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Forbes House is a safe haven for victims of domestic violence

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Posted at 6:00 AM, Aug 05, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-08 16:28:10-04

LAKE COUNTY, Ohio — What happens when the home is not safe because domestic violence is a regular event in the home? Victims need help but don't know who to call nor where to go get it.

There is a safe haven in Lake County that's rebuilding lives that were broken by trauma and abuse.

"I was going through one of the darkest times in my life," said a 29-year-old domestic abuse survivor. "A new mother of a nine-month-old baby."

The woman had only been married a year and a half when her life started falling apart due to intimate partner violence.

She made a call to Forbes House, the only domestic violence shelter in Lake County.

"Our youngest survivor last year was 1 year old. Our oldest was 63," Forbes House Executive Director Kathy Strancar said.

All the services at Forbes House are free of charge.

They provide shelter, legal advocacy, support groups, prevention and outreach and aftercare for clients who move on from the shelter, but the key is to make the call.

"That helpline not only, addresses or has conversations about you know getting help, but also you know a mother whose daughter is in an abusive relationship and giving them advice," Strancar said.

For the 29-year-old, Forbes House gave her hope for a new and better life.

"When you get here, you're met with a lot of support," she said. "I packed up my car with all the belongings I thought I would need because I literally didn't know if I would be able to come back to a marital home. They became a second family."

The woman said the abuse gave her a dark mindset.

Leaving her husband was easier said than done.

"It takes courage and a lot of unknown," she said. "The night this incident happened, how hopeless I felt. And I couldn't help my son and the way my son was crying and I couldn't help him because I was too busy you know, getting abused and yelled at and belittled and disrespected."

Strancar said fighting the misconceptions around intimate partner violence is a struggle.

At Forbes House, there's no discrimination regardless of your race, religion, sexual orientation, gender, or social class.

They welcome victims with open arms and hopeful hearts.

"I left Forbes House feeling empowered, independent, you know, able to do what I should do as a mother. And now I am happily working. My son is thriving. Happy, healthy little boy," the woman said.

In 2021, Forbes House took over 1,500 calls, 648 of them were crisis calls.

They provided 5,000 services to over 500 people and helped 125 survivors.

If you are experiencing intimate partner violence and you live in Lake County, call their helpline at 440-357-1018.