The direct cause of homelessness for roughly 25% of women who come to Sarah’s Circle is domestic violence. Domestic violence is one of the most underreported crimes worldwide. This is because victims fear escalation, bodily harm, or death inflicted by the perpetrator.
Often, in cases of domestic violence, the violence seems more subtle, almost as if it isn’t violence. This kind of domestic violence is often referred to as coercive control, which is a criminal offense in many countries. Here is a list of examples of coercive control.
Coercive control is difficult to prove, because it often lacks physical evidence, and therefore is not a criminal offense in the US. Additionally, a form of coercive control is a method by which perpetrators can manipulate victims into questioning their perception of reality – gaslighting. Coercive control, while non-violent to start, most often escalates to physical violence.
With the onset and throughout the duration of the pandemic, domestic violence cases have skyrocketed and yet the majority go unreported. Many victims will remain in abusive relationships to avoid homelessness, because their partner has taken so much control of their life that they lack autonomy or access to resources.
At Sarah’s Circle, we make sure women have access to every resource they could need for a fresh start. We believe women should have independence, security, and happiness; all of which can begin in a home of her own.