Women in Transition knows this isn’t a sexy cause, but our expanding WIT Executive Committee is looking for ways to bring attention and a call to action to women who have the ability to reach out and help their sisters. We want to fill this niche, offering support and guidance, connecting women with others who can help see them through the challenges they face in their lives.
One of the projects I’ve been spending time on, and which I’ve blogged about previously, is Hudson Valley Women In Transition (WIT). This group is working to help battered and abused women who are trying to make the leap from abusive home situations into safer lives independent of their abusive partner. Historically, these are the women who have relied not only on government-provided social services, but also on a strong social network to help them put their life in order after leaving situations where they’re subjected to domestic violence. With social service budgets slashed, it’s more important than ever for those of us in strong, positive positions to reach out to our struggling sisters.It might seem like an obvious statement, but being a Woman in Transition is never an easy thing. There are a multitude of variables and challenges that present themselves to any woman who tries to leave a domestic violence situation, from basic necessities like clothing, shelter and food to more sophisticated questions of how best to engage with the support structures that are in place to help women move into new homes, new careers, and new phases of their lives. WIT’s work-in-progress, therefore, is to offer a helping hand – but a hand that’s needed and wanted, in specific ways that women in vulnerable transitional stages let us know are useful and helpful to them.Over the next few months, WIT will be working with revolving populations of these women. Our primary concern, in the immediate future, is going to be working with the Post-Separation victims of Domestic Violence. What this fancy title means is that the group we’ll be working with have, so far, successfully left their abusive partners without encountering any violent retribution. This alone marks a major achievement for many of these women – don’t forget that in Duchess County, Linda Riccardulli was murdered in cold blood, not too long ago, when her abusive husband returned from posting bail. Also remember that one in four homes in Duchess County is dealing with a Domestic Violence situation. Want some perspective on the way the system is weighted against these women? How about the fact that men who are convicted of abusing or murdering their wives serve, on average, just five to eight years for their crimes, while women who murder their abusive spouses serve an average of 25 years in prison!