Anti-domestic violence nonprofit will keep its fundraiser online due to COVID-19 concerns
Event will feature victims’ stories
Although some may see a light at the end of the coronavirus pandemic tunnel with vaccinations on the rise, Peace House decided to keep its annual fundraiser luncheon online this year.
And the anti-domestic violence nonprofit has made a few changes to the virtual occasion, which will run from 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. on May 7.
This year’s event is titled “Behind the Doors at Peace House: From Crisis to Hope,” and will feature registration for virtual tables, which can be broken out for online chats, said Sally Tauber, director of development.
The deadline for table registration is April 23, but individual registration will be open up to the day before the event, she said.
Adhering to the event title, the luncheon will feature videos that retell victims’ stories, said board member and event co-chair Elana Spitzberg.
“For the first time since Peace House was founded, we are going inside the doors where we will hear (stories) from domestic violence clients, and we will hear from advocates, who will talk about the programs through their clients’ eyes,” Spitzberg said.
The videos, which will feature actors telling the victims’ stories, will help people to understand the magnitude of what Peace House does, according to Kate Margolis, who is the other event co-chair.
“We wanted to focus on the barriers that some of these victims go through,” Margolis said. “Everybody knows Peace House is a shelter, but what they don’t know is how hard it is for someone to leave (a domestic violence situation).”
Many of the obstacles victims face include not having access to essentials like clothes, gas in their cars or diapers for their children, or the ability to be financially self-sufficient, she said.“We wanted to show these barriers, but also show that Peace House walks with them to help get all those barriers put out of the way so they can move forward,” Margolis said.
Peace House has prepared three videos — one from a woman who grew up in an abusive household, another from a woman who grew up not knowing what abuse was and one about a male survivor.
“In Utah, 1 in 25 men will be sexually assaulted or suffer domestic violence in their lifetime, and for women it’s 1 in 3,” Spitzberg said. “So, what’s important with this event is to understand the magnitude of the problem. It’s a national health crisis.”
Margolis, who has been a domestic violence victim advocate for more than 20 years, personally knows some of the people in the stories.
“It is still hard to digest these stories and live with them, because you can just imagine what it would be like to be the victim,” she said. “It’s incredibly isolating, upsetting. The fear they live through every single day is something that comes up all the time.”
Many of the victims begin to lose themselves, because they have been maltreated for so long, according to Margolis.
“They don’t know where to go, and they start to lose themselves to the point that even making a decision becomes a difficult task,” she said.
Victims’ situations have become more dire due to the coronavirus, which has forced people into isolation, Margolis said.
“It’s made a difficult situation more difficult, because getting away is harder now, but Peace House has done an amazing job of safely accommodating victims in a very unsafe time,” she said.
The nonprofit helps victims with an array of services that include legal and financial assistance, emergency sheltering and transitional housing, to name a few, Margolis said.
“I think it’s comforting knowing that a place like Peace House exists,” she said.
Last year, Peace House sheltered 124 individuals, answered 6,277 domestic violence-related calls, provided 419 hours of legal services and provided 1,191 adult-therapy hours, according to its 2020 annual report.
In March alone, Peace House survivor counseling services were up almost 118%, and more than 3,159 people visited the website, said Spitzberg, who worked as a family therapist for 28 years.
“The beauty of Peace House is that the advocates take each person as an individual and guide them through their own special way, because there is no formula for any one person to recover from domestic violence,” she said.
Fundraising is essential for keeping the Peace House services running, and that is the reason for continuing the annual luncheon fundraiser, Spitzberg said.
The goal this year is to raise $300,000, and as of Monday, Peace House has raised more than $107,300.
To help with fundraising, the Marriott Daughters Foundation and Carolyn and Charles Rozwat have pledged matching grants of $25,000 for a total of $50,000.
“Every contribution, now matter how small or big, makes a difference,” Spitzberg said. “This is a community event. It’s all about community supporting the issue of domestic violence prevention.”
When: 11:30 a.m. on May 7
Registration and donations: peacehouse.org/event/behind-the-doors-at-peace-house-spring-lunch-in-2021
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