Women’s Shelter’s hope is security
Mary Jane, also know as MJ, hopes to eventually put herself out of a job.
“I am trying to put myself out of a job basically. I don’t want people to have to live through domestic violence,” MJ said. “It doesn’t just affect the victim and the person that is doing the abusing, it affects the whole family.”
MJ, who was not comfortable, giving out her last name for her own safety, serves as the Women’s Shelter of Rochester’s Rural County Coordinator. She has been with the organization for 22 years, with around 18 of those years spent in Dodge County. She works out of a satellite office in Kasson.
The Women’s Shelter came about in the 1970s originally as a task force made up of three women who were domestic violence survivors. The three women were determined to give other abused women something they didn’t have: a safe and secure place to live while learning how to live independently.
There were just over 400 women and children housed for safety and 3,200 crisis calls taken this year at the Women’s Shelter. MJ estimates that she typically helps around 40 people each quarter in Dodge County.
The organization’s mission is to assist female victims of domestic violence and their children by establishing and maintaining a facility, which will provide temporary shelter to these victims.
MJ says many of the victims she works with in Dodge County choose not to go to the shelter due to lack of convenience. However, she is still able to provide other services and advocacy to those victims. “Logistically they go to Rochester to the shelter, but their day care is in Kasson. So they have to drive all the way back to Kasson, drop their kids off and drive all the way back,” she said.