EVE provides help to residents during crisis

* Editor’s Note: This is the next in a series of stories about the member agencies of the United Way Alliance of the Mid-Ohio Valley.

MARIETTA – In 1992, Waterford resident Monica Farnsworth arrived at the EVE Inc. domestic violence shelter in Washington County with broken bones and a great deal of skepticism.

“When you’re a victim of domestic violence and you reach out to family and friends and neighbors that don’t help you, your thought process is EVE is going to be the same thing,” she said.

But during her three-day stay at the shelter, Farnsworth found something she’d been lacking for a long time – safety.

“It was a complete weight lifted,” she said. “When you are fearful (for) your life, one hour of safe haven feels like four days.”

Although she admits she returned to her abuser, largely out of fear for how she would provide for her children, Farnsworth said that three-day stay at the shelter was a turning point, a start down the path that would eventually lead her out of the cycle of abuse.

Today, Farnsworth is a vocal advocate for EVE, which is still providing a safe haven for victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse, with the help of the United Way Alliance of the Mid-Ohio Valley.

EVE has received $2,500 from the United Way this funding cycle to be used for emergency assistance. That covers everything from supplies of food and child care needs to staffing the 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week hotline and the shelter itself, said Esther Carpenter, program supervisor for EVE.

Women, as well as men, can stay at the shelter for 15 to 30 days on an emergency basis, and some programs allow a longer stay, Carpenter said. Each person gets a service coordinator who tries to meet with the individual in the first 24 to 48 hours, after they’ve had time to adjust. That coordinator outlines programs and services available through EVE, which include a legal advocate to help with obtaining a protection order, financial education, counseling, support groups and more.

The organization also provides supplies and items that may seem simple to some but mean a great deal to someone in crisis. Someone coming to the shelter in an emergency may be lacking supplies like shampoo, toothbrushes and baby diapers and formula. EVE can help.

“They offer even the most minute thing that a victim would be concerned about,” Farnsworth said.

Children who come into the shelter with their mother are given a blanket and a stuffed animal.

“It seems small, but it means a lot to mom and the child,” Carpenter said.

The cost of these services is covered by donations and support from groups like the United Way.

“All of the services are at no charge for clients,” Carpenter said.

EVE also offers services to people who are not staying in the shelter, including preparation of an emergency plan to leave an abuser. Carpenter said anyone can call the hotline, at (740) 374-5819, from anywhere. EVE has files for domestic violence shelters and assistance programs in other regions with which they can connect people.

EVE is projected to serve 30 families this year, and they’ve already provided services to 17, some of whom began getting help last year.