Listening is Key

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It can be difficult for someone to understand why a victim would stay in a relationship that has become abusive. Domestic violence victims often feel shame and blame when the relationship becomes abusive because in reality, domestic violence is not a single episode and rarely does the abuse begin with physical violence. Abuse is much subtler and slower to escalate, usually beginning with verbal attacks, isolation and controlling behaviors.

It is ...

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What Were you Wearing?

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The next time you are tempted to ask what someone was wearing when they were raped, instead ask whether or not consent was given.

To assist in the visualization of this message, Hands of Hope has partnered with 11 different organizations for this critical campaign.

Nationally, April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and locally, Hands of Hope wants people to realize the importance of consent in relationships.

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Celebrating International Women’s Day

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Many women have made huge strides in achieving gender equality and overcoming barriers when it comes to violence against women.

Today, March 8, marks International Women’s Day, a global holiday celebrated annually to commemorate the achievements of women all over the world.

As part of this important day, we celebrate and focus on the achievements of women, past and present, who have made an impact on violence against women. Domestic violence is a very gendered health issue. On a global scale, about ...

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When You Know Better, You Do Better

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A signature statement throughout all of Family Service Society is “when you know better, you do better.”  This is how we challenge ourselves to always be learning and improving.  Our continuous improvement path leads us to seek the best possible solutions for clients including those from Hands of Hope who are domestic violence, stalking and sexual assault victims and survivors.  Five years ago we set out to learn more about how to better serve this population as we could see ...

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Settling

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I’m super strong willed—have been since birth and my mom has the stories to prove it.  As a three year old, I remember my lily white Easter dress with the wide yellow ribbon tied at the waist, my white tights and my white patent leather Mary Jane shoes.  I also remember my mother telling me, in no uncertain terms, to stay out of the creek.  I’m sure my eyes twinkled as I immediately headed for the creek to catch frogs ...

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Celebrate Father Figures

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Like the country song “My Boy” by Elvie Shane, says, whether or not a child is yours biologically, you can make a significant impact if you have been placed in that child’s life.

The song talks about how he doesn’t have his smile or his eyes, but that’s ok, he intends to be at that child’s sporting events and other important milestones.

As we celebrate Father’s Day this month, let’s remember to thank those who may not be biologically ...

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Black and Blue on the Inside

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It can be easy to dismiss abuse when it is not physical. Yet, in the work that I do, I know that emotional and verbal abuse can be far more destructive than the physical hit that leaves a bruise or breaks a bone.

While that may be hard for someone who has never faced domestic violence to understand, if you listen to a survivor, most will say, it was the sabotage of their self-esteem and self-worth that left the deepest scars.

As ...

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The Good Stuff

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My in-laws were visiting from Nebraska over the weekend and while catching up on all the family news, my mother-in-law, Pat, told me a story worth repeating.

My husband and his family are from a small (pop. 1000) rural farming community in Northeast Nebraska.  Pat is a hairdresser and my father-in-law, Gary, drives trucks for farmers.  The smallest of towns have the most amazing way of taking care of their neighbors and Randolph is no exception.  There’s a retirement aged gentlemen, ...

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Know your Worth

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Know your worth. A simple statement that has powerful implications, especially for teens navigating relationships.

All deserve to have these basic components in all relationships: respect, equality, honesty, trust, communication, boundaries and consent. If one of these are missing, more than likely you are not in a healthy relationship and your worth is not being valued.

February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, a time to really focus on teaching and modeling respectful behaviors in relationships so as teens begin dating they ...

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Elevate Your Rituals for Better Mental Health

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The first skiff of snow is on the ground and greedy birds are vying for position at the bird feeders outside my window.  The morning coffee ritual has begun and the smell wafts through the air signaling morning has arrived even if the sun isn’t quite ready to make herself known.  My youngest has overslept for school and is scrambling to consume a bowl of cereal and find the perfect sweatshirt, her hair in a messy bun that looks effortlessly ...

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