Underused 'Safe Place'
Is Still A Deterrent
DAVID ZEMAN STAFF WRITER
or most of its nearly 2 1/2-
year existence, Safe Place,
the kosher shelter for do-
mestic-abuse victims, has
Which means one of two
things: The Jewish community
has a monopoly on domestic
bliss. Or, many Jewish abuse vic-
tims remain uninformed or, for
myriad reasons, unwilling to
leave their abusive partner.
vention program — to obtain in-
formation they may use later to
leave their abuser. These women
are helped by the program even
though they never step foot in the
Safe Place apartment, which is
at an undisclosed location.
The shelter "also speaks to the
commitment of women in the
Jewish community to be doing
something about this problem,"
Ms. Hyman said.
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Sandy Hyman explains the dynamics of domestic violence.
The shelter, though, is not for
Sandy Hyman, director of a
family-violence program at Jew- everyone. Women who are seek-
ish Family Service, said the sec- ing help must also agree to seek
ond explanation is likely the counseling as a condition of stay-
more accurate one. Despite an ing there.
And because the shelter is in
increase in programs dealing
with domestic violence, many an unguarded apartment, it may
segments of the community are not be the best place for all abuse
reluctant to acknowledge the victims. Ms. Hyman said her
agency referred one woman to
Safe Place "has been greatly the Pontiac-based Haven shel-
underutilized," Ms. Hyman said ter, which is staffed around-the-
Monday at a domestic-violence clock, because the _woman's
workshop at Adat Shalom Syn- husband lived nearby, was
agogue. Since opening in Sep- armed and had been actively
tember 1993, fewer than 15 stalking her.
Ms. Hyman said JFS is im-
families have used the shelter,
which means it has remained plementing a number of new ini-
empty about two-thirds of the tiatives to reach more women.
Recently, the agency began a
"I feel sure that women would program for younger people that
avail themselves of it if they deals with dating violence.
And, in an effort to provide al-
knew about it," she said.
Still, Ms. Hyman, along with ternatives to women in abusive
other women who attended the relationships, JFS is providing
workshop, rate Safe Place a synagogues in the community
grand success. In Ms. Hyman's with posters promoting Safe
view, many women who are in Place. ❑
abusive relationships have
tT If you or someone you
gained a measure of comfort just
is in an abusive relation-
knowing a shelter for Jewish
ship, call JFS at (810) 559-1500
women is available.
"It's always there; it's always during weekday business hours.
The agency can make arrange-
an option for them," she said.
And in many instances, ments for you to stay at Safe
women call JFS — which co- Place and has information on
sponsors Safe Place as part of its legal and housing alternatives
Windows family-violence pre- for you and your children.