WHEN ME TOO MEETS GET ME OUT OF HERE
In they cities of Baltimore, Philadelphia, Chicago and Jersey City, New Jersey, there is a revolution taking place, a quiet revolution, that barely gets any publicity if any at all.
The administration in these cities are trying desperately to reinvigorate their cities through the revolution of Real Estate by attracting first time home buyers with eligible properties that have been abandoned, neglected and left derelict.
The Mayors of these cities see these properties, vacant land, row houses, dilapidated structures and heaps of concrete as a goldmines, because they understand that residents who come in to these neighborhoods when they are broken, with the intention of rebuilding; that there is a deeper sense of community and pride of ownership and they are not wrong.
Whole entire cities are banking on the future, hoping that new residents will bring a sense of pride and community to these run down desolate neighborhoods and with attractive bottom of the barrel price-tags and grants to rehabilitate homes, there is a real chance here for new life.
These administrators are not wrong; it has been proven over and over again with Harlem as the most recent example of revitalization through these bold strategies.
Considering all of these things and what I have learned out of my own desperation for housing while seeking to escape my own domestic violence;
I am inclined to believe that there is an opportunity here that is being missed and almost ignored by popular movements that encourage women to speak up about domestic violence and educate women and girls about violent partners.
I find myself asking more often that not, after we speak up-then what?
Most of us who experienced domestic violence in addition to sexual assault are sometimes still living with our abuser.
Many of us have no alternative sources of refuge, where we can flee with our children.
Many of us do not have the resources to get away and start again Scot free.
Many of us have already weighed the Pros and Cons of going to a shelter with a 30 day limit, some of which require their wards to apply for welfare in order to finance their stay and none of which support entrepreneurship as a viable means of transition.
Many of us have attempted to get loans and grants that go nowhere.
The real issue that America is facing, is that there is very little being done to address poverty of those who experience domestic abuse or physical assault.
According to the National Center on Family Homelessness:
As of 2015, 1 in 30 American children was homeless at some point in 2013. That’s about 2.5 million kids, and an 8 percent increase to “an historic high.”
Even more alarming is that this study also recognizes that just over half of these children are younger than six years old.
This means that there is approximately 1.3 Million Children in America that are facing homelessness at any given time.
Understanding that homelessness does not happen in a bubble and women fleeing domestic violence are likely to be the cause of Childhood homelessness; I did further investigating and found alarming numbers that support this thesis.
I found these “shocking” results on the Domestic Shelters Website:
16% of homeless persons are victims of domestic violence. Source: The U.S. Conference of Mayors 2013 Status Report on Hunger & Homelessness, A 25-City Survey (2013).
84% of homeless women have experienced severe physical or sexual abuse at some point in their lives. Source: Browne, A. 1998. “Responding to the Needs of Low Income and Homeless Women Who are Survivors of Family Violence.” Journal of American Medical Women’s Association. 53(2): 57-64.
63% of homeless women have been victims of intimate partner violence as adults. Source: Browne, A. 1998. “Responding to the Needs of Low Income and Homeless Women Who are Survivors of Family Violence.” Journal of American Medical Women’s Association. 53(2): 57-64.
33% of homeless women have been victims of severe assault by their current or most recent intimate partner. Source: Browne, A. 1998. “Responding to the Needs of Low Income and Homeless Women Who are Survivors of Family Violence.” Journal of American Medical Women’s Association. 53(2): 57-64.
By age 12, 83% of homeless children have been exposed to at least one serious violent event and nearly 25% have witnessed acts of violence within their families. Source: Bassuk, E.L., Weinreb, L.F., Buckner, J.C., Browne, A., Salomon, A., & Bassuk, S.S. (1996). “The characteristics and needs of sheltered homeless and low-income housed mothers.” Journal of the American Medical Association, 276, 640-646.
Mothers experiencing homelessness have three times the rate of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) (36%) and twice the rate of drug and alcohol dependence (41%). Source: Bassuk, EL. et al. 1997. “Homelessness in female-headed families: childhood and adult risk and protective factors.” American Journal of Public Health87(2): 241-248.
About 50% of mothers experienced a major depressive episode since becoming homeless. They have ulcers at four times the rate of other women. Sources: Weinreb, L. et al. (2006). “A Comparison of the Health and Mental Status of Homeless Mothers in Worcester, Mass: 1993-2003.” American Journal of Public Health. 96(8):1444-1448. And Weinreb LF et al. (1998). “The health characteristics and service use patterns of sheltered homeless and low-income housed mothers.” Journal of General Internal Medicine. 13(1): 389-397.
As a victim of my mother’s Narcissistic Discards that have lead me to homelessness, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, A Pituitary Adenoma and into the arms of two physically abusive men, I went digging for more, picking away at it like an ugly sore on my soul.
According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence:
In 2000, more than half of the cities surveyed by the U.S. Conference of Mayors identified domestic violence as a primary cause of homelessness.
Almost one out of every four people receiving homeless services was a minor child and it is estimated that almost half of children in shelters are under the age of 5.
Their mothers are more likely to be the only parent in the household who is 5 times more likely to face poverty.
The real issue here, is the need for stable and traditional housing outside of shelters with 30 day limits
As I sought to escape my own domestic abuse situation, hoping to avoid running from Abuse to Safety and then homelessness in 30 days with my 2 year old daughter, I decided to seek out grants that could support my transition but all I found was a lot of broken links and down websites for grants that claimed to support individual women.
I even went as far as paying money I had to borrow for a women’s grant that completely overlooked me and ignored me.
In my situation;
I have nowhere to turn.
I live in a remote, rural town in North Carolina, with seasonal neighbors.
I do not have a car, I sold it to finance escape from domestic violence in New Jesey
I do not have access to Public Transportation.
I do not have somewhere that can accommodate my daughter and I.
I have no child care whatsoever.
I fled her abusive father while pregnant and an abusive boyfriend before that, only to end up back home with my mother who abused me as a child, put me out on the street several times and has threatened me with a knife and homelessness repeatedly in the past year since I have been in her home.
I am completely at her non existent mercy.
I cannot leave my daughter behind to find work, because the last time I did that, when I returned she had a busted lip and a broken tooth, which I documented and E-mailed the local DFS with no response.
I applied for loans, but without a cosigner-I was unable to acquire the finance needed to move forward.
All of my business ventures and recognition, Hosting Radio Programs, writing for Newspapers; winning Pitch Challenges, Invitations to the United Nations, all of it has dissipated into misery and helplessness under the heel of my mother’s Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
It is as though my College education never existed, the work that I put in to building mobile apps, the traveling I did to prove my business model in Jordan and China learning Mandarin-it is like it never happened at all.
Though my experiences are unique my story is not special because it reflects the story of millions of other women.
If I did not need to make radical moves to escape abuse, I would not be in a position where I am faced with choosing homelessness with a 2 year old child as a viable option.
THIS IS A SERIOUS PROBLEM
This is a serious problem for America because as these movements directed at Women, Girls and Trans women become, national waves none of them really address the needs faced by the abused.
Though we are encouraged to speak up-to tell our stories to join coalitions, to run for office, to impact legislation, to march, to write, to tweet; all of which is well and good.
-but none of it addresses the fact that women in complicated, physically abusive and psychologically debilitating abuse need a permanent place to live.
Indeed this is an exciting time to be a woman, but what an awful time to be a broke woman, and a disgusting time to be a broke, black single mother, with no car!
The speeches are encouraging; promoting investing in women and girls in impoverished communities around the world; but very very little is being done at home here in the U.S.;
but there is an opportunity that everyone is missing.
We Need to Get Out of Here!
Is it not proven that when a woman is educated, she also supports and educates her own community?
Why is this a fact in other communities around the world, where women’s funds synergies their energies but not true for American women?
Are American women not also at risk, as I demonstrated through this post?
Lets imagine for a minute if some of these resources that encourages women to speak up about their abuses could be allocated towards transforming the derelict communities of Baltimore, Philadelphia and Chicago by furnishing abused women with homes.
What if we borrowed from the Umoja village in Kenya and built a community of women fleeing Domestic Violence?
What if in America we created a new kind of digital revolution through abused women who were trained in digital marketing, web development and digital technology development?
What if these villages are actually the derelict communities in America just waiting to happen?
What could we accomplish here?
Could we not only address the problems of crumbling communities with abused Mothers seeking to heal and find a new sense of self while addressing childhood homelessness?
Do we not have the solution right before our very eyes?
It would be a novel thing for me to say:
“This is what I would do; I have found my purpose“
-I want to start a movement that helps to channel resources to women of abuse towards cities that need them the most; but as a victim myself, I can do very little.
My situation is demonstrative of not only the gap that exists, but the destruction of the possibility of boundless potential of women who have experienced abuse to actually be a part of the solution.
HOW MANY MORE?
How many more are just like me?
How many potential business women, how many potential Senators, how many potential Congress women, how many potential Breadwinners, how many potential Organizers, how many potential Media personalities, how many potential Advocates of Women’s rights?, how many potential Community Pillars are silenced under the boot of abuse, poverty and homelessness with no visible solution?
YOU CAN HELP
I am powerless, outside of this blog-but you can use your voice, you can use your platform, you can organize your resources, you can mobilize, you can articulate, you can retweet, you can comment, you can do something but please do not just sit there and do nothing, because if I was you; I would have used my powers as I always have to support others.
A FEASIBLE EXAMPLE
4 years ago while hosting and producing a radio show to support entrepreneurs and women owned businesses, I created this clip about what can be accomplished when women who have very little is supported with a bottom up approach.
What can be accomplished in America if we took this approach to women?
Watch this 5 minute clip about the Solar Mamas and barefoot engineers of Africa to see how feasible my village of women technologists can lead STEM while combating homelessness and poverty.
Thanks for reading!
I turned my multiple abuses into a book that encourages healing and escape from domestic abuse and this blog, in the hopes that could possibly finance my escape but with little else for marketing I am still stuck however your support would be greatly appreciated.
Donations to keep this Blog going is also accepted using any of the donation buttons above or below this page.