Eden provides gathering place
The founders of a new group called Eden hope to provide a place for domestic violence victims, as well as their family members and friends, to receive ‘ and give ‘ support.
Angela, who, along with Penny, founded the group, said the name came from a song that talked about wanting to go back to Eden, a place where there’s no fear or pain.
The two women are both victims of domestic violence.
‘It takes a long time to realize it’s nothing to be ashamed of,’ said Angela, adding that she had to hit bottom before taking action to help herself. ‘The only shameful thing is letting it go on.’
They started the group in May, initially meeting at a local church. But, they believed some people didn’t join them because ‘they didn’t want to be preached at,’ Penny said, adding that’s not how the group works, although they do keep it ‘faith based.’
They searched for a centrally located place and were given permission to meet at the Harrison Center in Corydon. Meetings take place each Monday at 6 p.m.
Anyone is welcome to attend the meetings. Adults can bring their children, as well as a supportive friend. The women will pick up those who wish to attend but have no other transportation.
‘You don’t have to be the one to be abused to have it impact your life,’ Penny said.
Angela said that abuse isn’t just physical, but it can also be mental.
As victims go through the court system, they receive assistance from various agencies, such as Hoosier Hills PACT.
‘But help’s not available once their case is settled,’ Angela said. ‘They still have to deal with what happened to them every day.’
Or, perhaps someone hasn’t taken the initiative to get legal help.
That’s where Eden can help.
‘Sometimes people need someone to go with them to get an EPO (emergency protective order), to tell them what to expect,’ Penny said. ‘We’re available to go with them through any stage.’
Through her work as a school bus driver, Penny hears ‘heart-wrenching’ stories from children, who are aware of abuse or are possibly victims.
‘Adults may try to shelter their children or think they aren’t aware of what’s going on, but they know,’ she said.
‘And kids repeat what they see,’ Angela added.
That’s why the women want to eventually get into the school systems to present programs.
But, currently, they have no financial resources.
‘We’re still trying to find out how to pay for a phone,’ Angela said.
For now, they can be reached online (search for Eden Home on Facebook) or [email protected] They can also be reached by leaving a message with the Corydon Police Department (738-3959) and the Harrison County Sheriff’s Department (738-2195).
They have received tremendous support from other agencies as well as Dennis Byrd, who served the past four years as Harrison County prosecutor.
Resources are available to help victims with bills or purchase food. Clothing and baby supplies, which have been donated, are also available. (The women would welcome the donation of more items to assist those who may need something until they can make other arrangements. Items can be dropped off at the Harrison Center on Monday evenings from 5:30 to 6.)
‘We’re here to tell them their options,’ Penny said. ‘We’re not going to tell someone how to’ stop being a victim.
‘If we don’t have the answer to a question, we’ll find it,’ Angela added.
Another dream the two women have is for there to be a shelter in Harrison County.
‘Sometimes the kids feel like they’re being punished,’ Angela said. ‘Our goal is to have a place where they can go. … Shelters in other counties are a long way to go when you don’t have a car or money.’
Everything is confidential, and participants are required to sign a confidentiality agreement.
However, Penny said, if someone discloses something that needs to be reported to authorities, it will be reported.
Those who attend the meetings are not required to speak. Often, those in attendance chit-chat so they can get to know each other.
‘They can come and listen,’ Angela said. ‘They can join the discussion if they want.
‘We can’t judge anybody about where they’re at,’ she said. ‘It’s about where they’re going.’