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More resources needed to support domestic violence survivors

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Posted at 7:56 PM, Jan 16, 2023

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Advocates in Lexington are calling for more resources and support for domestic violence survivors after unprecedented cases and violence in recent years.

It took Tina Durbin years of constantly hiding and looking over her shoulder to be able to go into a coffee shop and enjoy a hot drink again.

"I call it a hug in a mug," said Durbin as she sipped her coffee.

January marks five years since she got away from her abuser and discovered she was a victim of domestic violence.

"Until you become aware of what's really happening, you're kinda stuck," explained Durbin.

Domestic and family violence are defined as behaviors used by one person in a relationship to control another and can include a range of abuse from economic to physical, sexual, emotional, and psychological.

Durbin created a podcast named "Love Over Coffee" to help her heal.

"Our healing comes when we decide who to share the story with and who not to share the story with," she explained.

While the conversations on her podcast are about a variety of topics, Durbin says she often talks to survivors. She even created a jewelry company, 11:11 Messages From Strangers, to help others heal. The survivor designs the jewelry, and the angel pays for it.

"I've never wanted to forget though, where I've been. Because where I've been is exactly where someone else has been and I want to help them get to the place where they have grown and healed and changed," said Durbin.

Her jewelry, a keychain with the numbers 11:11 on it, gives her strength and power.

"This is a tangible reminder of the journey I have traveled thus far — good, bad and ugly," she explained.

In Lexington in 2022, more than a quarter of the homicides in the city were related to domestic violence.

How to Help Survivors

Green Dot teaches the "SUPPORT" method:

Start by believing

Understand the basics

Prioritize safety and self-determination

Provide support

Organize others Require accountability

Take responsibility

Advocates say that before healing can happen, survivors must first find safety and shelter. Barriers like lack of resources and knowledge often make it harder.

"The resources for domestic violence are so limited. For instance, with housing, sometimes the domestic violence shelters are full," explained advocate Therese Wright.

But, there are other options. People just need to be connected with what's out there. That's why Wright says she always answers every call that comes into Sisters Road to Freedom no what time it comes in.

"In some situations, people just up and out. You got to leave everything behind for the sake of your safety," she said. "We don't have any red tape in terms of 'oh, you need to bring this, oh, you need to have that.' No. If there's a need and we have it, you get it," said Wright.

Wright said her organization's food pantry and clothing closet have witnessed the higher-than-normal need since the pandemic. She says they built strong relationships with the people they serve. They believe it's why so many have felt comfortable sharing their story.

"People don't come here just to get food. We speak to them, we talk to them, we love them," said Wright.

She says offering or donating resources to support survivors is the best way the community can help.

Resources, support, and education about domestic violence are what Durbin says helped return her love for coffee shops, and her advocacy for others.

"Sometimes you don't know what you've been through until you hear yourself saying it," she said.

Resources

Domestic Violence Safety Plan

Sisters Road to Freedom

Amanda's Center

GreenHouse17