On January 23rd, 2020, Beth Edge, a domestic violence survivor, spoke of The Family Peace Center, where individuals living with domestic violence can take their children and themselves to a safe place. Edge was joined by the mayor of Rockford, Tom McNamara, his manager Jennifer Cacciapaglia, and U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos at a news conference. This summer, there will be that safe place in their first location in an 11,000-square-foot temporary office at 313 N. Main St. where they will be for two years in downtown Rockford while a permanent location is found. Domestic violence has been one of Rockford’s most prominent crime problems, and this is one step closer to fighting domestic violence. “We want the Family Peace Center to be a space where you are seen and heard, where you are safe and celebrated, where you can breathe.” – Beth Edge.

On average, 20 people per minute experience domestic violence by an intimate partner in the United States. In a year that adds up to more than 10 million men and women. Domestic violence doesn’t always mean physical abuse; it can be mental abuse too. The abuse can stem anywhere from wanting to be in control of someone and their choices or past traumas in their family, none of which is justified. Abuse is a learned behavior for some people, whether it is normalized at home, in social groups, or the culture around them.

“Why don’t you just leave?” is one of the many questions domestic violence victims hear. There is a myriad of reasons why an individual would not want to leave or, in some cases, cannot: fear, embarrassment, lack of money, religious reasons, love, and many more. The part where victims leave is often the most dangerous part of their journey. Abusers want all control, deciding to leave them is taking their power away, and that may not go over well. That is why The Family Peace Center is so vital for our community; it can help someone start over, feel like they have hope, and, most importantly, help them be themselves again. The Family Peace Center will offer legal advice, child care, advocates, and other survivors to help navigate the next step, and law enforcement if needed. The whole center is going to be tailored to the individual coming in, taking into consideration what kind of danger they are in and what they feel most comfortable doing. If they want to talk to the police, they can. If they want to see a counselor, they can. If they want an order of protection, they will have it.

For more statistics: https://www.ncadv.org/statistics
Resouces:https://www.rrstar.com/news/20200123/family-peace-center-coming-to-downtown-rockford
If you or a loved one need help in a domestic violence situation, go to https://www.thehotline.org/is-this-abuse/ and or call The Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233.