31 Facts in 31 Days – Day 29

Before this month is over, I wanted to pinpoint on what to expect when entering a Women’s Shelter, for myself and for other woman who may one day find themselves on that doorstep.

The shelter I had gone to way back when (Third Time is the Charm), was in a big house that had bunk beds in each room for women and children to share. They had given me a quick rundown of what their protocol was, what would be expected of me and how they’d be helping me to get back on my feet. There was a classroom/playroom set up for the children. Upon entering, I had no idea what to expect. I was scared about leaving, scared that I took my daughter, scared he would find me and scared of starting over. It was so overwhelming. Here I was, 21-22 years old, with my 2 year old in tow – in a shelter for battered women. I was so embarrassed. Horrified. So much so, I was not even there for 24 hours.

The information listed below only pertains to this particular shelter.  I assume they’re all similar in nature but I can’t say for sure.  If anyone reading this has spent time at a women’s shelter, please share your experiences below.  Good and bad.  If you’ve already written about it on your blog, feel free to provide a link.  Any information that can be added to this would be great.

What to expect when entering [our] shelter:

Entering into a shelter can be a scary and confusing time in a survivor’s life; it may even be dangerous. Knowing why the shelter is there and what to expect may help reduce the anxiety a victim feels.

While a shelter serves functionally as a temporary, safe place to stay for a victim to work on regaining independence, it also is a place to connect with other survivors of abuse and advocates who can assist in the journey to independence.

There is always an intake meeting for the victim to fill out necessary paperwork and become familiar with the new surroundings. Afterward, the new shelter resident is shown the room which is assigned to her for the duration of the program. There are responsibilities, since shelter is communal living (such as tidying up after oneself and one’s children, observing a nightly curfew, etc.) which will be explained to the victim at this time.

A shelter resident can expect to share these responsibilities with all residents, since everyone lives and works so closely together. The important thing to remember when preparing to enter into shelter is that the shelter is designed for safety and to provide resources and support to enable the victims to become self-sufficient and empowered.

What to take with you when you leave

  • Driver’s License
  • Birth Certificates
  • Social Security Cards
  • Insurance Cards
  • Clinic Cards
  • Money/Credit Cards
  • Bank Card
  • Bank Book
  • Savings Book
  • Checkbook
  • Your Protective Order (carry this with you at all times)
  • Lease Agreement or Deed to House
  • Car Registration
  • Insurance Papers
  • Health/Life Insurance Papers
  • Medical Records
  • School Records
  • Work Permits/Green Card/Visa
  • Passport
  • Divorce Papers
  • House/Car Keys
  • Medications
  • Address Book

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Fact Source: Metropolitan Center for Women & Children

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To read from the beginning… #MyStory starts here.

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