The Austin Chronicle

Mabee We're Amazed

October 10, 1997, Features

The Center for Battered Women in Austin has some pretty grim news. Statistics show that one in four Texas women will, at some point, enter an abusive relationship. This might involve physical battering, psychological torment, or both. Any way you look at it, one in four is one in four too many.

Last year, CBW counseled 10,400 callers on their 24-Hour Abuse Hotline. (Keep in mind, that although male-to-female abuse is most common, CBW also handles calls from abused husbands/partners, abused women in lesbian relationships, and abused men in homosexual relationships.) They offered shelter to 403 adults and 418 children last year. Sadly, over 2,000 who sought shelter had to be turned away from CBW for lack of resources. The center established a waiting list or directed them to other shelters.

To help combat the lack of space and resources, The Capital Campaign was started in late 1996. Says Capital Campaign Coordinator Vivian Rogers, "We started the campaign because we were turning away two out of three families that came to us asking for shelter."

Rogers and her colleagues have set an ambtious goal for themselves. "We're trying to raise $7.4 million by June, 1998." By June 1997, they were well on their way to meeting that goal, but still shy by over $2 million.

Enter The Mabee Foundation of Tulsa, Oklahoma, a group which uses a charitable trust primarily to support women's and children's causes. The Foundation contacted CBW with an interesting offer. Described as a "challenge grant," Mabee promised to donate $750,000 if CBW could come up with $1.5 million. Don't even try to do the math. The point is, any money donated now could be amply magnified by the Mabee folks, provided the goal is reached by June 9, 1998.

The funds are already earmarked for direct ways to increase available housing, so less families will have to hear that devastating, "Sorry, we're full," as they try to escape the nightmare of abuse. "The Capital Campaign will help CBW triple our ability to house women and children escaping domestic violence. Projects include increasing shelter space at one of our sites, adding a new women's shelter, and paying off the construction of our new supportive housing apartment complex. We also hope to open a second women's shelter," reports Rogers.

All donations, corporate, individual, great and small are welcome and can be sent to: CBW, PO Box 19454, Austin, TX 78760 or call the CBW office, 385-5181.

If you are in an abusive situation, there are local and national 24-hour hotline services available: 928-9070 or 800/799-SAFE.

For further insight on abuse, how it happens, and how to stop it, check out the recently released book, When Violence Begins at Home: A Comprehensive Guide to Understanding and Ending Domestic Abuse, written by CBW's Director of Training, K.J. Wilson, and available by calling the office. -- spike

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