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A Victim's Community

June 2018 Blog Post

In the early morning hours of October 29th, 2013, six armed men entered the home where my parents and I slept. For two hours, they destroyed our home and abused my family. My mom was shot twice when she tried to run for help, and then sexually assaulted. I was gang raped by 4 men. My dad was beaten with drawers.

It was, beyond a doubt, my worst nightmare. In fact, it was much worse than anything I could’ve concocted in my head (and I have a pretty vivid imagination).

After the home invasion, my mom and I were taken to a nearby hospital. We were almost immediately separated, as my mom needed treatment for her gunshot wounds and multiple scans because she was kicked in the head. I was in my own room in the emergency department, and although people were streaming in and out of the room, I was left alone a few times. In those moments, I started reliving the nightmare we had just been through. I did not want to be alone.

Shortly after I was left for the first time, a detective walked in the door. He said he wanted to ask some questions. He was so professional, so kind, and so attentive. I didn’t say anything to him about not wanting to be left alone, but when he left the room, I overheard him say to a nurse "make sure she isn’t left alone." He knew what I needed and said something. He probably thought that act was minor, but it is a story I tell over and over because it made such an impact on me. Next, a woman from Prevail came to my room. I had never heard of the service, but she said she was there for anything I needed. I asked her to stay with me even though I didn’t feel like talking. She sat quietly in the corner of the room while others streamed in and out, and her presence was so reassuring. Again, a seemingly small act that made a huge difference.

That morning would be the first time I saw how much my community — and often, total strangers — played a role in my healing.

After we left the hospital, the community outreach was stunning. We had foods, cards, flowers, and clothes streaming in from people we had never met. We heard that a local yoga studio was doing a donation-based class in our honor. My dad was given a car from a religious ministry. We were showered with kindness. Throughout every step of the criminal proceedings, from the first questions asked by our detective to the sentencing hearing, my family encountered new people that were so willing to do anything they could to help us.

This, sadly, is not the story many victims get to tell. They are often kept at arm’s length or even ignored. But as a community, we can have such an influence in victims’ lives. It takes so little to make a difference. Every member of our community can play a role in a victims’ healing. It can be as minor as listening to their story and saying "I believe you."

If we all took just a little bit of time to help, every victim could have a community like my family and I did. You may think that you have nothing to offer, or that what you can offer is too small. But every small thing can make a bigger difference than you realize. And if each of us did something, maybe then we could all begin to heal.

Allison Emhardt

Alli is a proud voice for victims in our community and a member of Prevail's Speaker's Bureau 

June Asset 11: Family Boundaries

How Do We Prevent Violence?  By Helping Each Other Thrive!

 

Asset 11: Family Boundaries

 

Clear, Concise, Consistent Boundaries—For All

What happens if you’re late to a business meeting? Run a red light? Fail to pay for your morning coffee? Rules and expectations are important. They help establish the do’s and don’ts for society and help things run smoothly. But rules are not automatically known; they must be created and learned. That’s where parents come in. If young people are not taught early on that there are rules they must follow, they think they can do anything they want at any time. And, while we may like the freedom to make choices, having boundaries to follow—and expectations to live up to—can make life easier for everyone. Family Boundaries is Asset 11 of Search Institute’s 40 Developmental Assets, the qualities, experiences, and relationships that help young people grow up healthy, caring, and responsible.

 

Here are the Facts

Research shows that young people are more likely to engage in positive behaviors and attitudes—and less likely to practice high-risk behaviors—if their families set clear rules and consequences and monitor the young people’s whereabouts. About 46 percent of young people, ages 11–18, have families with clear rules and consequences and parents or guardians who regularly monitor the young people’s whereabouts, according to Search Institute surveys. Working with young people to set boundaries is an important way to show them you care.

 

Tips for Building this Asset

As a family, set clear, concise, and consistent boundaries based on your values and expectations. Make sure everyone—not just the children—is following the same rules, although there may be some differences depending on ages and maturity. Be sure to set up clear consequences for family members who break the rules. Also, make it clear everyone must always let the rest of the family know where he or she is.

 

Also You May Want To Try This:

In your home and family: Meet monthly as a family to discuss boundaries: Are they fair? Do they still work? Do they reflect your values and principles? Adjust them as needed.

In your neighborhood and community: Communicate with your neighbors about rules and boundaries.  Ask for their support. For example, neighbors can remind children to ask a parent’s permission before accepting sweets.

In your school or youth program: Divide students or participants into groups. Have each group discuss family boundaries and consequences. Identify the reason for each rule.

 

Want to know more about the 40 Developmental Assets and ideas for helping young people build them?  Visit www.search-institute.org/assets, www.parentfurther.com, or contact Prevail’s Primary Prevention Specialist at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (317) 773-6942.

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Developmental Assets® are positive factors within young people, families, communities, schools, and other settings that research has found to be important in promoting the healthy development of young people. From Instant Assets: 52 Short and Simple E-Mails for Sharing the Asset Message. Copyright © 2007 by Search Institute®, 877-240-7251; www.search-institute.org. This message may be reproduced for educational, noncommercial uses only (with this copyright line). All rights reserved.

July Asset 12: School Boundaries

How Do We Prevent Violence?  By Helping Each Other Thrive!

 

Asset 12: School Boundaries

 

Make Sure Everyone Knows The Rules

All schools need rules. In fact, young people actually learn better when school boundaries—expectations for how they should act—are clear and consistent. Setting these standards isn’t always easy, however, and neither is enforcing them. Many schools struggle with how to discipline students appropriately and effectively. It’s a balancing act in which school administrators, parents, and students play important roles. Working together, families and educators can ensure young people reach their highest potential. School Boundaries is Asset 12 of Search Institute’s 40 Developmental Assets, the qualities, experiences, and relationships that help young people grow up healthy, caring, and responsible.

 

Here are the Facts

Research shows that young people who attend schools with clear rules and consequences are more likely to display positive behaviors and attitudes, rather than engage in risky behaviors. About 52 percent of young people, ages 11–18, say their schools provide clear rules and consequences, according to Search Institute surveys. Work to ensure schools help young people focus on positive, rather than negative, behavior.

 

Tips for Building this Asset

It’s important for parents to stay involved in their children’s school. Teachers and administrators can help by creating and enforcing a conduct code.. Parents can reinforce the rules set by the school. Conflicts may still occur, and when they do, allow everyone—students, parents, teachers, and others in the community—to feel comfortable voicing their concerns and suggesting solutions to the problem. The more families, schools, and communities work together to establish consistent boundaries, the better off young people will be because they’ll know what to expect.

 

Also You May Want To Try This:

In your home and family: Learn about school boundaries by visiting or volunteering at school. Ask yourself: Overall, how are students behaving? How do adults and students interact with one another? When conflicts occur, how are they resolved? How do the school boundaries match your home boundaries? When you’re with children, talk to them about why school rules are important.

In your school or youth program: Work with the young people in your school or program to create clear rules and norms about appropriate behavior.

 

Want to know more about the 40 Developmental Assets and ideas for helping young people build them?  Visit www.search-institute.org/assets, www.parentfurther.com, or contact Prevail’s Primary Prevention Specialist at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (317) 773-6942.

 

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Developmental Assets® are positive factors within young people, families, communities, schools, and other settings that research has found to be important in promoting the healthy development of young people. From Instant Assets: 52 Short and Simple E-Mails for Sharing the Asset Message. Copyright © 2007 by Search Institute®, 877-240-7251; www.search-institute.org. This message may be reproduced for educational, noncommercial uses only (with this copyright line). All rights reserved.

Justin Growden 100 Men Campaign Committee Member

June 2018 Blog Post

Justin GrowdenI can remember my earliest childhood memories of meeting adults and thinking they knew everything about anything.   I was instantly drawn to them and asked many questions about whatever they were doing at that moment.  It’s the little things that I remember most.  Spending hours in the garage with my dad, tinkering with my first car.  The Scout Master that incessantly encouraged me to earn my rank as an Eagle Scout.  The soccer coach that helped me turn my boundless energy into solid fundamentals.  The incredibly patient teacher that stayed after school with me while I figured out long division. Now, at 37 years old, I look back and realize how crucial those positive interactions were as they influenced my childhood and helped make me who I am today. 

The world can be a harsh place, and I’ve experienced firsthand the difference a solid support system can have when things go wrong.  The 100 Men Campaign strengthens our community, enabling our kids and our neighbors to feel safe, connected, and supported.  100 Men empowers good-hearted men to make a positive impact in their community by serving as strong role models for young people, while also encouraging other men to step up to reduce violence in our community.  This campaign is so powerful because of its ability to shape the future of our community through simple actions so we can all live a better life.

Being a part of 100 Men isn’t hard or complicated.  It means being there for the people around us.  It means doing the right thing, even when we think no one is watching.  It means modeling healthy and respectful relationships.  It means investing our time and talents in the well-being of others.  It means building a strong community that embraces its members, empowers the vulnerable, and helps each other thrive. 

Working to Overcome Financial Abuse

July 2018 Blog Post 

A very common question asked in conversations surrounding domestic violence is “why do they stay?”  This is a valid question with a very complicated answer.  Numerous variables are considered when a survivor is trying to make the decision to leave their home, their relationship, and their established life. Financial stability is at top this list. 99 percent of domestic violence survivors also experience financial abuse. As with all forms of abuse, abusers use finances as a way to gain power and control over their victims.

Financial abuse can affect many aspects of a person’s ability to establish self-sufficiency.  Such abuse can lead to low credit scores, poor employment histories, evictions, illness, and more.  In addition, survivors are often isolated from support networks and resources by their abusers. These factors create an environment extremely vulnerable to homelessness. According to the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV at www.nnedv.org) 63 percent of homeless women have experienced some form of domestic or sexual violence at some point in their lives.

What are some signs of financial Abuse?

  • Your partner controls how all of the money is spent and you are denied access to your accounts.
  • Your partner offers you a minimal allowance for food and daily expenses.
  • Your partner does not allow you to work or sabotages your existing employment.
  • Your partner creates a large amount of debt on joint credit cards
  • Your partner purposely doesn’t pay bills and affects your ability to rent/buy a home or even hurts your credit score.

As complicated and overwhelming as this may sound, there are ways WE can support the members of our community to help them get past these challenging barriers.

  • Create an open environment for conversations with survivors so their needs are heard.
  • Support local organizations that provide empowering tools and support to survivors.
  • Advocate for continued and/or increased funding for affordable housing resources.How can Prevail’s advocates and Self-Sufficiency Program help survivors?
  • Prevail is a free, confidential, and a safe space to talk and get support.
  • Provide connections to resources in the community.
  • Financial, employment, and housing education resources are available.

For more information contact Stephanie Holmes-Gullans, Prevail's Self-Sufficiency Advocate, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (317) 773-6942

Stephanie works with clients to help break down barriers that have historically kept victims from leaving their abuser.

Here are just a few of the things she does here at Prevail:

  • Assists clients with career building by identifying and developing work readiness skills.
  • Works with community partners within the business community for access to employment opportunities.
  • Provides financial education via budgeting, financial goal setting, and all around financial literacy.
  • Workshops include the Financial Fair and Financial Literacy.
  • Offers housing resources and supports clients in planning and searching for housing options.
  • Establishes and maintains relationships with community partners in the housing industry.
  • Facilitates the Boundaries Support Group

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