Measuring Success

Through the process of applying for grants, we are often asked about Safeplace success stories. This is a tough question. Not because Safeplace doesn’t have numerous success stories, but because success means something different when just living through the day is considered a success for many victims of abuse. Making it through dinner without saying a wrong word, or keeping the children “quite enough,’’ means success for many. If your definition of success includes knowing that no one will pull you from the bed in the middle of the night from the hair of your head, we’ve got that. If your definition includes freedom from being belittled and cursed daily or feeling safe enough to sit outside in the evening to watch the sunset, then we’ve got those stories as well. If you think success means a roof over the head of your family and keeping the lights on and water running, those success stories are abundant. Please don’t misunderstand. We have those who have gone through our program, secured permanent housing, found the courage to see their case through the court system, graduated college and now dedicate their lives to serving those who are seeking the same. We have the testimonies of those who have gone through the batterers program, seeing the terror that they brought to those they loved, and promising to change their ways forever. But when you’ve attended the funeral of a woman with three children who fought day in and day out just to protect them, or you’ve seen the emptiness in the eyes of a mother who just saw her daughter’s body being lifted into the back of a hearse, your perspective of what success means changes. Safeplace housed 309 persons last year. For whatever time those persons did not experience pain or terror, if they learned something while they were in shelter and made a safety plan, if they left shelter with the understanding that the abuse was not their fault and they did not deserve to be battered and that they were worthy of more, then that was a success. And Safeplace has had many successes.

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