New nonprofit aims to help domestic violence survivors and their children

By Helen L. Mitternight

In South Carolina, a woman dies from domestic violence every 12 days, but many abused women and their children have nowhere to go.

A new nonprofit hopes to change that, by offering transitional housing and services to survivors of domestic violence, said Mackie Moore, executive director of the newly-formed THRIVE SC.

“More than 380 survivors were turned away from shelters around the state between 2012 and 2013 because the shelters had no room,” Moore said. “There is such a large need for these women and their children.”

THRIVE SC is in the process of finding and opening housing for these survivors. The location will provide multiple levels of shelter and transitional housing (emergency, short-term and up to one year, depending on individual needs) for women and children in the tri-county area.

Children who are exposed to domestic violence are more likely to experience a host of emotional and physical problems.

Kids can be traumatized not just by experiencing violence firsthand, but also by hearing threats or seeing violence against caregivers, according to the National Child Traumatic Stress Network. The organization says that domestic violence can have long-term effects on children, such as physical health problems, acting out in adolescence, and emotional issues such as depression or anxiety disorders even into adulthood. Every child reacts differently, but short-term effects of domestic violence can include anxiety, sleeplessness or trouble concentrating, as well as aggression or intense worry about being separated from a parent.

As part of its mission, THRIVE SC hopes to help heal kids and adults who have witnessed or been victims of abusive relationships.

“It’s important to offer a safe place, but it’s also important to provide therapy for both the adults and the children, as well as 12-step programs for the adults who have coped by using drugs and alcohol, and child care so the adults can take care of themselves,” Moore said.

THRIVE SC also will offer a 24-hour crisis line, a legal advocacy program and an outreach program for community awareness.

“Once survivors are physically safe, we have to give them the tools they need to succeed after they leave THRIVE SC,” Moore said. “We’re going to provide them with education on financial management and how to make it on their own, including image consulting and interview skills. For many of these women, this will be the first time they have been able to be in control of their own lives.”

THRIVE SC will support itself through donations and eventually through a resale shop that will not only help the nonprofit, but will hire domestic violence survivors in order to give them employable skills.

“Not only will THRIVE SC give Charleston’s children a safe place, but we are going to help their mothers become role models of independence and self-care,” Moore said.

To learn more, or to donate to THRIVE SC, visit thrivesc.life