YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio - The Sojourner House and its employees provide services and support to empower women and give them the tools to break free from domestic violence.
Tara, a survivor who spoke at the annual Sojourner House Candlelight Vigil, said she had been abused all her life and said a doctor once told her that one more blow to her face, by a former boyfriend, and she could have died. She said workers at Sojourner House helped save her life, got her on a path to safety, self esteem, and accomplishment.
Tara adds Sojourner provided her with counseling to help her with stress. She says staff members will stop what they are doing to talk with you and help you around the clock.
She says advocates at Sojourner got her started on her GED and got her signed up to be a STNA, State Tested Nursing Assistant.
Malinda Gavins, Sojourner House program director, says individuals need to know there is a shelter in Mahoning County that provides services 24 hours a day seven days a week.
Gavins says the agency has helped over 1,600 women and children last year alone. She says women don't have to come to the shelter, adding Sojourner also has outreach programs.
Eileen Larson, legal advocate for Sojourner, says she helps walk women through the civil process when applying for a civil protection order. She also helps in custody and divorce issues and criminal cases. Larson says Sojourner is there to help since walking alone into a courthouse can be a scary or intimidating process.
Survivors of domestic violence say if you stay with an abuser you teach your children that abuse is fine.
For more information on Sojourner House, call 330-747-4040 You can also log on www.sojournerhouse.com for more information.