m helping @Hubbard_House raise awareness by joining the #YouAreNotAlone challenge. Spread the word by sharing a photo of your left fingernail painted purple, and visit @hubbard_house to find out how you can help. #dv #dvam [photo]

Visit www.hubbardhouse.org for more information, and follow Hubbard House on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Thank you so much for partnering with us!