Today, we’re taking a break from LAL developments, brewery openings + best brunch spots, to talk about love. 💕
As we all know, love can be pretty tough, and it can be even tougher to understand it from an outside perspective – especially when abuse is suspected.
Think it could never happen to you or someone you care about? Think of four women you love deeply. See how smart, driven, and kind they are? One in four of them will be a victim of severe violence by an intimate partner. For men, 1 in 7.
In Polk County, there are numerous organizations working to eradicate domestic violence locally. Here are some resources for survivors to keep in mind + for advocates to share. ⬇️ FYI, If you or anyone you know is in physical danger, don’t waste time; 911 is your only option.
Help for survivors
- Legal: The Red Tent Initiative (818 E. Lemon St.) offers information about legal rights + remedies training, with a focus on immigration law. They also act as an in-between in connecting victims with resources.
- Shelter: Search for a shelter nearby, by using domesticviolenceshelters.org + adding in your location.
- Clothing: Hidden Gem Consignment Boutique (139 N. Galloway Rd., Lakeland.) allows domestic violence survivors in Polk County to shop for free.
- Counseling: The Women’s Resource Center (165 Ave. A NW, Winter Haven) offers free counseling for victims (though there is currently a waiting list). You can call their crisis hotline for immediate assistance.
- Police: Like many of the local police departments, Lakeland PD can help victims with resources, court assistance, education + support and have assigned trained victim advocates on call 24-hours daily.
- Food: When fleeing from a situation, food can sometimes be the last thing on a victim’s mind. Aid to Families with Dependent Children, WIC, and food stamps can be made available to survivors. Peace River Center also offers food + clothing services.
- Assistance: Provided by the LPD’s DART Unit, domestic violence victims will be provided a cell phone for up to 30 days.
- Family: Youth & Family Alternatives (332 W. Highland Dr., Lakeland) offers counseling + other wellness services to children who have witnessed domestic violence.
- Hotline: Call 863.413.2700 to reach the Peace River Center (715 N. Lake Ave.) at their 24-hour crisis line.
How you can help locally
- Events: Follow domestic violence centers on Facebook, Instagram, and other social media platforms to keep up-to-date with events going on throughout the community.
- Donate: By donating monetarily or through clothing or item donations, you’re helping individuals in Polk, who may not be able to find assistance on their own.
- Volunteer: Red Tent Initiative, Peace River Center + so many other organizations offer options to volunteer – whether that’s at community events or helping with the hotline. (Note: There may be some training required.)
- Advocate: Maybe one of the simplest ways to help be a part of the mission of ending domestic violence in Polk, is to advocate for victims and survivors. Use your voice to share about your own experience, listen to survivors, and educate those around you on the subject.
- Friends or Family: If you know someone who is being abused, your support is essential. Check out this toolkit from Domestic Shelters to learn about the various forms of abuse + how you can help those in need.
*This article uses the term “victim” + “survivor” interchangeably, as each person who has experienced a form of domestic violence chooses a different term to describe their experience.