More resources needed to support domestic violence survivors

LEXINGTON, Kentucky (LEX 18) – Advocates in Lexington are calling for more resources and support for domestic violence survivors after unprecedented cases and violence in recent years.

It took Tina Durbin years to constantly hide and look over her shoulder to be able to go back to a coffee shop and enjoy a hot drink.

“I call it a hug in a cup,” Durbin said while sipping her coffee.

In January, it will be five years since she walked away from her abuser and discovered she was a victim of domestic violence.

“Until you realize what’s really happening, you’re kind of stuck,” Durbin explained.

Domestic and family violence are defined as behaviors used by one person in a relationship to control another and can include a range of abuses from economic to physical, sexual, emotional and psychological abuse.

Durbin created a podcast called Love Over Coffee to help her heal.

“Our healing comes as we decide who we share the story with and who we don’t,” she explained.

While the conversations on her podcast center around a variety of topics, Durbin says she often speaks to survivors. She even started a jewelry company, 11:11 Messages From Strangers, to help others heal. The survivor designs the jewelry and the angel pays for it.

“However, I never wanted to forget where I’ve been. Because where I was was right where someone else was and I want to help them get to the place where they grew and healed and changed,” she told Durbin.

Her jewelry, a keychain with the numbers 11:11 on it, gives her power and strength.

“This is a tangible reminder of the journey I’ve taken so far – good, bad and ugly,” she explained.

In Lexington, more than a quarter of the city’s homicides in 2022 were related to domestic violence.

How to help survivors

The Green Dot teaches the “SUPPORT” method:

Begin with faith

Understand the basics

Prioritize safety and self-determination

offer help

Others organize to demand accountability

To take responsibility

Advocates say survivors must first find safety and shelter before healing can occur. Barriers such as lack of resources and knowledge often make it more difficult.

“Domestic violence resources are so limited. For example, domestic violence shelters are sometimes full,” said attorney Therese Wright.

But there are other options. People just need to be connected to what’s out there. That’s why Wright says she always answers any call that comes in at Sisters Road to Freedom, no matter what time it is.

“In some situations, people just run away. You have to leave everything behind for your safety,” she said. “We don’t have any bureaucracy about ‘oh you gotta bring this, oh you gotta have this.’ no If there’s a need and we have it, you get it,” Wright said.

Wright said her organization’s pantry and closet has experienced above-average needs since the pandemic. She says they have built strong relationships with the people they serve. They believe that’s why so many have felt comfortable sharing their story.

“People don’t come here to get something to eat. We talk to them, we talk to them, we love them,” Wright said.

She says offering or donating resources to support survivors is the best way the community can help.

Resources, support and education about domestic violence helped return her love for cafes and advocacy for others, according to Durbin.

“Sometimes you don’t know what you’ve been through until you hear yourself say it,” she said.


Domestic Violence Safety Plan

Path of the sisters to freedom

Amanda’s center


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