A View from the Immokalee Shelter

Posted 5/31/21

Imagine you are walking down the street and someone confronts you, strikes you in the face, and threatens to kill you

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A View from the Immokalee Shelter


Imagine you are walking down the street and someone confronts you, strikes you in the face, and threatens to kill you. Have you just been the victim of a crime? Of course you have. Should you report it? Of course you should. Now imagine that it happened inside your home and instead of a stranger, the perpetrator is someone you entrusted to share your life. Is it a crime? Of course it is. Should it be reported? Of course it should, but too many people in our community are not reporting the violence in their homes or the homes of their neighbors.

Domestic violence is a pattern of behavior based on power and control over another person. The abuse can be physical, emotional, sexual, and/or financial. The batterer may deny, blame others, use intimidation and threats to control their victim(s).

Some of the reasons why victims of domestic violence and human trafficking suffer in silence may include:
• They do not know where to turn
• They are afraid of law enforcement
• They are undocumented
• They have come to believe the abuse is their fault and they deserve it.

If you are experiencing domestic violence or human trafficking, please know it is not a “life sentence.” Everyone has a basic right to a life free from violence and abuse. The Shelter is here to help, but it is important that you plan carefully to protect yourself and your children.

Change can begin with a call or text to The Shelter’s Crisis Line – 239-775-1101. If possible, call when your abuser is not at home and use a friend’s phone or call from a public facility. Using your own phone or computer could put you in additional danger if your abuser checks your electronic devices.

The crisis hotline advocate will help you assess your danger level so you can determine your next move. You may choose to enter our brand new Immokalee emergency shelter. Transportation can be arranged if you need assistance.

If you are not ready to leave your abuser, our Immokalee outreach services provide support and counseling for you and your family. In addition to outreach services, there are many things you can do right now to protect yourself and your family.

Keep a journal in words or pictures to document your abuse. Determine with whom you can talk openly about your situation and ask for their support. Establish a safe place unknown to your partner, where you can go in an emergency. Determine a code or signal that you can use with your neighbors and/or your children to alert them of violence taking place in the home.

If you choose to leave your partner, do not talk about leaving. Create an escape plan and leave when your partner is away. Your plan should include packing an escape bag for yourself, each child and your pets. Store your bag(s) at a friend’s home or in a secret place until the timing is right for leaving.

Escape bags should include:

• Clothing, medications, diapers, formula, toys, blankets, etc.
• Important documents such as passports, driver’s license, legal documents, work permits, birth certificates, school and medical records, leases or titles of property, divorce, custody or injunction papers, as well as proof of your partner’s income, social security number and work permit.
• Checkbook, ATM card
• Extra keys for car, house or storage

Collier County sheriff’s deputies are specially trained to assist victims of abuse. Use them to help you file a police report or to secure an injunction for protection. If you are undocumented, you may be eligible to become a legal permanent resident under the Violence Against Women Act.

It is important to know that domestic violence doesn’t stop at the front door. It seeps out into our community, infecting our schools, businesses, places of worship and social gatherings. It impacts the safety of all of us, so please, if you see something, say something.

If you or someone you know is impacted by domestic violence or human trafficking, call The Shelter Crisis Line at 239-775-1101. For more information on how you can become part of the solution, call the Immokalee shelter at 239-657-5700.

Immokalee Shelter, crisis, abused