Sometimes, around this time of year, I think of Jane and her children. Jane isn’t her real name, but her story’s real and she’s allowed me to share it.
It seemed to Jane like everyone around her would get excited about the holidays and look forward to the presents, family feasts, and togetherness. But Jane’s household was one of the 10 million in the US alone impacted by domestic violence. Instead of waking up excited to see what was under the Christmas tree, Jane’s children knew to be quiet so no one got hurt. It was no way for Jane or her children to live.
By the time I met her, she had already tried to escape her abusive relationship three other times. But each of those times she either got caught while planning or found after she left. She didn’t know where else to turn. When she came to Operation Safe Escape for help, she was terrified that if she were caught again, it would be disastrous. And she might have been right.
I’m happy to say she escaped with her children and even their pets. She was finally free to start a new life, finally feeling safe. But the story doesn’t end there. Christmas the next year, Jane sent us a message. It was untraceable and private, just like we taught her, and it was saying how it felt to finally have a Christmas that she could enjoy with her children. For the first time, she could wake up with her children and make all the noise they wanted. They could celebrate and play, and no one was afraid. I’m not going to lie, I cried when I read that message.
Jane and her children are just one of the over 3,000 people or families that we’ve been able to work with. It’s what we do- we work with survivors or domestic violence, stalking, harassment, and other forms of abuse to help them escape and stay safe after they do. Our team of safety and security experts work to help give the advantage back to the survivors, helping them make their escape plan, think of the countless things they need to do to avoid getting caught before they can leave, make it out safely, and navigate all the various things they need to do to in order to stay safe and move forward. We also work with domestic violence shelters, safe houses, social workers, and other allies to help them protect themselves and their clients. In all, we provide the equivalent of over $25,000 in assistance and services to each client, all without charging a dime.
But we need help to keep doing it. The computer forensics, advanced security tools, burner phones, secure communications devices, ride credits, and so much more are only available to us because of generous donations and gifts from people like you. Last year, we supplied over 2 million dollars in security services free to survivors and support organizations, and we anticipate an even greater need through the end of this year and into the next. We’re working hard to save lives and help real people escape abuse, even when they have nowhere else to turn.
For this Giving Tuesday, please consider donating to Operation Safe Escape. Every dollar goes directly towards client support and program costs, so you can make a difference today.
You can DONATE HERE