Haven House clinical director Dale Klein-Kennedy, left, holds a large purple sheet steady so the domestic violence shelter’s legal advocate, Patty Randolph can make a cut. A couple dozen of Haven House staffers and supporters were “Purpling the Poles” on Saturday. Photo by Gary Herron.

Maybe you saw them out there Saturday.

Dozens of Haven House staffers and volunteers were out on NM 528, between Westside Boulevard and Rockaway Boulevard, tying purple ribbons on about 150 light poles.

These purple ribbons signify that Haven House — Sandoval County’s only domestic violence shelter — stands against domestic violence; the color purple is a symbol of peace, courage, survival, honor and dedication to ending violence.

Haven House’s mission statement is to … “help domestic violence victims gain immediate safety plus knowledge, skills and resources to succeed in lives free of violence.”

Haven House’s ability to serve and support its clients has been possible with support from the community and funders.

The purpose of this annual campaign is to remind everyone that ending domestic violence starts with just one small action: seeking help or sharing resources. And there are plenty of the latter available for victims at Haven House, including counseling, financial advice, outside group case management, legal advocates and individual counseling for independent children.

“One of our future goals is to be more involved with the school system,” Estella Weitz, the new executive director of the shelter said, knowing teens have relationship problems, too.

“We have a lot of supporters,” she said.

One source of support, the Mayor’s Picnic, was scrubbed this year because of the pandemic. Haven House will have the Transforming Lives virtual event, which will include an online auction benefiting the shelter.

That’s just one way Haven House was forced to make immediate adjustments in how it was serving its clients, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In April, Haven House began sheltering its clients in hotels, but due to various barriers, such as limited face-to-face interaction and clients having limited access to technology, it became challenging for clients to access needed services to the full extent. Despite these challenges, Haven House continued to work with clients over the phone and provide the option to access groups and counseling support remotely.

Some of the challenges faced included gathering and delivering supplies to clients. The Feeding Families Fund made it possible for Haven House to collaborate with community restaurants to have meals delivered daily.

Recently, the Haven House team met to re-evaluate how to best serve its clients — and decided that bringing clients back into the shelter was necessary, so a few revisions were made to the bed areas. Now, there’s only one victim/family per room, rather than the two sharing of the past.

Times have changed, Haven House staff members participating in a recent interview, agreed, but not domestic violence and the need to remind everyone about it – and to prevent it whenever possible.

Weitz said “seven of 13 times, (the victims) go back to the relationship. (But) we’re non-judgmental — we understand the cycle of violence.”

“It’s all about power and control,” noted Dale Klein-Kennedy, the shelter’s clinical director. “I grew up experiencing domestic violence, before there was a word (for it). It was a family issue and (other people, including the children) didn’t get involved.”

“When you grow up with it, you think it’s normal,” Weitz recalled of her thoughts decades ago.

She also told about a cousin, dating an older man who, after the relationship was supposed to end, began stalking her, ultimately killing her in a vicious knife attack, with more than 20 stab wounds.

Women aren’t the only ones who are victims of domestic abuse, Weitz noted.

“Thirteen percent of men will experience domestic violence — their abuser cultivates the dependence of their victim,” said Patty Randolph, Haven House’s legal advocate.

“(Haven House) is a safe place — that’s what it’s supposed to be,” Weitz added. “It’s hard work, but it’s rewarding.”

Rewarding, added Klein-Kennedy, “when you see children leave here to (go to) a safe home.”

Haven House (havenhouseinc.org) is ready 24/7 to take calls at 896-4869. The 24-hour helpline number is 800-526-7157.

What does abuse include?

Abuse may begin with behaviors that may easily be dismissed or downplayed such as name-calling, threats, possessiveness or distrust.

Abusers may apologize profusely for their actions or try to convince the person they are abusing that they do these things out of love or care. Violence and control always intensifies over time with an abuser, despite the apologies.

What may start out as something that was first believed to be harmless (e.g., wanting the victim to spend all their time only with them because they love them so much) escalates into extreme control and abuse (e.g., threatening to kill or hurt the victim or others if they speak to family, friends, etc.).

Examples of abusive tendencies, as per ncadv.org, include but are not limited to:

  • Telling the victim that they can never do anything right.
  • Showing jealousy of the victim’s family and friends and time spent away.
  • Accusing the victim of cheating.
  • Keeping or discouraging the victim from seeing friends or family members.
  • Embarrassing or shaming the victim with put-downs.
  • Controlling every penny spent in the household.
  • Taking the victim’s money or refusing to give them money for expenses.
  • Looking at or acting in ways that scare the person they are abusing.
  • Controlling who the victim sees, where they go or what they do.
  • Dictating how the victim dresses, wears their hair, etc.
  • Stalking the victim or monitoring their victim’s every move (in person or via the internet and/or other devices such as GPS tracking or the victim’s phone).
  • Preventing the victim from making their own decisions.
  • Telling the victim that they are a bad parent or threatening to hurt, kill or take away their children.
  • Threatening to hurt or kill the victim’s friends, loved ones or pets.
  • Intimidating the victim with guns, knives or other weapons.
  • Pressuring the victim to have sex when they don’t want to or to do things sexually they are not comfortable with.
  • Forcing sex with others.
  • Refusing to use protection when having sex or sabotaging birth control.
  • Pressuring or forcing the victim to use drugs or alcohol.
  • Preventing the victim from working or attending school, harassing the victim at either or keeping their victim up all night so they perform badly at their job or in school
  • Destroying the victim’s property.