Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

The Spring shelter gives domestic violence victims reasons to hope

Lisa Brock, chairwoman of the Spring, shared how more than 200 volunteers at the Hillsborough County domestic abuse shelter recently created a playground out of a mountain of dirt.

As Brock told the story at the Spring's annual Mabel H. Bexley Gift of Peace Breakfast on Thursday, I fixated on the word mountain. The old Marvin Gaye-Tammi Terrell song Ain't No Mountain High Enough popped into my head.

Ain't no mountain high enough

Ain't no valley low enough

Ain't no river wide enough

My mind just works like that sometimes.

And when it comes to domestic abuse, the challenges can seem like a mountain.

The breakfast audience of more than 500 people saw 16 empty chairs on the stage at the Tampa Convention Center, each representing a domestic violence homicide victim in Hillsborough County since the last breakfast.

From 2008 to 2009, the number of domestic violence killings more than quadrupled in Hillsborough County, and the 10 deaths this year exceeds that number.

Across the state, demand for domestic abuse shelter services has increased 37 percent. At the same time, the shelters faced a $3.8 million budget shortfall going into this year's legislative session.

Why? Well, $25 of every marriage license fee (and every dissolution) goes toward funding domestic abuse shelters. It's a law that two of the breakfast honorees, former legislators Betty Castor and Helen Gordon Davis, helped bring about in 1978.

But last year, the number of marriages in the state decreased by 30 percent — likely because of the economy.

"I guess what we have to do is encourage more people who are living together to get married," Davis said in one of the event's lighter moments.

Tiffany Carr, president of the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence, said if the shortfall had stood, four of the state's 42 shelters would have closed and the others would have had to reduce beds and other life-saving services.

However, state Rep. Denise Grimsley, R-Lake Placid, successfully fought to have the Legislature cover the shortfall.

"As a former emergency room nurse, I've seen the devastation of domestic violence in the form of broken bones and broken spirits," Grimsley told the group.

It's a good thing Grimsley has been appointed House appropriations chairwoman, because the shelters may face another shortfall in 2011.

Against this somber backdrop, you search for hope. You find it in the stories of survivors like Cenith, who told the audience how she escaped an abusive relationship for herself and for her four children.

While we all ache for every victim, we exact joy from the survivors who escaped the darkness and torment. Luckily, the Spring was there to answer Cenith's call.

If you're ever in trouble

I'll be there on the double

Just send for me

You know, Tammi Terrell was a domestic violence victim more than once before dying at age 24 from a malignant tumor in 1970. Now, all these years later, abuse victims are still in trouble, and we need to be there on the double.

Just like the folks who built that playground, we have to realize there ain't no mountain high enough.

That's all I'm saying.

The Spring shelter gives domestic violence victims reasons to hope 09/30/10 [Last modified: Thursday, September 30, 2010 11:05pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. All-eyes photo gallery: Florida State Seminoles loss to the N.C. State Wolfpack

    News

    View a gallery of images from the Florida State Seminoles 27-21 loss to the N.C. State Wolfpack Saturday in Tallahassee. The Seminoles will face Wake Forest on Saturday, Sept. 30 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

    Florida State Seminoles fans sing the fight song during the Florida State Seminoles game against the North Carolina State Wolfpack on September 23, 2017, at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, Fla.  At the half, North Carolina State Wolfpack 17, Florida State Seminoles 10.
  2. Encounters: Trial by storm for a rookie principal

    K12

    DUNEDIN — When he nodded off to sleep, the hallway lights outside Michael Vasallo's office were on, so the sudden darkness woke him.

    The glow of his desk phone dimmed.

    Michael Vasallo, right, the first-year principal at Dunedin Highland Middle School, talks with the school's head plant operator Clint Case near the back-up generator on campus. The generator failed just as Hurricane Irma passed through Pinellas County, making for a stressful night. The experience made Vasallo long to return to his regular job, educating middle schoolers. [COLEEN WRIGHT   |   Times]


  3. Who is in charge during a hurricane? Hillsborough County and Tampa still can't agree

    Hurricanes

    TAMPA — Who has the authority to order an evacuation during a hurricane?

    Mayor Bob Buckhorn says he has evacuation authority.
  4. Gators rally past Kentucky, streak hits 31

    Blogs

    LEXINGTON, Ky. — For the second week in a row, Florida found itself storming the field in a game that came down to the last second. A 57-yard field-goal attempt by Kentucky kicker Austin MacGinnis came just a few feet short of making history and snapping a 30-year losing streak, as the No. 20 Gators escaped a …

    Florida wide receiver Brandon Powell (4) scores a touchdown during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Kentucky, Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017, in Lexington, Ky.
  5. Pen makes it way too interesting as Rays hang on for 9-6 win

    Blogs

    A couple of home runs provided the news pegs of the night for the Rays, but it was more topical to talk about what nearly happened as they hung on for a 9-6 win over the Orioles.

    Lucas Duda's three-run homer in the third inning was the Rays' record-breaking 217th of the season, as well as his …

    Lucas Duda's three-run homer in the third inning was the Rays' record-breaking 217th of the season.