Sabra offers hope to domestic violence victims

Published 11:05 am Friday, October 27, 2023

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and the Sabra Sanctuary of Selma is on a mission to ensure local residents are aware of the lifeline the organization offers. 

Executive Director, Clementine Ellis, an unwavering advocate for those affected by domestic violence, expressed the organization’s dedication to making a positive change in the community.

“We go to schools and churches, conduct training and work with social services,” Ellis said. “We even visit colleges, just getting the word out.” 

Email newsletter signup

Established in the 1990’s, Sabra stands for the Selma Area Black Belt Regional Abuse Sanctuary and covers six Alabama counties: Dallas, Perry, Wilcox, Marengo, Greene and Sumter. It provides temporary shelter to women and children for up to 30 days, all the while guiding survivors towards vital resources such as housing, food assistance, job support and counseling. 

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (ncadv.org), a staggering one in three women living in the United States has experienced some form of domestic violence. On average, 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner. 

Domestic violence encompasses a spectrum of abusive behaviors from physical violence to sexual threats and emotional abuse, all committed by an intimate partner. 

Alabama is not immune to these statistics. According to data from 2017, a year marked by 32,178 reported domestic violence simple assaults, this issue constituted 16% of all violent offenses in the state.  Within these alarming figures, 30 individuals tragically lost their lives as a result of domestic violence. 

Statistics gathered by Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) and the Institute of Data and Analytics at the University of Alabama’s Culverhouse College of Business, compiled at crime.ala.gov, the following year in 2018, showed 229 domestic violence assaults in Dallas County and 116 in Marengo County.

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), in Alabama, domestic violence accounted for 65% of murder/suicides in 2017 and of those, 96% of the victims were female. Unfortunately, it’s not just the victims being affected. 

In America, one in 15 children are exposed to intimate partner violence and 20% of the victims were not the intimate partner but were friends, neighbors, bystanders or law enforcement. The study by NCADV, published on the coalition’s website ncadv.org noted that victims of domestic violence are more likely to suffer from physical, mental and sexual health issues. 

Ellis wants victims of domestic violence to understand that they are more than their traumatic experiences.

“Trauma may happen to you, but it can never define you,” Ellis said. 

The Sabra Sanctuary Domestic Violence Program is generously funded through a combination of federal, state and local support as well as donations. 

Sabra has resources available to provide support, guidance and safety to victims of domestic violence and runs a 24-hour crisis hotline, ready to assist those in need. Domestic violence victims can reach out to them at: 1-800-650-6522.

Additionally, those in need may contact any of these organizations for help:

  • The National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE)
  • The National Dating Abuse Helpline: 1-866-331-9474
  • www.loveisrespect.org