Sometimes the very place we want to nest and call home simply is not safe. Whether it is because the house itself is physically not safe; the people in the house are making you physically unsafe or emotionally unsafe; or others coming to your home are making you feel unsafe, sometimes our homes simply are not safe. Every year, news stories report people being killed in their own homes under a variety of circumstances. Every year, people leave their homes because of not feeling safe. My deeply held belief is that every one of us has the right to be and feel safe in our own homes.
When home is not safe, where can we find safe places? I remember a college friend’s mom saying that as a child she found safety at church – it was quiet and gave her a chance to rest, regroup, and face her daily life challenges. Children, youth, and young adults can find safety at school, sometimes, because other times school is not a safe place at all. Friend’s or extended family members’ homes are potential safe places to go for a break or to work from when seeking help. For a while, when my own three-person family was more exhausting than it was uplifting, I would slowly shop at my favorite local grocery store because it was quiet, bright, clean, and has friendly staff; I could do something needed for the family – without my family being with me.
Community help and support exists in many places. Look for family centers, family justice centers, police/sheriff, victim-coordinators in police and sheriff departments, domestic violence recovery entities, church or temple staff, counsellors, and in immediate danger situations dial 9-1-1.
My hope is that as we enter the flurry of holidays this last quarter of the year, every one of us can feel that we are safe at home!
Note: This Jana Kemp post first appeared online September 26, 2018.