Family Peace Project talks about domestic violence and why it’s so hard to leave/Henderson County Republican Club fills animal shelter wish list

Posted by : Monitor Admin | On : April 7, 2017

Family Peace Project Director Mary Farmer tells why it’s so hard for victims of family violence to leave.

By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer
GUN BARREL CITY–Members of the Henderson County Republicans learned pet adoption rate at the Humane Society of Cedar Creek Lake is up 80 percent in March. “We have a new batch of puppies and kittens,” shelter manager Theressa Henderson said. The shelter received donations from its wish list from the club during its March 23 meeting at Vetoni’s Italian Restaurant.
The meeting featured Mary Farmer, director of the Family Peace Project in Athens.
The reason for the uptick in pet adoptions is due to the number of events being run each month, Henderson said. “We’ve gone from two or three a month to 22 a month or more,” she said.
The shelter is hosting an adoption event in Edom Saturday-Sunday, April 8-9, with a pet parade and non-motorized float contest. “There will be lots of prizes. It should be very adorable,” she said. The shelter board, in conjunction with Friends of the Animals, is planning the Whiskers and Wags Gala, at 6 p.m., Saturday, April 29 at the Athens Country Club, she announced.
In club news, members:
• learned meeting dates are set for April 27, May 25 and June 22 with a 21-year-old speaker who graduated from the Patriot Academy, founded by former state representative Rick Green, The intensive leadership boot camp helps students develop leadership strategies, life purpose plans, media relation skills, public speaking, campaign techniques and a founding fathers’ philosophy of government. The Patriot Academy is the premier political leadership training in the nation, guiding young men and women to effectively lead the change in America! “It’s a call to action, a call to greatness, a call to keep the torch of freedom burning bright.”
Anyone interested in the electoral process is invited to attend.
Family Peace Project director Mary Farmer told her story of living under very strict rules laid down by an abusive husband from a religious family, whose legacy also included domestic violence.
“One in three families are affected by domestic violence,” she said.
Her life looked normal from the outside. She was a worship leader in her church, a bank teller in her profession, the mother of a 15-year-old daughter, but the façade fell away, once Sunday night when she opted for the drive through lane for an ice cream cone for her daughter, which put her 20 minutes late getting home.
He was waiting for her and the beating lasted all night. With a broken back, she and her daughter left that night (April 19, 2002) for a shelter, much like the one the Family Peace Project offers to women in her situation.
She and others like her are often asked: Why don’t you just leave? The answer is complicated, she said.
First you want to believe everything is going to be OK.
Second, how do you leave everything you know and go into hiding to stay safe. She and her daughter were hidden away for 30 days. No going back to school. No going back to retrieve precious mementos, photographs, crucial records and documents, clothes, jewelry, electronics.
She also had just 30 days to find employment doing something entirely different in a whole different town, where you know no one and no one knows you.
She was homeless even though her house was deeded to her and her husband from her relatives. She would no longer get to live there.
Thus far, she and the Family Peace Project have assisted 3,000 victims of domestic violence. Nationally three million to 10 million children will witness domestic violence and will become victims and abusers, unless something is done to break the cycle of abuse through education and help to start over.
“We help them start over,” she said. Most clients don’t need shelter; they need legal advocacy, protective orders, job skills, counseling, life skills, healing from rape, help with getting a divorce, Farmer said. She and her children need children’s programs, mentoring, parenting lessons, someone to walk with on the journey. “Volunteers with a heart are desperately needed,” she said.
“We need men who will model what it’s like to treat women with respect. I had never seen that in my entire life,” she said. “This doesn’t require money, it requires a heart.”
The Family Peace Project Office is located at 720 E. Corsicana in Athens and can be reached by calling (903) 677-9177. It also has an office in Terrell and has a satellite location in the Hillcrest Baptist church in Kemp by appointment. It is supported by private donations and the United Way.
Domestic violence and emotional abuse are behaviors used by one person in a relationship to control the other. Victims can be of any age, sex, race, culture, religion, education, employment or marital status. Anyone can be a victim; though most are women.
If you are being abused, remember: You are not alone. It is not your fault. And help is available.