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Purple Door seeing fewer people reach out for help during COVID-19 pandemic

Purple Door seeing fewer people reach out for help during COVID-19 pandemic
Posted at 7:12 PM, Dec 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-03 20:12:22-05

Domestic violence is too common of a problem in the Coastal Bend. Some recent murders have highlighted the issue.

Purple Door is a non-profit group that provides information and resources to victims of domestic abuse. In 2019, Purple Door assisted 2,185 men, women, and children. Through the end of October, the non-profit assisted 1,589 people, which is down from 1,904 in the same time period in 2019.

Jocelyn Jordan was in an abusive relationship in Oklahoma City in 2018. Originally from Corpus Christi, she left the relationship and returned home.

“About two days after I had my daughter, had a cesarean, he picked me up and threw my into the wall, and that was it. I knew then it wasn’t going to get better than that,” she said about her situation. “It hasn’t been easy, it was a struggle here. A lot of them were here to help me, and they just didn’t give up.”

Jordan said when she returned home, she could not provide for her two children. Purple Door helped her by providing her shelter before she found an apartment.

“I thought I was going to come back home and be okay, but again I have this safe haven, because I didn’t know what I was going to do,” Jordan said.

Francis Wilson, the President and CEO of Purple Door, said the COVID-19 pandemic is adding stress to relationships, which creates more volatile situations.

“Domestic violence happens even in the best of situations. If you start adding stresses on, like the loss of a job, illness, being at home all the time with each other, it can take that situation and make it even worse,” she said.

However, Wilson believes the pandemic is also the reason they haven’t had as many people reach out for help in 2020.

“I think people are afraid they’re going to catch something, so they’re very afraid to stay in a shelter with other people. Financially, it’s been really rough on people, so I think to thought of leaving has been difficult on people, because they’d rather stay in a place they know, with a roof over their heads,” she said.

Wilson said the approaching holiday season also adds stress to relationships.

“Maybe there’s not enough money for gifts, you’re at home together, or you’re having parties, and then people drink,” she said, adding that sometimes people won’t reach out during the holiday season. “I think that’s because people are trying to hold it together for the holidays. You know, you want that perfect holiday with your family, and you want them to be together.”

Jordan still relies on help from Purple Door. She spent her first Thanksgiving back in town living at the shelter. This year, she received a turkey from them. She said the holidays can be tough for people who have been in her situation if they don’t have a resource like Purple Door.

“For other people that don’t have that help, or don’t have those resources, of course it could. Not enough food to eat, all of those things, or gifts for your kids. Without those services, it would definitely be hard,” she said.

For people involved in abusive relationships, Purple Door is available for help 24/7 by calling 361-881-8888.

Wilson and Jordan both urge people to keep their eye out for abusive relationships, and to take action to help their loved ones out of the situation if they see it.

“I think family is very important. If you have a family member, and you know they’re going through this ,even if they say they’re okay, even if they lie to you a million times and say they’re fine, try your best to try to step in for them, because sometimes they just don’t have a voice of their own. They’re not crazy, they’re not stupid, they’re not dumb, I heard all those things, ‘oh you’re crazy for staying with him,’ you’re not directly in their shoes. You can sympathize, but you’re not directly in their shoes, so just look out for them,” Jordan said.

“The reality is, people are being abused every day in our community, I mean every day, and there are a lot of people who probably narrowly escape death every day, and we just don’t know it. So, I would like the community to think about the prevention of domestic violence, and how we all play a role in that,” Wilson said.