With domestic violence maintaining its presence in Bartow County, the Christian League for Battered Women continues to be a vital safe haven for women and children.
"I think that more and more domestic violence touches the lives of more people, whether it be in our neighborhood [or] through a relative," said Connie Brown, a corporal at the Bartow County Sheriff's Office and a board member for the Christian League for Battered Women. "Here at the sheriff's office, we have a domestic violence unit and I do work with them also and with the victims of domestic violence. So from my standpoint I think that the public is more aware than in the past but I think that we have to still keep on working to help the victims to try to prevent as much domestic violence as possible."
Formed in 1985, the domestic violence center and its shelter, Tranquility House, meets the needs of women and their children by providing a safe environment for them to temporarily stay and work toward future goals like securing housing, education or a job, if needed. Typically, the individuals reside at the Bartow County shelter for 30 to 60 days, during which a support group, legal advocacy and community resources are at their disposal.
To help maintain its current level of services, the nonprofit is organizing a golf tournament Tuesday, June 22, at the Fields Ferry Golf Club in Calhoun. Lunch will be served at noon, followed by a 1 p.m. tee time. Entry fees for the four-man Lauderdale tournament are $340 per team and $85 per individual.
Proceeds from the benefit will help operate the organization's 17-bed shelter, which could include providing assistance with utility, grocery and transportation expenses.
"It usually is used for general operations of the shelter," said Sandra Bruce, executive director for Christian League for Battered Women. "Of course everybody knows the state of the economy right now so funding is down and this will definitely help us as far as having money to run this shelter.
"We've been a domestic violence shelter in Bartow County since 1985, so you can imagine how many people we may have helped since that time. ... A lot of them come to us with basically what they have when they leave, which may be the clothes on their back and their children's clothes that they've got with them. They're just at the point where they're fleeing a domestic violence situation. They're in danger at that point and they're just going to grab up their children and leave with what they can."
Noting the non-discriminatory nature of domestic violence, Bruce has seen a cross-section of women taking refuge at Tranquility House.
"It knows no socioeconomic boundaries. It affects rich, poor, young, old, all races, all backgrounds," Bruce said. "I guess the youngest one we've ever had here was a woman who came from the hospital with a small baby and then we've had them on up into at least [their 70s]."
For more information about the Christian League for Battered Women or its upcoming golf tournament, call 770-386-8093. The nonprofit also has a seven day a week, 24-hour crisis line, which is 770-386-8779.