Welcome to the second part of our interview with Janee’ Hanzlick, President/CEO of SAFEHOME, a domestic violence agency in the Kansas City area. In this part of the interview, Janee’ explores the engagement of men and boys into anti-violence work and integrating a pet shelter in a domestic violence shelter.
All pictures are courtesy of Janee’ Hanzlick and SAFEHOME.
6. How do you think men and boys can help stop violence against women and girls?
While men are responsible for most domestic violence, most men are not engaging in violence against women and girls. At SAFEHOME, we actively recruit male Board members and volunteers, as well as male staff, to serve as role models and leaders in our community. Our Education and Prevention Programme provides a school-based for both boys and girls, and young men are involved in “The Outrage” Teen Theatre performance.
It is especially powerful when, as a result of our education programmes, we see young men speaking out against bullying, unhealthy relationships, dating violence and sexual assault, and taking leadership roles in their school and community to stop violence. Our community is also proud to have a “Coaching Boys Into Men” program to engage and educate coaches and athletes to recognise and stop disrespect and violence toward women and girls.
7. SAFEHOME has recently received funding to build a pet shelter next to your women’s shelter. Can you tell us about the pet shelter and why SAFEHOME is taking steps to also shelter the pets of domestic violence victims?
Pet ownership can be a significant barrier to seeking safety. Victims who need to flee an abusive situation may be limited in their options if they own a pet. Naturally, most pet owners are unwilling to leave their pets behind, especially if you consider that there is a high correlation between domestic violence and pet abuse. This means that many pet-owning victims of abuse choose to stay in a dangerous situation rather than leave their pets behind.
To help remove this barrier to safety, SAFEHOME is building a small pet shelter adjacent to our residential shelter, which will be able to house about 6 dogs and 6 to 8 cats.
8. What advice or suggestions can you give to domestic violence victims who are unable to leave their abusers because they are unable to bring their pets with them?
Even if a domestic violence shelter is not able to accommodate pets, they may be able to assist victims in finding other resources. For instance, many shelters, including SAFEHOME, have agreements with local pet shelters to temporarily house or foster pets belonging to victims of domestic violence. Victims may also be able to identify friends and family who are willing to care for the pets while they are in transition. So I would urge anyone wanting to leave an abusive situation to call their local domestic violence hotline number and ask about resources for pets.
9. How can The Pixel Project’s supporters engage with and support SAFEHOME?
We would love for you to follow us on Facebook, where we share not only information about our current needs and upcoming events, but also information and commentary on media stories and current trends in domestic violence. We also publish a bi-monthly newsletter called the Scoop, that includes news and information about our programmes and current needs. Our website provides resources and information for victims and those wishing to support a loved one who is experiencing violence. Like any nonprofit, we rely heavily on donations to support the life-saving services we provide and welcome any support, however large or small.
10. In your considered opinion, how can we end violence against women for good?
I believe that the key to ending violence against women is education. Advocates, agencies, and funders must make it a priority to educate our communities that anyone can be the victim of domestic violence – no matter their age, race, socioeconomic status, religion, gender, or sexual orientation. In particular, we have to increase and strengthen education to young people, both men and women, about how to have healthy relationships and demand respect from their friends and intimate partners. Finally, we must also continue to educate victims, as well as their family and friends, about available resources and support to help them escape abuse. Only by continuing to educate, raise awareness and bring domestic violence out of the shadows can we one day hope to see the end of violence against women.