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Independence Day in a Domestic Violence Shelter

We are driving to an appointment. The streets are lined with flags and other reminders of the 4th of July holiday. The car is quiet until someone says “I’m more free at this moment than I’ve been in a long time.”

Independence Day – the day we acknowledge our freedom as a people – as a nation.

For the women of Bethesda House, Independence Day takes on new personal meaning. What does it mean to be free from the fear of the threat of physical, emotional, financial, and sexual harm? No more broken noses, arms, fingers, and ribs at the hands of someone who was supposed to love and protect you. No more assessing his mood and the potential danger within the first five seconds after he enters the room. No more trying to feed a family of five for a week with $25. No more being denied the option of seeking employment.

Freedom from all of these fears will eventually give way to independence. As we consider our freedom and independence this year, perhaps we will remember that those privileges have layers – collectively and individually.

May each person reading this message have a truly safe and happy Independence Day, from all of us at Bethesda House.

- Dr. Alison Jackson-Wood, Executive Director

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