HOUSTON - Since the pandemic, the Houston Area Women’s Center says they are seeing the largest spike in domestic violence cases.
Emille Whitehurst is the CEO of the Houston Area Women’s Center and says her advocates are taking in more calls than ever before. The center has seen a 357% increase in emergency placement for those fleeing abuse.
“What we are seeing is alarming,” said Whitehurst. “We will be there for them and this community will be there for them. It is important to me that I can say, and the advocates picking up the phone calls can say, we can help you navigate a safe departure. We are going to be there every step of the way.”
Jamie Wright is a domestic violence survivor who says she fled her abuse in April, during the pandemic, and sought refuge at HAWC.
“I do know now that I am at the source of choice, and I chose to see what happened to me on April 23 that led me to the Houston Area Women’s Center as an opportunity to raise awareness for people who might find themselves in a situation that I did. I didn’t know I was in a domestic violence situation and when and if they make the decision to leave they can leave. There are beautiful people on the other side,” said Wright.
“We have deconcentrated our residential campus in order to maintain social distancing and are now housing women and children at three different locations. Two hotel sites and our residential campus,” said Whitehurst.
“The one thing that I want anyone that is listening to know is that they are not alone,” said Wright. “Using all the resources I could at the shelter, saving my money, and getting my mental health where it needed to be and where it should have been and where I deserved it to be, I absolutely love my life now. It’s a beautiful life. I’m not saying it because I read it in a book, I’m saying it because I know it to be true.”