SHARE lends help in domestic violence
By Dan Barker
Editor’s note: This story is one in a series about the member agencies of United Way of Morgan County. Donations may be sent to the United Way of Morgan County, P.O. Box 1425, Fort Morgan, CO 80701.
Times Staff Writer
Domestic violence comes in many forms.
For “Lisa,” who did not want her real name revealed, it was mostly verbal abuse, although there was physical abuse, too, she said.
After years of this, “I had no self-worth,” Lisa said.
She and her family were homeless, sleeping in cars at times, never sure of what would come next and never felt safe, she said.
But the help of those who work at SHARE, the Morgan County domestic violence program in Fort Morgan, she has been able to leave her alcoholic, drug-using, abusive husband and pull her family together, Lisa said.
At first, that was through transitional housing until she could afford a place of her own, she said.
She is even going to Morgan Community College now, she said.
SHARE workers talked with her, a children’s program helped the kids and there were times when the children could do special things like go to Water World in Denver, Lisa said.
SHARE also had someone to stand by her during court hearings and to help her do legal paperwork, she said.
It is more than just having a place to go, though.
Lisa’s husband always put her down, saying without him she would be helpless, and she needed to learn she could survive on her own, she said.
Those at SHARE gave her the assurance that everything would work out, Lisa said. She would make it and be OK.
The children had sessions with the children’s specialist and Lisa would meet with Director Jacque Morse once a week.
She learned to understand domestic violence issues and that she was not the only one to go through these kinds of experiences and feel that way, Lisa said.
“They were a tremendous help in helping me feel secure,” she said.
Almost three years later, the kids are growing and happier, no longer afraid to look out windows, Lisa said.
They are settled into a home, which is a big change, she said.
She had support from her church to leave, but it is not that simple when a person has no resources, Lisa said.
Nor is it easy to stay the course.
Lisa left and went back to her husband over a three-year period before she had the support of SHARE and Centennial Mental Heath Center to help straighten her out, she said.
She’s tried to get the word out to people she knows in similar situations, but they are often reluctant despite being told not to be afraid, Lisa said.
“They don’t realize what’s here for them,” she said. “I’m just thankful for (SHARE).”
Abuse like she suffered can last a lifetime and SHARE is always there to boost her confidence, Lisa said.
That kind of help can empower a person to make it through, she said.
SHARE has a confidential 24-hour crisis line and an emergency shelter for women who need to escape domestic violence, Morse said.
Those who call can be sure that their identities and what they say are kept in confidence, which does not happen with public resources like law enforcement, which is required to keep public records, she said.
It provides individual support and advocacy, as well as support groups in both English and Spanish, Morse said.
SHARE will go to court to support women during legal hearings and trials, and refer them to other agencies which can help them, she said.
There is a child and teenage program for kids in the emergency shelter and SHARE will help people find transitional housing, Morse said.
The newest addition to SHARE is the Safe Haven Project, which offers supervised parenting time and safe exchanges for children, she said.
It began last year and has been “very successful,” Morse said.
It is a family-friendly setting where parents can prepare and share a meal in the kitchen, choose games or toys to play with and have both a secure indoor and outdoor setting, she said.
It is open Monday, Thursday and Friday from 4 to 8 p.m. by appointment only, Morse said.
Supervised parenting time is $10 an hour and a safe exchange costs $5 per exchange, although there is a sliding scale for fees, she said.
Call 970-768-9214 or 970-867-4444 ext. 29 for an application packet.
It takes seven to 10 days for scheduling.