The Days After

Billi Lacombe
Executive Director
Faith House

The Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that by the most conservative estimates each year 1 million women suffer nonfatal violence by an intimate partner. Despite of this knowledge, many people believe that domestic violence is a private family matter and that it does not have any bearing on their day-to-day lives. Contrary to that belief, we know that domestic violence is a serious crime that occurs every day in our community. The Faith House shelter is filled with women and children who are fleeing from abusive partners. These women are mothers, sisters, aunts, grandmothers, coworkers, friends and so much more to many of you in our area.

We are calling this community to take action against this terrible crime - calling for action against women being forced to flee their homes and leave everything that they own to escape further threat of abuse or harm. We are demanding that the crime of domestic violence be treated as such and the perpetrators of this crime be held accountable for their choices. We are pleading with the families of victims to believe their stories, which take a tremendous amount of courage to tell.

So, why is it that many people only become aware of the occurrence of domestic violence when a homicide occurs? Do we truly believe that the scars left by such abuse will not cause some effect in our own daily lives?

So, what can you do to help?

If you are a victim of emotional, mental, verbal, financial, physical or sexual abuse, you can:

  • Seek the support of caring persons who understand this very real problem.
  • Ask for information of legal rights, medical protections and advocacy.
  • Learn all you can about domestic violence.
  • Contact Faith House to work out a plan to protect yourself and your children.

If you are a friend or family member, you can:

  • Listen and believe that abuse hurts, whether physical, sexual or emotional.
  • Understand that victims sometimes mistakenly blame themselves.
  • Support the people, not the violence.
  • Encourage the victim to ask for help.

Faith House has been a part of this community for more than 24 years. In addition to safe shelter, we provide individual options: counseling, support groups, goal planning, safety planning, legal advocacy, children's groups, children's counseling and basic needs for survivors of domestic violence. All of the services provided to survivors of domestic violence are free and confidential.

These services are available for survivors residing in our shelter, as well as those who reside outside of our shelter. Educational programs are also available in the school system, as well as to the community as a whole. We provide services in five parishes in Acadiana: Acadia, Evangeline, Lafayette, St. Landry and Vermilion.

For more information, please call our 24-hour hotline, (888) 411-1333.