Essay Project 2021: Domestic Violence Resources in Portland
By Grace Clark
I've always wondered if there were any resources for people who were victims of domestic violence in this town. I decided to call some places in Portland to find answers. The second call I made was to the police chief. I asked if we had any resources in this town for domestic violence. After a prolonged pause they said “None, there is none” and that was all they said. They never said that the police station was any help for domestic violence, which I found quite shocking. Does the actual police department not think of themselves as help for domestic violence. They never asked me if I was ok. What if I was a victim? She did tell me, though, that there were other places in the county people could go to for help but never mentioned what they were. So where should a victim of domestic violence turn to for help in this town? I should just end my paper here right? I mean that's how it would be for some people.
Domestic violence is a pattern of behavior that is used to gain power and control over a person, in a relationship. There are a lot of ways domestic violence can happen. Physical and emotional abuse are the most common. Women and children are at a much higher risk of being domestically abused than men. When children are abused it can cause long term physical and emotional harm; anxiety, depression, emotional distress, eating and sleeping disorders are some examples. Many victims of domestic violence need a place to stay if they are fleeing from home. For victims living in Portland a close alternative would be RAVE. RAVE has one emergency shelter and is offering one hotline. They also provide free confidential services to women, children and men who are victims of domestic violence. They are very passionate about what they do. They want to eliminate the crimes of domestic violence and to support and advocate for children and adults. RAVE is a very good example that Portland could follow. They are not a huge facility but they are still doing what they can to help people who have experienced domestic violence. Portland would benefit from a program like RAVE; that could offer counseling and other services where community members could learn and get support. Offering something is better than nothing.
I understand where people are coming from when they say we may not need these resources. However it is not always easy for adults (and children especially) to travel all the way from Portland to Ionia; especially if they are experiencing abuse. Many kids can’t even legally drive and some adults don’t have cars to drive. Therefore, having resources in this town would make it easier for our citizens to access help. These resources could save someone's life. I spoke with my mom about domestic violence. It made me realize that kids you see everyday could be experiencing violence at home and no one knows they are in trouble. If people in this town are victims of domestic violence it could be so much harder for them to get help because we do not have the resources for them. Some of us never know what these women and children go through but I think we should try to understand these issues. It's not fair that there are people struggling to survive every single day and the city of Portland doesn’t seem to have domestic violence issues as a priority.
I interviewed my mom about this article and chose this topic knowing her history. I know that it can be very lonely, isolating, and scary for people affected by domestic violence. It can be helpful for them to know that there is support or help nearby if they need it. For some, groups like these could be the only escape or way for them to feel normal.
This essay is part of a writing project by students in Chandra Polasek’s ELA class at Portland High School. The project asked students to focus on elements of their own town while getting students engaged with the community. The essays were written with the intention of being published in The Portland Beacon.