About the changing world all around us

This year over 120 children will spend their summer vacation in a Crisis centre, or battered women’s shelter here in Norway. Many of these will live behind locked doors for several months before a safe new home is found for them.

It seems to be that this situation is completely absurd, although I see it time and time again. The person who has put these women and children in danger remains in their home, and it is the women and children who are forced to flee and live at a secret address for their own protection.

Children in crisis

Children in crisis

In spite of tough laws in Norway against domestic violence, the accused normally does not get more than a warning and the woman an order of protection which is supposed to prevent the accused from having contact with her. However in many situations of violence the order of protection is not respected by the accused and the family cannot return to their own home.

I was shocked when I returned to work to find our shelter literally overrun…and pretty much stood on end…by a house full of children. Outdoor activities are of course the ideal, however we don’t have the staffing to organize many group activities, the Red Cross which normally runs a volunteer program for us closes the program down in the summer because of lack of volunteers, and many of the mothers are afraid to take their children to the parks or public play areas for fear that their husbands or his family may get to them.

So we spent much of our time and energy at work this weekend trying to keep 17 children of all ages out of trouble, not fighting with their siblings, and entertained. No easy task, I assure you…spent the evening cleaning up paint and organized a popular ‘movie night’ complete with popcorn and juice after the youngest were finally in their beds.

More needs to be done to protect the rights of these families, and help them to stay in their own homes, and rather force the assaulter out of his comfy little bed. However it seems to me that it is a typical womans issue, which doesn’t get enough attention or resources in society in general. The assaulter is normally a man, and the victim normally women and children – and the entire issue is met with excuses. Although the laws protecting the women and children’s rights are in place, the usual excuses – lack of evidence, lack of witnesses, lack of resources in the police force, investigators, and the legal system to give ‘domestic’ cases enough priority.

Meanwhile it is the victims who lived locked up, for their own safety, behind closed doors and security windows and I just keep on popping popcorn and washing up paint…and doing the little I can to make it better.

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Comments on: "Summer vacation behind locked doors" (15)

  1. Same thing happening here. It is indeed a shame. It takes forever for some resolution, but you are right, it’s the women and children that suffer the most. These are not husbands or fathers, they are just men out of control that think very little of themselves. Have a great day. 🙂

    DianeCA: Thanks! It is indeed an international problem, but it needs to be addressed…which means we need to speak out!

  2. everywhere you go it’s the same to one degree or another. but bless you for your work to ease the suffering and help find permanent solutions.

    DianeCA:
    Thanks, I do what I can on the micro (small) level but it is change on the societal level that is needed, and patience on my part…or maybe not…

  3. You know it is very sad. This is, however, a world wide problem. In many countries and societies women, girls are worth less than a donkey. And the donkey is treated better!
    I wonder what it will take for a world wide initiative to come along whereby women are respected for being human beings.
    Meanwhile, we must teach our children, both daughters and sons to respect themselves and their women

    DianeCA:
    I am a member of Amnesty International to try and make a difference on a global level, even if it is just a few crowns, or a signature, at a time…and a big part of our work at the Crisis center is to teach women that they are worth respecting and to take care of their own rights. You are very wise and observant. I know the problem is much the same in the US because a lot of my study materials come from American research.

  4. I feel so sorry for those children who innocently are locked behind doors for the sake of what their fathers have done. Its a disgrace! I know thought, you are doing your best to ease their pain and frustrations and I’m proud of you and your efforts to give them a better life and a new start!

    DianeCA: Thank you, I know you are always supporting me and always there for me when I need ‘debriefing’.

  5. I think what you and your collegues + the volonteers at the crisis center do a tremendous job.
    An effort most people do not have a clue what’s all about.
    The only thing sad is that Crisis centers have become a must.

    DianeCA: I have learned a lot myself. I wish the Crisis centers weren’t necessary but I have a hard time imaging a society without violence. Its good to have a safe place to turn to when things get rough.

  6. This is a nice job you do for all these women and children in such bad situation! Yes, you’re are right! We can ask why the victims have to go out when assaulter can stay at home. Women and children in this case have a green phone number.
    The women who are victim can find help in France and have to do the 3919. Between 11 and 39 social assistants, psychologist, educators are on line. They hear the victims and give them advices in different languages. The victim can stay of course anonymous.
    In France, one woman died all the three days, under battering spouse.

    DianeCA:
    Yep, I work the hotline too. We take the calls when they come in, as well as taking care of the people at the shelter. We don’t have psychologists though…but I work as a crisis therapist. We had a girl who stayed at a women’s shelter in France and she was very satisfied with the services she got there. Her worker continued to call her and keep in touch even after she came to Norway.

  7. We have the same problems here in Singapore so I suppose this is a universal problem ;(

    Good job at the Crisis Center Diane and through you, these women & children will feel the love & care.

    DianeCA: I hope so, they deserve a better life then they have.

  8. That’s the worst of domestic violence, of course – how children are made to suffer for it. It grieves me.

    DianeCA: I so much agree. I really didn’t think so much about it before I started studying social work. It is usually the women victims that are in focus but everybody suffers.

  9. This is very sad. But these children are lucky to have you and a crisis center to go to… I wish I could be there to volunteer.

    Why can’t just people be nice to each other…*sigh* I will try my best to speak out for women rights and human rights.

    DianeCA:
    Good girl! Speaking out is what we need to do for change.

  10. That is very sad… I feel so sorry for the children who don’t have the opportunity to live carefree childhoods. It makes me feel so grateful for the quiet family life that I had as a child and that I have right now.

    Thank you for caring for them. That’s very kind of you and I’m sure they appreciate all the work you’ve put into this.

    Is there anything I can do to help? I’m always trying to help out in little ways but nothing ever seems enough. Stuff like this never seems to go away…

    DianeCA: Your local shelter probably needs your help, and it doesn’t have to take much time or effort. The next time you clean out your closet donate your clothes to the nearest shelter. If you have childrens items donate them as well. This is a case where local action is always helpful.

  11. It is a shame !! it’s exactly the same here. “Monsieur” stays in HIS residence and wife and children have to hide somewhere !

    DianeCA: I really feel the shoe should be on the other foot. More should be done to keep the families in their homes and protect them from their attacker.

  12. You are so right! I read your post yesterday and had a dream that I was homeless. It is a definite fear for women. From my first divorce I worried if I was gonna need to take me and D to a homeless shelter at times, but I ended up relying on loans, a friend’s help, and temporary jobs while I was in school. I hope they can focus on this issue instead of putting it in the background. Moms are the ones raising the children, and the children are our future.

    I feel so horrible for the children and Moms!! ((()))

    DianeCA: I was afraid of the same when I was divorced. If I knew how good the shelters were I might have actually used it instead of driving myself farther into debt!! I might have gotten help I really needed.

  13. It’s such an awful situation and silly me, I thought this was an occurance in 3rd world countries…never expected a Scandinavian country to be dealing with domestic violence. It makes me sad and angry at the same time…

    DianeCA: I do think the Scandinavian countries do a good job…but more needs to be done. Domestic violence reaches every corner of the world and all social classes…as far as I know nobody escapes it completely.

  14. Oh no…. It’s so tough to watch a large scale problem (it’s Earthwide it seems) and not be able to fix it all in a snap. ‘Cause that’s what I’d love to do! Snap my fingers and have everyone love eachother unconditionally.

    I so enjoy serving others. Volunteering, Random Acts of Kindness, and just things that come to mind. But I wish, somehow someway we could make the hurt go away.

    Love and Light Diane – Wonderful Post, very thought provoking.

    Thank you btw for commenting on my blog. It made me feel good. 😉

  15. You’ve been awarded the Brillante Weblog Award, but only if you want to play along. 🙂

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