Oasis A Safe Haven
As you may or may not know, I am the host of Signing in the South, an author-reader book event in Lake Charles, LA. Our next event is June 13, 2020, at the beautiful Isle of Capri Casino Hotel. For this next event, I wanted to give back to one of our local charities. It did not take long to make the decision to donate a portion of our proceeds to Oasis A Safe Haven.
Domestic and Sexual Violence are topics that are near and dear to many people, myself included. There are many skeptical people who will always use reasoning like – she/he asked for it, she/he brought it on themselves, she/he can always leave, and no one is forcing her/him to stay. The truth of the matter is that this is not always the case. Things are not always clear-cut with a definitive way out. One of the saddest things is that sometimes it is years before anyone knows the truth about what happened, or why a person would stay and tolerate such abuse.
Just one example.
Have you ever sat in a bedroom with your siblings and contemplated how you could eliminate a stepparent? Seriously though. As a middle school child, my brothers and I (I’ll call them EJ and WK) would sit in the bedroom and think of ways to get rid of our stepdad. We would take ideas we’d seen on t.v. shows or movies and imagine doing those things to him - Sudden vehicle accidents due to cut brake lines; poison in food; oh, and of course hired hitmen. We even thought we had a connection for that last one. Yes, we were young and dumb. Lol.
For lack of a better word, we will call this beast Brute. He was an abusive man not only to us but to our mother. I do remember talking to social workers at some point in my childhood, but nothing ever changed. Mom had friends who she could talk to and oftentimes we would stay at those friend’s houses for a few days. Then she would go back to Brute. Again, nothing ever changed. There were good times together as a family. Until that sick, shaky feeling hit the bottom of my stomach, a sign that things were turning sour. Then it was raised voices, slamming doors, something hitting the walls, and even more than your imagination can handle.
Life went on. I, EJ, and WK grew up and started our own lives. Mom finally left this beast of a man when I was in my early twenties. Yes, she escaped the physical abuse, but not the emotional and mental. (Another story, another day.) Through all the years, Mom and I remained close to each other. We shared a lot together. Only there were those deep, dark secrets she would not reveal even to me. I never knew why she stayed with Brute for as long as she did. I couldn’t understand why she put up with the abuse, why she allowed him to abuse her children.
There is a better ending.
Later in life, Mom met a wonderful couple. There was an instant bond between Grace (not her real name) and Mom. Grace and her husband were there through the end days. When Mom had her stroke and eventually went into the nursing home, Grace and I would talk and pray on the phone together. I knew that Mom had finally found that best friend she never had as an adult. (You guessed it, another story, another day.) After Mom passed from this Earth, Grace revealed some things to me that Mom had confided in her. She wasn’t betraying her confidence by telling me these things. Quite the opposite. She was helping me heal as well as giving me information to know that Mom had also been healed.
She did it for her children.
You never know the reasons a person stays in an abusive relationship. There are many. It was healing for me to find out that Mom stayed for our protection. Sounds crazy, right? All those years, Brute had threatened that if Mom left him, he would kill her kids. Knowing the depth of his physical power and anger, she believed him. And so do I. As bad as it was for us, she was convinced she would lose us if she ever left Brute. What could be worse for a mother than losing her children?
To this day, I still wish Mom had reached out to some type of organization for help when we were growing up. I’m not even sure if there was one available back then. However, today there are wonderful people who stick their necks out to help women and men in abusive situations. I commend these organizations for their efforts.
If you or someone you know needs assistance, don’t hesitate, contact an organization near you. You can support Oasis by attending Signing in the South 2020. A portion of our proceeds will be donated to this local charity.
The below is copied straight from their website.
It is our mission to create social change through empowerment and support for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, safe shelter for men, women, and children, and community education.
Formerly the Calcasieu Women’s Shelter and Rape Crisis Outreach, Oasis A Safe Haven for Survivors of Domestic and Sexual Violence is a non-profit 501C3 organization. Calcasieu Women’s Shelter was founded in 1979 for the purpose of assisting abused women and their children. The organization became a United Way agency in 1983. In 1994, we added a Rape Crisis Outreach program to the agency to help victims of sexual assault. We changed our name from Calcasieu Women’s Shelter and Rape Crisis Outreach to Oasis A Safe Haven for Survivors of Domestic and Sexual Violence in 2011.
The Domestic Violence program provides services to residents of Calcasieu, Cameron, and Allen parishes.
The Sexual Violence program provides services to residents of Calcasieu, Cameron, Allen, Jeff Davis, and Beauregard parishes.