Domestic Violence Case Study

Field Study: House of Ruth Domestic violence is an issue affecting millions of families. As a result of the increasing incidents of abuse, the number help centers and outreach programs have amplified in urban areas. One of the most influential centers against domestic violence is the House of Ruth. Established in 1977 and located in an urban city area, the House of Ruth offers various services to women and children who are victims of familial violence.

Their mission states, “The House Of Ruth Maryland leads the fight to end violence against women and their children by confronting the attitudes, behaviors and systems that perpetuate it, and by providing victims with the services necessary to rebuild their lives safely and free of fear. Our vision is that one day, every woman in Maryland will be safe in her own home. ” (WEBSITE) House of Ruth provides various services to help families “rebuild their lives”, according to Executive Director Sandi Timmons. Through aiding the public in times of need, House of Ruth fulfills every level of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

These needs are embodied by every individual. The first platform involves the physiological needs of a person. It includes physical necessities such as food, water, shelter, etc. House of Ruth provides two types of shelters. The first is an emergency shelter. This accommodation is described as, “temporary refuge for battered women and their children who are in immediate danger or at risk of homicide. ” There are private bedrooms with bathrooms, a dining room, a kitchen, and a living room. Women and children receive the help they need to remove themselves from hostile situations. The length of stay is based on each women’s’ personal needs. The beginning of their stay is directed towards recovery and planning their goals,” says Timmons, “Women then move into the transitional phase where we partner with local businesses to access starting jobs and secure housing. ” Therefore, House of Ruth is addressing the physiological needs of the family as well as the second tier of the hierarchy: safety. Needs for safety are met by the family’s desire to protect its members from all types of danger. textbook) A critical resource provided is a 24 hour hotline that is available to all persons facing an emergency. This help line is confidential and connects victims with trained counselors. Along with their crisis intervention training, counselors are able to provide callers with legal referrals and plans for escaping abuse. Women seek to protect their children from being reared within an abusive environment which exemplifies the concept of safety needs. The medical needs of the women and children living in the shelter are also addressed.

A health clinic is operated by the School of Nursing at John Hopkins University. House of Ruth also addresses the need for protection in the future, after the shelter. They operate the Marjorie Cook Domestic Violence Legal Clinic with a staff of numerous attorneys and paralegals. With this service, a prolific amount of women are helped to obtain protective orders, peace orders, divorce decrees, custody of children, and child support (website) House of Ruth provides a safe haven for families and medical attention to those battered.

The next stage addressed in pyramid of needs is that of social and belonging. When meaningful relationships have been made, members create a loving and accepting atmosphere (Textbook). Escaping any form abusive relationship is traumatizing and is not discriminatory. As Timmons explains, “There is no average client. Domestic violence breaks all socioeconomic boundaries. ” Women living at House of Ruth are encouraged to develop relationships with other women within the shelter. Creating connections with others who have the same experiences is vital in gaining back the lost familial atmosphere.

Dinners are served “family-style” to reinforce this concept. Large living rooms are also provided as a gathering place for women to simply enjoy time together; watching television and playing games build a key family strength. The staff of House of Ruth consists of licensed counselors and therapists. Free group therapy sessions provide support in escaping their once isolated lives. In order to capitalize on the counseling resource, women must recognize that they are not alone in their situation (House of Ruth, ). Leaders insist that women expound on their situation and exchange support.

The root of their relationships comes from the mutual violence endured. By having relatable experiences, deeper connections are made possible. The unique transition programs offered by House of Ruth propel women into becoming self-sufficient. When asked about their transition program, Sandi Timmons stated, “By partnering with outside organizations, we are able to provide women with a stepping stone to rebuilding their lives. Outsourcing helps us find starting jobs for women. ” When women are given an opportunity to support themselves instead of their abusers, they are overcome with confidence.

The belief of independence is instilled within women when they are able to provide for their families. Transitional housing offers apartments with supported rent to improve a families’ monetary condition. Women must stay a minimum of six months in the confidentially located rooms to ensure every victim’s safety. The stress of constantly struggling to pay for housing is relieved by this resource. Women and children would be frozen within the circular-traditional model of time if transitional services were not provided.

Instead of barely meeting the financial demands of housing, women are assisted and able to provide for their family. Eventually, women are able to support themselves without outside assistance. It is evident in all aspects of life that when independence is gained, so is the confidence in oneself. Self-esteem is built through the transition program; women are able to gain the respect that was lost in their abusive relationship. All of the services provided by House of Ruth help women in having a better chance of reaching the uppermost tier of the hierarchy: self-actualism.

Though some critics argue that total self-actualization is impossible, women are given a better opportunity to attempt. Self-actualization is reaching an individual’s full potential and acquiring a sort of self-fulfillment. Psychologist Abraham Maslow describes it as, “…the desire to become more and more what one is, to become everything that one is capable of becoming” (Cherry, ). Though total self-actualism may not be reached, House of Ruth propels women forward to become their own person. An overall happier life is entailed; victims can build their own attitudes.

Women may develop personalities and characteristics that were not possible prior to living in the shelter. Creativity, spontaneity, and lack of prejudice are some traits that can be gained. House of Ruth is an extraordinary organization. Their resources provide endless opportunities for women to turn their lives around. Domestic violence takes away a families’ independence and the shelter offers an outlet to restore family strengths: commitment, spiritual well-being, affection, enjoyable time together, stress management, and positive communication (textbook). Those affected by familial abuse have an ccessible treatment facility and escape from aggressive situations. The services provided by House of Ruth are essential in decreasing the numbers of battered women who are left feeling helpless. The availability of each resource allows women to feel as if they always have a place to go. Works Cited (2010). House of Ruth Maryland. House of Ruth Inc. http://www. hruth. org/ Cheery, K. (2011). “What Is Self Actualization” http://psychology. about. com/od/theoriesofpersonality/a/hierarchyneeds_2. htm Moore, T. J. & Assay, S. (2008). Family Resource Management. Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications.

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