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Letter to the Editor

Last week Iowa’s Attorney General held a press conference regarding the dire circumstances facing victims of violent crime, specifically domestic violence and sexual assault. Six years ago Iowa faced another financial crisis, and funding for safe shelters, crisis lines and advocacy programs were cut heavily. Nine programs for victims of domestic and sexual violence closed and the remaining programs tried to keep up. For example, the Domestic Violence Intervention Program (DVIP) of Iowa City saw our average of 1000 victims served annually reach 1900 this past year. But now we are facing an even bigger crisis. Funds the Attorney General used to help remaining programs are depleted. Without a state allocation of $4 million, more programs will close. This allocation is not an increase; it will simply maintain the crisis and safety resources that are so desperately needed right now. The following are from women attending our support groups, their names were changed for their protection:
“I have found a band of sisters through the domestic violence shelter in Iowa City. We know too well what the other has - is - and will be going through. We have all been violently abused by our perpetrators and the patterns are all too similar. We were all told we’re imagining the abuse, too sensitive, or just crazy. Along with our band of sisters are the DVIP advocates who helped us trust again. We are now able to help each other become safe productive citizens, standing beside each other when obstacles are thrown at us. If it weren't for the DVIP shelter and services, our journeys would be too difficult to endure and many of us would fail.” - Jane
“I have survived an abusive relationship with my husband for the past 10 years. He has been convicted of three domestic assault charges, although there were many more unreported. For me, the DVIP has been my support, safety net, and education. The advocates that I have worked with were the first to believe me and understand the absolute terror I had endured. They were the first to validate my experiences as not my fault and that I was not crazy as I was continuously made to feel. They stood beside me at all hours of the day or night and have helped me conquer my fears through knowledge and education. They have supported me through legal proceedings and while physically at my side, they educated those around me. They have provided me with invaluable resources and are largely responsible for helping me to slowly but surely gain confidence, self-worth, and my dignity back. Without them, I would be a casualty.” - Amanda
“As a client of the DVIP I have gained strength, friendships and knowledge about domestic violence. Budget cuts in the millions will hurt all of us. Whether you are in-shelter or out-reach, the DVIP saves lives. If victim services are cut back or cut out, women like you, your sister, your mom, aunt or co-worker will be in danger with no one to help them. I wouldn't have wanted to go through this alone, and I hope no one will have to go through this alone. Please speak out to your state representatives that money should continue to be allocated; as women with or without children, our perpetrators continue to find ways to abuse us.\ - Susan