She was walking home after dinner with a friend. Just three blocks. She heard someone walking behind her. By the time she turned her head, she was grabbed and groped. It was a man. She screamed and threw her elbow into his side at the same time. She ran. His pursuit was slowed. She burst into her home and dialed 911. She was safe. Thank God for safe homes!
But what if even your own home was not safe? She came into my office with a black eye and her wrist in a cast. She had other bruises unseen by me. Some were on her body. Some were deep-inside emotional bruises, that can take much longer to heal, and can carry the ongoing pain of near-constant fear. She was not attacked on the street by a stranger, but in her home by her husband. This time she fled her home during the assault, ran to a neighbor who called the police. He was arrested, but he would not be held for long. She knew it was not safe to stay at home. I made a phone call and transported her to a transition house in Penticton. She was safe there until other arrangements were made.
SOVAS, the South Okanagan Women in Need Society, operates the Transition House. But sometimes it’s full. What then? SOVAS also arranges for “Safe Homes”, private residences in South Okanagan communities,that open their doors to provide short-term safety for emergency situations. Thank God for Safe Homes.
SOVAS is currently seeking a few such homes in the Keremeos area. Safe Homes provide meals, bedding, towels and laundry facilities to women or women and their children in need of a temporary safe place – usually for one to five days. SOVAS provides rubber gloves, water-proof mattress covers, basic toiletries, food supplements, and a lock-box for medications. They also provide a monetary PerDiem to the homeowner hosts while the client is in the Safe Home. And of course a Safe Home’s location is kept secret.
It takes a genuinely kind-hearted person or family to offer their residence as a Safe Home. If you are interested in becoming a Safe Home operator in the Keremeos area or would like more information, please contact Lynn Kelsey, Safe Home Coordinator @ 250-493-4366 Ext. 114. Or if you’d like, you can contact me at the RCMP. Thank you for your willingness to provide a safe place for a neighbor in need.