Although known by many different names, intimate partner violence has been an unfortunate part of domestic life throughout civilization. As far back as 1800 B.C., the Code of Hammurabi introduced the concept of a man “taking” a wife, thereby making her his property. A man could inflict punishment on any member of his household or property for any transgression. “If she had been a bad wife, the Code allowed him to send her away, while he kept the children and her dowry; or he could degrade her to the position of a slave in his own house, where she would have food and clothing. She might bring an action against him for cruelty and neglect and, if she proved her case, obtain a judicial separation, taking with her her dowry. No other punishment fell on the man. If she did not prove her case, but proved to be a bad wife, she was drowned.” (Rev. Claude Hermann Walter Johns, 2008).
In ancient Rome, the "paterfamilias," or "father of the family," had absolute rule over his household and children. If they angered him, he had the legal right to disown his children, sell them into slavery or even kill them. The Roman Emperor Constantine had his wife killed in an over-heated bath.
Throughout the Middle Ages, domestic abuse continued to not only be the norm, but even sanctioned. Squires and noblemen beat their wives as regularly as they beat their serfs; the peasants faithfully followed their lords' example. The Church sanctioned the subjection of women. Priests advised abused wives to win their husbands' good will through increased devotion and obedience. In a medieval theological manual, a man is given permission to "castigate his wife and beat her for correction..." (SafeNETWORK, 1999)
In Renaissance France when it became clear that too many women and children were being beaten to death and their economic contributions lost, lawmakers acted to moderate the effects of domestic chastisement. One statute, considered in its time to be progressive, restricted the chastisement of wives and children to "blows, thumps, kicks or punches on the back...which did not leave any marks," but added, "the man who is not master of his wife is not worthy of being a man." Another law even later, designed to protect women and children stated that, "All the inhabitants have the right to beat their wives so long as death does not follow." (Women Safe, 2011)
In the late 1500’s, during the reign of Ivan the Terrible in Russia, the State Church sanctions the oppression of women by issuing a Household Ordinance that describes when and how a man might most effectively beat his wife. He is allowed to kill a wife or serf for disciplinary purposes. In the 1600’s, many Russian women fight back. When they kill their husbands for all the injustices they have been forced to endure, their punishment is to be buried alive with only their heads above the ground, and left to die. Meanwhile, in England, "the Golden Age of the Rod" is used against women and children. Violence against wives is encouraged throughout this time. (SafeNETWORK, 1999)
Things were no better in the United States. Up through 1871, the “right of chastisement” was the law of the land. Under this law, a husband not only had the ability to physically reprimand his spouse but he also acquired the rights to his wife's person, the value of both her paid and unpaid labor, and as well as any property that accompanied their nuptials.
In 1871, a landmark ruling in Fulgham v. the State of Alabama began a change in how women would be treated. The court claimed that the rule of love superseded the rule of force by denying the privilege of brutality against women. (THE RIGHT OF CHASTISEMENT: Fulgham vs. the State of Alabama, 2008-2016)
Throughout the first half of the twentieth century, U. S. laws were changing to prohibit a physical assault by a man against his wife and to recognize marital rape as a crime. However, a stigma remained; wives were hesitant to report and domestic abuse was often not regarded with the same severity as other assaults.
As the Feminist Movement began to grow in the 1960’s, more support was seen for abused women. In 1967, the first domestic violence shelter in the United States was opened in Maine. Five years later, the nation’s first emergency rape crisis line was opened in Washington, D.C.
Finally, in 1978, The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence was organized to serve as the voice for the battered women’s movement on the national level. Throughout the 1980’s and 1990’s, federal legislation was passed providing protection, resources and recourse for victims of domestic violence.
Two members of the Statesboro Therapy Dogs and their humans visited our Children's Program. One of the little girls in our shelter was afraid of dogs, including the support animal living in the shelter with another client. We needed to help her overcome this fear. Gatlin and his trainer, Cheri Duffey, worked patiently with the girl over a two-week period. By the time Gatlin left after his second visit, she was petting his soft fur!
Domestic violence thrives when we are silent; but if we take a stand and work together, we can end domestic violence. Throughout the month of October, help us to raise awareness about domestic violence and join in our efforts to end violence. Here is what you can do:
Donate or Volunteer
Join the National Week of Action
In observation of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Safe Haven and the Bulloch County Task Force hosted their annual Candlelight Vigil to support and honor the survivors of domestic violence.
The prayer was given by Francys Johnson of the Johnson Firm PC and Ashley Moore sang moving renditions of “You Raise Me Up” and “Amazing Grace”.
During the Vigil, a former Safe Haven client told her story of survival and everyone in attendance shared a moment of silence to honor those who have lost their lives due to domestic violence-related crimes in Georgia.
Thank you to everyone who took the time to participate in this event!
On January 3, 2014, Madame Couture’s Consignment Boutique hosted a fashion show that benefited Safe Haven. As an entrance fee to see the show, members of the audience were asked to donate a paper product which were then given to the shelter. The show was held at the Averitt Center For The Arts and the night was full of energy and beautiful clothes from the local boutiques! We would like to give a big thanks to Madame Couture’s Consignment Boutique, DeJa’Vu Upscale Resale Consignment Boutique, Children’s Cottage Consignment, RJ Pope Traditional Menswear, The Feathered Nest, and Silk and Purple for participating in the event. Paper products are always a huge need at Safe Haven and we appreciate your thoughtfulness!
Left: Marie Proctor, Owner of Madame Couture’s Consignment Boutique presents paper products to Safe Haven Staff.
On November 7th, 2013, Kim Williams coordinated with organizations from the community hosted a Public Safety Fall Festival for our clients. Participants included the Bulloch County Sheriff Department, the Statesboro Police Department, the Statesboro Fire Department, Bulloch County EMS, and James “Bubba” Revell provided the food for the event. The families enjoyed a giant blow up slide and bouncy house, as well as a cookout style dinner for the evening. Thank you to all of the participants for hosting such a fun night! The event was a great way to form a sense of community as well as keeping our families informed on the latest safety practices.
The Ogeechee Technical College Chapter of Leadership and Success (NSLS) held a fundraiser in recognition of Domestic Violence Awareness Month. A Portion of their proceeds were donated to Safe Haven. We appreciate the members of NSLS for thinking of Safe Haven and for helping raise awareness about Domestic Violence.
In October 2013, Safe Haven opened it’s doors to a new program called the Rapid Re-Housing Program. It is designed to help those who are homeless transition into permanent housing. The primary goal is to stabilize a program participant in permanent housing as quickly as possible and to provide supportive services after the family or individual obtains housing.
This program is based on the “Housing First” approach to ending homelessness in America. It serves as an alternative to the system of emergency shelter and transitional housing progressions that we currently follow. Rather than moving homeless individuals through different “levels” of housing, known as the Continuum of Care, Housing First moves the homeless individual or household immediately from the streets or homeless shelters into their own apartments. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development reported that 83 percent of formerly homeless or about-to-be homeless people who were put into rapid rehousing were still stably housed two years after their subsidies ended. Other agencies report similarly high rates.
Safe Haven is very excited to be implementing this new program and we look forward to many success stories in the future.
FACT: According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, domestic violence is the third leading cause of homelessness among families.
The Bulloch County Sheriff’s Office, headed by Sheriff Lynn Anderson, is a wholehearted supporter of the mission of Safe Haven and strives for ways to serve the women and children assisted by the organization. In October 2013, deputies working the Kiwanus Ogeechee Fair were approached by Faye Bush and Mike Inman, site managers with Amusements of America which provide the rides and attractions for the Fair. Bush and Inman indicated that they wished to provide donated items to the families supported by Safe Haven. Spearheaded by these two Good Samaritans, employees with Amusements of America provided boxes of diapers, clothing, toys, and cash donations which were turned over to Safe Haven staff. Sheriff Anderson would like to thank Faye, Mike, and all the employees of Amusements of America who gave of their time, effort, and money in collecting the donations.
Safe Haven would also like to thank Amusements of America for collecting these donations as well as the Bulloch County Sheriff’s office for helping organize the donation drop off. Without the support of the community, we would not be able to do what we do here at Safe Haven!