Providing a lifeline to victims of domestic violence since 1985, Christian League for Battered Women will mark its 30th anniversary Oct. 24. Open to the public, the celebration will be held at Hilton Garden Inn — 24 Liberty Drive in Cartersville — from 6 to 10 p.m.
“We’re very excited, first of all, because for any nonprofit organization to be celebrating anniversaries is a milestone,” said Zanett Ellington, community relations and outreach coordinator for Christian League for Battered Women, which operates the Tranquility House Domestic Violence Center. “And being that [the] domestic violence movement has evolved into where it’s more public now, it warrants a celebration. ... The movement of domestic violence is not anything to be celebratory about, but our organization keeping its doors open for 30 years is.
“[During the event] we’re going to share our history. We’re going to share statistics. We’re going to have, as of right now, two survivors speak. ... We’re just thankful for the community. We hope that people will come out and celebrate with us. [For] individuals who don’t know a lot about our organization, this is a great opportunity for them to see and learn a lot more about our organization. We’re looking forward to a wonderful evening. We’re looking forward to an informative evening and a celebratory evening.”
Now in its third location, the Tranquility House shelter provides a safe environment for women and children to temporarily stay and work toward future goals like securing housing, education or a job, if needed.
Typically, the individuals reside at the shelter for 30 to 60 days, during which a support group, legal advocacy and community resources are at their disposal. While men who are victims of domestic violence are unable to reside at Tranquility House, they are provided with services and other shelter options. Through all its services, the nonprofit annually assists an average of 2,500 individuals.
“The movement started in 1984 with Sandy Templeton, Robbie Taylor and some churches and some really good volunteers,” said Sandra Bruce, executive director of Christian League for Battered Women. “At that point, all of it was volunteer. ... The shelter opened in 1985 [on Douglas Street]. ... As it evolved, it did eventually then become a state-certified shelter [in] 1990. From there, we have gone from that little shelter to a second shelter to this shelter. We moved into this building, which is in a confidential location, in December of ’06. We’re a 17-bed facility, not including cots, baby beds, pack-and-plays. So we can be over capacity at times or not at capacity. It just varies.
“Unfortunately, the numbers have increased,” she said, referring to individuals impacted by domestic violence. “That’s due a lot to drugs, the economy — people fight over money — [and] gang-related [incidents]. The statistics show now that 1 in 4 women will be abused in her lifetime at some time.”
Tickets for Christian League for Battered Women’s upcoming 30th anniversary celebration will cost $80 per person. Proceeds from the event will go toward the nonprofit’s overall operations. Along with being a United Way of Bartow County agency, Christian League for Battered Women also receives state and federal funding and support from churches, organizations and individuals.
“Everyone who comes through here to me is special,” Bruce said. “They all have their own dynamics, their own set of problems, their own story. Of course, we get attached to every child who comes through here. Some of them are still in contact with us, and some we wish we knew what happened to them.
“... Domestic violence is a very misunderstood subject. It’s not a warm and fuzzy [topic] people want to talk about. People don’t like to admit that they know anybody that’s experiencing or even that they have experienced domestic violence. I always like to say that where we are is a secret, but what we do is not. We’re out in the public all the time, doing speaking engagements and awareness events to try to bring more awareness that domestic violence is still a big problem in our county. ... It does happen to men, women, children, old, young ... rich [and] poor. It knows no socioeconomic levels.”
For more information about the Christian League for Battered Women or to obtain tickets to the 30th anniversary celebration, call 770-386-8093 or visit http://www.tranquility-house.org.
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