National Domestic Violence Awareness Month is going on throughout the course of the month of October. Locally, the Muscatine Center for Social Action (MCSA) operates a domestic violence shelter in a confidential location to keep women and their children safe.
I reached out to my friend and shelter coordinator, Judy Yates, for some stats on how they are literally saving lives. Did you know that the shelter has not had an empty night in two years? Think about that for a second because in this column I’ve written about how several years ago, I was able to tour the shelter while it was empty. That tour happened during the morning and by that evening the shelter was full.
If you don’t think domestic violence is a problem in our community there’s proof. The MCSA domestic violence shelter has a 24 hour crisis line (563) 263-8080 that is answered 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. To date in 2020, they’ve taken 240 crisis phone calls.
The services provided at the shelter are free and confidential. What’s really powerful is the work that happens to help set the clients up for success as they prepare to leave the shelter. That’s where our community and the organizations connected to MCSA truly shine. They work to set up jobs, housing options, transportation, and so much more. Judy and her team have remained open during the pandemic and, as of writing this column, are currently providing a home for three women and four children. By the time you’re reading this that number will have probably increased. This is why I personally have been so passionate about supporting the shelter.
You should also know they receive zero funding from the state (something I feel should be changed) and rely solely on donations to remain open. Now, MCSA certainly does a great job operating the shelter, but you should also keep in mind their annual New Beginnings fundraiser had to be canceled this year. In one evening, that event typically generates $60-70,000 to keep the shelter open. So, if you’re reading this and able to make a donation I’d encourage you to go to www.MCSAIowa.org and click on “Domestic Violence Shelter.”
It’s not okay that women and children have to flee from an abusive home, oftentimes in the middle of the night with just the clothes on their backs. What is okay is that Muscatine continues to show love, compassion, and support to ensure the shelter doors remain open to save lives. Purple is the color associated with domestic violence awareness and an easy way to show your support.
I want to end this by sincerely thanking the MCSA team, Judy Yates and the shelter staff, and you, if you have supported their efforts in the past. Those folks are truly heroes who have continued to show up and refuse to ever stop doing the right thing for those in need. Together, we are capable of doing so much and that has to include having tough conversations about things happening in Muscatine while also doing the work to be better.