Ignoring sexism and racism leads to domestic violence and trafficking

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  • Kellyann Kostyal-Larrier, Safe Homes Director (Photo provided)

Safe Homes calendar of events

For more information about any of these events, visit Safe Homes at safehomesorangecounty.org.
Sunday, May 14 — Wild Soul Yoga Mother’s Day Flow and Restore, $30 donation.
Tuesday, May 17 — Hudson Valley Gives, 24 hour online giving campaign.
Saturday, June 3 — Orange County Classic 10K Dinner with book signing by Frank Shorter, Olympian, who will speak about how running helped him to cope with his relationship with his abusive father.
Saturday, June 10 — Monroe-Woodbury Rotary Bowl-a-Thon. Each bowler is asked to raise $100 in sponsorship. Minimum 5 bowlers per team.
Monday, July 4 — The Captain’s Table Declaration Day 5K, 10 a.m. race and then festivities.
Saturday, July 22 — Pamper Me Fundraiser. Local vendors offer goods and services, along with lunch, music, raffles. $20.
Sunday, July 30 — Break the Silence Music Festival to support survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking. Fundraiser honors Loretta Breedvald’s 20th anniversary of the Warwick Valley B&B. There will be 204 musical groups, music themed live auction, food, and beverages.
Thursday, Aug. 24 — Ladies Night Out, street festival sponsored by The Warwick Valley Merchant’s Guild.
October — Allstate Purple Purse Challenge.
Thursday, Oct. 5 — Just for Her event sponsored by Fox, vendors and services geared toward women. Suggested $5 donation.
Friday, Oct. 20 — 2017 Celebration of Hope Masquerade Ball

To the Editor:

The first quarter of 2017 has been exceptionally busy. We are eager to share some of the events that have taken place and some exciting new endeavors happening over the next several months.

We have partnered with the City of Newburgh Police Department, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office, and Orange County Probation to launch our Risk Reduction Response Program (RRRP). March was the first full month in operation and we have already seen remarkable results from this partnership. The program’s primary goal is to reduce intimate partner homicides in Orange County by improving the community’s response to cases deemed high risk. We are all working together to increase victim safety, ensure services for victims are easily accessible, and improve monitoring and enforcement to better hold offenders accountable for their behavior. Our RRRP Team began training with the City of Port Jervis Police Department and the anticipated launch date for that area is May 1, 2017.

Safe Homes is embarking on another exciting new partnership and program as part of the "STOP Violence Against Women" grant funding authorized by the Violence Against Women Act of 1994, which enhances the capacity of local communities to develop and strengthen strategies to combat violent crimes against women. The Orange County Commission Against Intimate Partner Violence is a coordinated community response compromised of local and regional agency leaders that will meet to evaluate and discuss possible systemic gaps in service provision, access, and ways to increase collaboration among partners. The overarching goal is to enhance the safety of victims and children. We will keep you updated as this team forms and builds relationships. Exciting things are yet to come!

As I noted in our Annual Report, for many of us serving in the non-profit arena, the political and social events that happened at the end of 2016 were challenging. Collectively, as a country, we are deeply divided and, regardless of party lines, there is grave concern and confusion about an uncertain future. Much of the work we do at Safe Homes is grounded in empowerment, education, prevention, and support. An important part of the healing process for victims of intimate partner violence and human trafficking is helping them to recognize and acknowledge the oppressive behaviors and tactics of control the abuser used to exploit and harm them and most importantly that they are not at fault. Ignoring the existence of sexism, racism, homophobia, xenophobia and other forms of societal oppression is equivalent to supporting the abusive power and control that leads to domestic violence and trafficking. This is counter to the Safe Home’s mission and we, as an agency, will continue to fight these forms of oppression. For the survival of both our clients and our democracy as a whole, silence is not an option.

One of the best lessons I have learned over the years from those who have had to fight for their freedoms, their rights, and to have their voices heard, is that this is not a sprint, but a marathon. To be free from oppression, we must have the fortitude to persist in our pursuit of freedom for all.

If you haven’t already, please take a moment to read our Annual Report and our At-a-Glance Community Impact Report for a more in-depth and comprehensive view of all we do at Safe Homes to help our most vulnerable populations. Whatever may lie ahead this year, we will adapt and adjust to ensure that our services are always available to those that need us most, that our mission is never compromised, and the community is always supported.


Kellyann Kostyal-Larrier

Safe Homes Director



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