My story

By Anonymous

I have been fleeing a domestic violence situation for 13 months now.  

I left everything I and my kids owned, including our vehicle.  He threatened to kill us and himself to solve his problems.  I was terrified because he had already assaulted me numerous times and has even served time in prison for these assaults. 

You see at that point I didn’t really care about myself.

We had nowhere to go. Once we left we stayed with a couple of friends then finally the domestic violence shelter. He continued to call and harass me and threaten me. After several other unfortunate encounters with him, I was advised to leave again.

After quite a journey, I am at GreenHouse17 now with one of my children.

I did not like the abuse ever. I was in a constant state of fear and anxiety never knowing what would happen. I did not know where to go or how to get help. 

I was so fortunate to find GreenHouse17. They have helped me and my son get the therapy we both desperately need, as well as food, shelter, and basic needs…

This post is part of our 17 Voices campaign during Domestic Violence Awareness Month. If you or someone you know is being abused, please call our 24-hour crisis hotline: 800-544-2022.

A Mayoral Perspective

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By Mayor Ed Burtner
City of Winchester, Kentucky

In a civilized society we are judged by how we treat the most vulnerable and the least able to protect and defend themselves.

I am concerned about domestic violence because it affects the safety and health of our citizens. The ramifications in the lives of children exposed to domestic violence today compromises the well-being of the next generation in our community. A mile from the Clark County line is an award-winning domestic violence shelter.

GreenHouse17 provides a safe harbor, warm bed and wholesome meal for the most vulnerable at their darkest moments. With the gardens and green space, families are able to re-connect with life, sunshine, flowers and food producing plants. Self- worth is enhanced and self- esteem re-kindled. Mothers and children are afforded a much-needed next chance.

Advocates from this organization stand beside survivors from our city during court proceedings and facilitate support groups at confidential locations in our community. Counseling brings women to the altar of re-birth and renewal. What was broken is mended. What was bruised is healed.

My wife, Carolyn, served for many years on this organization’s Board of Directors. She and I supported the organization when it began to cultivate the land that surrounds its emergency shelter to provide sustenance and stability for survivors. This approach of growing food and opportunity spoke to us, in part, because of the rich agricultural history of our Clark County community. We have witnessed the expansion of the agency’s farming endeavors to include nature-based job-training programs.

GreenHouse17 is a beacon for the battered and bruised. It is a safe haven for those in need of protection and a loving touch. Godspeed to those that serve and are served.

This post is part of our 17 Voices campaign during Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Workplace Response

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By Liz Davenport
Community Engagement Specialist & Realtor

I remember my first week at GreenHouse17. A wash of guilt come over me as my eyes were opened to the world of domestic violence.

We  go in to our jobs each day with our own set of stresses and worries. Sometimes we go through a whole day pressing so hard to achieve all that we can, some things go unnoticed.

Maybe it is a birthday we miss.  Or an employee anniversary hire date.  Or that the coffee pot is making that noise again and the copier ran out of toner. We can also miss big things, too. Things that might be subtle and quiet but need our attention. A bruise. A car that has been “taken” by a spouse. Financial struggles…

Intimate partner abuse is happening to people in just about every workplace around the world. The Department of Labor reports that victims of domestic violence lose nearly 8 million days of paid work per year in the U.S., resulting in a $1.8 billion loss in productivity for employers. Not to mention the fear and anxiety and physical injuries that effect them as employees, co-workers and friends.

This means you and I have probably worked alongside someone experiencing this crisis, and we may not have noticed.

I have worked as the Community Engagement Specialist with GreenHouse17 for two years now. Admittedly, I was not aware of the signs of domestic violence in my other jobs previously. Not at all. And it is not because I do not care for others or that my employers were callus.

It is because we simply did not talk about it.

Domestic violence can be a taboo subject. Work and home not mixing is a common thought. However, we spend a large amount of time with our fellow employees and employers. Being a Realtor, I also have close relationships with my clients as most of us do with those we interact with on a daily basis. So as business people and friends, we need to be a safe place to reach for help.

  • Communicate your concerns for the employee’s safety. It’s important to ask what changes could be made to make him or her feel safer.
  • Tell the employee that you believe him or her. Listening, listening, listening, is really important.
  • Refer the employee to a local domestic violence support agency with trained staff. You can call the crisis hotline, too, to ask for help with supporting an employee.
  • Be clear that your role is to try to help and not to judge. Don’t belittle or criticize the reasons a victim stays or returns to the abuser.
I am proud to say that my real estate brokerage is now doing in-services on ways for us to spot abuse or be a steward of employee’s safety. It is a such a small way to make a huge impact on our community. We can all do our part to be aware and become a business world that strives to end abuse and care for those who are being abused.

We’re all more than co-workers, employees and clients. We’re friends. And our friends may need our help.

lizThis post is part of our 17 Voices campaign during Domestic Violence Awareness Month.  Liz Davenport is our Community Engagement Specialist and a Realtor with Weichert Realtors -Towne and Country.  Send her a note if you’d like to talk about ways your workplace can support survivors. 

The Pet Connection

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By Susan Malcomb
Lexington Humane Society

The Lexington Humane Society (LHS) is proud to partner with GreenHouse17 to ensure victims of domestic violence are never deterred from exiting a violent situation for fear of their pets’ health and well-being.

Expanding upon our mission to prevent animal cruelty and encourage life-long pet ownership, LHS assists with emergency pet boarding, which may include spay/neuter surgery, vaccinations, and other wellness care, at no cost for survivors of intimate partner abuse.

Studies show a victim of abuse will often not leave a dangerous situation if a pet must be left behind.

To encourage individuals to seek help from the compassionate team at GreenHouse17, LHS is here to provide the same level of care and support to survivors’ pets. In doing so, the survivors are provided peace of mind, knowing the well-being of their pets is a priority, thus assisting survivors in their healing journeys.

This post is part of our 17 Voices campaign during Domestic Violence Awareness Month.  Pets are such an important part of our days at the emergency shelter. Our SAF-T Kennels provide safety for pets of survivors who are living with us, and the cats and horses who live on our property give and get lots of love every day.  

And we can’t forget Lexington’s Blue Montana, the first dog to receive an order of protection after helping his human stay safe during domestic violence: 



Economic Justice

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By Scott Keith, Americorps VISTA
Kentucky Coalition Against Domestic Violence

It’s essential that  survivors can take shelter from dangerous situations. But if survivors enter shelter with only the clothes on their backs, how can they exit into the world with the assets needed to stay self-sufficient after abuse?

The Kentucky Coalition Against Domestic Violence’s (KCADV) Economic Empowerment Project attempts to answer that question.

More than 2,100 survivors annually receive economic empowerment services through the program. Services include no-interest micro loans, free tax-preparation services, financial education, and credit counseling, and two kinds of Individual Development Accounts (IDAs). IDAs are matched savings accounts that can be used to buy a car, a home, to pay for a post-secondary education, or to start a small business.

Since 2004, IDA participants have made over 580 asset purchases, totaling over $2 million.

The Economic Empowerment project allows survivors such as Parthenia Ferguson to create a new life. Parthenia’s abuser didn’t allow her to have money. In shelter, she learned how to budget. Through savings and her tax refund, she was able to buy a house. Now she has a job with benefits, including a 401k.


  Parthenia and her children at their new home!

For many survivors, leaving isn’t an option because of personal finances and their concerns about their children’s futures. When survivors are economically empowered, they can live on their terms and plan for their futures.

This post is part of our 17 Voices campaign during Domestic Violence Awareness MonthStudies estimate that as many as 99% of domestic violence survivors experienced economic abuse. Examples of economic abuse include demanding a partner quits a job; applying for credit cards, obtaining loans, or opening accounts in a partner’s name without their consent; and controlling when or how a partner can access or use cash, bank accounts, and credit cards. Follow this link for a fact sheet published by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence about economic abuse. 

    Right Now Wish List

    Twin-size bed sets
    Pillows and cases

    On the farm
    Hand tools
    Buckets and baskets