This weekend Westchester received two shocking reminders that domestic violence truly happens everywhere.
An incident in Sleepy Hollow left an unidentified mother of two in the hospital in critical condition. Christopher Howson, who has been charged with first degree strangulation and second degree attempted murder, is scheduled to return to village court next week. Until then, he is being held at Westchester County Jail.
One Westchester agency is dedicated to supporting domestic violence survivors and spreading awareness.
Hope’s Door, formerly the Northen Westchester Shelter, is a local organization dedicated to supporting survivors of domestic abuse and sheltering them when necessary. The non-profit has three centers – in Ossining, Pleasantville and White Plains – as well as one confidential fourth location which serves as a safe haven.
A fact from their website: "One in four women in the U.S. will be abused by a partner they love and trust."
Hope's Door Executive Director CarlLa Horton couldn’t speak to the specifics of the case. "We would never comment on a case before the adjudication process. And we never confirm or deny knowledge of a victim; it’s all about confidentiality,” she stated. However, she was eager to offer some information and assistance.
“Women face serious safety concerns in their home everyday,” Horton said. “Our hotline is available 24-7 for someone who wants to reach out for help, or knows someone who needs help.”
The 24-7 Hotline is 888-438-8700. In addition to the hotline, Hope’s Door offers:
- A 16-bed shelter residence
- Safety planning
- Counseling for women, men, teens and children
- Support groups for women, teens and children
- Legal referrals
- Teen dating abuse prevention
- Community education
“Our motto is: Home is the place where you should feel safe and protected; Hope’s Door is who you call if you’re not," Horton said.
Horton also wanted to spread the word on an upcoming event which will raise money to benefit Hope’s Door for the second year in a row.
In honor of V-Day, the global activist movement to end violence against women and girls, the Purple Crayon in Hastings, which last year held a performance of The Vagina Monologues to benefit Hope’s Door, this year will be holding a DANCE YOUR A** OFF Party on Saturday, Feb 9.
The party starts in Hastings at 8 p.m. with a DJ, light fare, beer/wine, auctions and a raffle. There will be a premium ticket which will include an exclusive pre-party with special guests.
Then the festivities continue on Feb 14 when the dancing takes to the streets of Tarrytown. A "V-Day dance rising" will move through the middle of Tarrytown (location TBD) in the late afternoon followed by a gathering at the Set Back Inn to join together to celebrate. The idea is to "RISE UP and DANCE to end the violence against women and girls," co-producer Elyssa Feldman-Most said.
“After a successful V-Day benefit performance of The Vagina Monolgues last April, there was never any doubt in my mind that we would join this very important revolution," Feldman-Most said. "We are rising because to not is NOT an option, while our sisters, mothers, daughters and girl friends, in every corner of the world, of every class, religion and color are being devalued. One billion people dancing on the same day across the globe cannot be ignored."
Horton said Hope's Door is honored to have the help. “We are honored to be selected as the beneficiary of Hudson River Rising and encourage everyone in the community to take a public stand against the abuse of women and girls."
Hope’s Door, assisted 765 victims of domestic violence in the last year and educated 10,130 teens about how to help themselves or a friend confronting dating abuse. More information about the local events can be found at HudsonRiverRising.com or on Facebook at facebook.com/HudsonRiverRising. Tickets to the Feb. 9 dance party start at $75 can can be purchased at HudsonRiverRising.Eventbrite.com.