A Refuge for Me.

In 2012 I moved to my current home in the Inland Empire.  At the time, it was purely a financial decision, but very shortly this modest house became a quiet refuge for me.  The fenced yard was a huge refuge for my dogs, Max and Toby.  Eventually, the lean-to behind a storage shed became a refuge for thirteen chickens!  I got to indulge my love of gardening in a BIG WAY! Although the dogs and the chickens have passed on, I still thank God nearly every day for this unexpected refuge that gives me so much pleasure.  At some times in our lives, we all need the refuge of a place or a person that provides peace and safety.

Eventually, this half acre became a refuge for an unexpected stranger.  When I went out back to move the water, and found a young woman had come through my side gate and was running toward the back fence.  She was carrying a small duffle and a shoulder bag.  As I approached, I saw she was shaking and sweaty, trying to outrun some enormous, immediate danger.  When she saw me she whispered, barely loud enough for me to hear, “I mean you no harm.”  She was obviously terrified.  Her eye was bruised and swollen. 

Domestic violence visits me…

When I asked, “Are you a victim of domestic violence?”  she meekly answered, “Yes.” Could I drive her somewhere where she would be safe, a women’s shelter, perhaps?  No, but she would accept my ride to a friend’s house.  I drove her to a different neighborhood where she asked to be let out of the car.  She didn’t want me to see her ultimate destination, and begged me not to tell anyone that I’d seen her. She desperately needed a refuge!

This experience with a young stranger reminded me that many people are suffering in relationships that are abusive.  Domestic violence, untreated,  escalates. The most dangerous time is when the victim decides to leave and for the six months following. Before this young stranger got out of my car, I warned her, “Do not EVER go back!  It will only get worse, no matter what he promises.  Find safety and don’t EVER go back!”

It wasn’t an accident that this young girl ran into the yard of a woman who is a relationship coach with education about domestic violence.  I pray that she found safety on her journey. Hopefully, she found other locations and persons who gave her refuge. I pray she knows to the core of her being that she did nothing to deserve this cruelty and that she is worthy of love that is nurturing, not terrorizing.

There are several categories of domestic violence:

Domestic Violence Abuse can be verbal, emotional, sexual, financial, psychological and/or physical.  It is the #1 cause of physical injury of women between 15 and 45 years old.  1500+ women die yearly from DV.  Teens are at a higher risk of experiencing DV.  The most dangerous time is when the victim decides to leave and for the first few months after leaving.  Untreated, DV escalates.

Where to go if you need help:

www.TheHotline.org warns: “Computer use can be monitored and is impossible to completely clear.  Perhaps you are afraid your internet usage might be monitored, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline (from a phone other than your own) at 800-799-SAFE (7233) or TTY 800-787-3224.”   If you know, or suspect that someone you know, is a victim of abuse, please pass along this newsletter (not via e-mail) or contact information.

If you’d like a safe person to talk with, contact me at https://nancylandrum.com/contact/ or leave a message at 951-239-1134 with instructions about how and when I can safely contact you.

We all need a refuge at times. I have never suffered from domestic violence. Nevertheless, I am so grateful for family members, a few awesome friends, places and even pets that have provided refuge to me when I needed safety and love.