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Featured Mini-Grantee | Sarah’s Daughters Domestic Violence Awareness

2024-07-14T19:51:46-04:00July 11th, 2024|

Action to Address Domestic Violence

Established in 2010, Sarah’s Daughters Domestic Violence Awareness foundation uplifts women struggling with the effects of domestic violence, and educates the public about the impact that domestic violence has on victims and families. The organization is comprised of a corps of volunteers from all walks of life, who work 1:1 with those personally affected by domestic violence, assess the situation and make meaningful connections to address individual needs.


HealthierJC
+ Sarah’s Daughters Domestic Violence Awareness

Sarah’s Daughters believes that Building a Culture of Health means working together as a village to address the issue of domestic violence, and its aftermath.  By combining their diverse skills and backgrounds, volunteers establish a powerful community network to combat violence against women and families.  

HealthierJC aligns with the commitment of Sarah’s Daughter to support victims, save lives, educate the community and take action to address Domestic violence as a health equity priority.  In 2020, Black women made up 85% of the estimated 3 million people victimized by domestic violence and almost three times more likely to die from domestic or intimate partner violence than White women. It is one of the leading causes of death for Black women ages 15 to 35, and the statistics are comparable for Hispanic women.

Over the years, Sarah’s Daughters has often partnered with HealthierJC to establish relationships with local Jersey City organizations to connect domestic violence clients with a broad range of services like housing, attorney assistance, or mental health counseling.


How was the Mini-Grant Used?

Thanks to the HealthierJC mini-grant, Sarah’s Daughters hosted a series of 3-day Health and Wellness Retreats that included domestic violence awareness workshops and several motivational speakers who shared their stories of domestic violence and how they survived the physical and mental torment of their abusers.  Participants were educated on the red flags and warning signs of an abuser, as well as a safety exit plan.  The event also provided exercise instructors, a massage therapist, and instruction on breathing and relaxation techniques to relieve tension, improve mental health and promote wellbeing.

At each event, several women spoke candidly about their experiences with abuse for the first time. These women appeared comfortable interacting with this kindred group of women in a safe, nurturing environment.  A total of 60 minority, low-income Jersey City women and seniors from Ward F participated in these Sarah’s Daughters retreats from September to October 2023.


Making a Difference…

“It came into my spirit that helping battered woman was something I should do.”
— Reverend Doctor Bertha Reels

After writing a novel in 2010 with a domestic violence theme, Reels understood that she needed to get information out to women and families about domestic violence: “What it looks like, feels like, and sounds like,” she said.  “I found that quite a few women view it as just physical instead of mental and psychological. It’s about financial and sexual control, manipulation, all of those things, and more. I wanted to educate people on red-flag warnings and triggers and make the community aware.”  Reels heard stories about women being kidnapped, beaten, left outside without their clothes, even doused with gasoline and lit on fire.  These stories aren’t somebody else’s story, she related.  Having been abused at age 16, Reels realized that these stories are her story, too.

She said the situation is “out of control.  Laws don’t work.  A restraining order doesn’t restrain anything.  Women are losing their lives to domestic violence.” Women often leave a devastating situation only to return to their abusers.  “This is not only traumatizing to the woman directly experiencing it, but to me as well,” Reels said.

On the hopeful side are the people who donate to Sarah’s Daughters.  Students and teachers at Jersey City’s Beloved Community Charter School donated $1,000 in memory of one of their teachers who had been murdered by her abuser, in her home, in front of her kids. “People need to be educated on the signs of domestic violence and what to look for and not accept excuses,” Reels said.  “There’s always an excuse.”

For more information about the Sarah’s Daughters, please visit the website at https://sarahsdaughtersdva.org/.