First Lady Highlights Domestic Violence Programs
Tour includes visit to Equinox, a Women's Fund-supported shelter
New York First Lady Michelle Paige Paterson
recently toured the Equinox Domestic Violence
Shelter in Albany, highlighting the need for
such programs — including those funded by
The Women's Fund — to break the cycle of
abuse in families.
"We were excited to have the First Lady visit,
and to learn that she has served as a domestic
violence volunteer herself," said Mary Seeley,
Executive Director of Equinox and a Founding
Five Hundred Member of The Women's Fund.
"Domestic violence isn't a problem that can be
solved easily, and we appreciate bringing such
attention to the issue."
During the visit, Mary introduced the First
Lady to a mother and daughter who had
been sheltered by Equinox 14 years ago. The
daughter is now grown up and working as a
Case Manager at Equinox in its Transitional
Living Program for Youth. Both women
remembered the shelter as a safe haven in
which they received support from staff to help
them transition to a safe and loving home of
their own. "We greatly appreciate The Women's
Fund for helping our women and girls have a
brighter future," said Mary.
The Women's Fund of the Capital Region
is also a champion of domestic violence
programs, and has funded several in the
past three years, including the development
of "Career Development for Underemployed
Women" a partnership between Albany
Community Action Partnership and Equinox,
designed to help low-income women and domestic
violence victims become self-supporting.
Studies have found that in families experiencing
domestic violence, children are more likely to also
be abused and that daughters are more likely to
be victims of sexual abuse. Witnessing abuse
also increases the likelihood of violent behavior
in the future, particularly for boys. The shelter,
safety planning, legal advocacy and counseling that
domestic violence programs provide make a positive
difference not only in the victim's life, but in her
children's future as well.
The Women's Fund is proud to have also funded these
programs to help break the intergenerational cycle
of abuse: Project Hope and Power, a collaboration
of Domestic violence and Rape Crisis Services of
Saratoga and Soroptomists International of Saratoga
County; and Project S.S.A.F.E., a partnership of
Unity House, The Literacy Volunteers of Rensselaer,
and Capital Communications Federal Credit Union.