If I were you…
Why do you stay? Why don’t you just leave? You’re crazy for staying with him! If I were you, I would just leave! You’re basically asking for it by not leaving him.

By: Kristen Adams, Counselor


As if being in an abusive relationship isn’t hard enough, imagine dealing with stigma from outside of the relationship. From the outside looking in, it seems that leaving an abusive relationship is as easy as it sounds; however, that could not be further from the truth. Over the years, many studies have been conducted on barriers such as economic abuse, inability to access resources and flaws in the justice system, but one major barrier that deserves more attention is the effects of stigmatization. There are multiple reasons why people stay in abusive relationships, but one that most people do not understand is the degree to which people fear stigmatization when disclosing their experiences. Nicole M. Overstreet and Diane M. Quinn (2013) conducted a study on components that deter victims from seeking help. The study revealed 3 prominent barriers that prevent victims from seeking help from formal and informal supports.
Cultural Stigma is a barrier that was found to hinder every stage of the help-seeking process. Cultural stigma stems from society de-legitimizing intimate partner violence. Cultural stigma can be felt from various places in society such as health care providers, employers and friends and family. For example, victims are often made to feel stupid or weak for staying with an abuser despite legitimate reasons victims stay. Other cultural factors consider the role an abuser plays in the community in which they live. There are also those that only perceive abuse as visible bruises or injuries.
Stigma Internalization is a form of self-stigma that prevents many victims from seeking help. One can experience self-stigma from the beliefs that are related to psychological abuse from their partner, as well as guilt and shame for having to stay in an abusive relationship. Emotional and psychological abuse can be found in correlation to self-stigma. Numerous victims have reported feeling worthless and undeserving of a better life after being beat with psychological abuse. Some victims have experienced rejection from their abuser and fear rejection from supports which keeps them from seeking help.
Anticipated Stigma is a form of stigma anyone can experience but can mean much more to a domestic violence victim. Many victims fear job loss when reporting abuse as a reason for missing work and many victims will not be seen for abuse injuries after having been seen multiple times by a practitioner. Many victims do not feel understood by family and friends and chose not to disclose abuse to avoid negative gestures, looks and judgements. Many victims simply feel like they are to blame for the abuse and avoid seeking help altogether.
In addition to the barriers discussed, there are many other barriers that keep victims from seeking help. There are many local agencies that can assist with domestic violence victims. These supports can be found by contacting 1-800-521-7233.

Overstreet, N. M., & Quinn, D. M. (2013). The Intimate Partner Violence Stigmatization Model and Barriers to Help-Seeking. Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 35(1), 109–122. http://doi.org/10.1080/01973533.2012.746599

Success Story

By: Madison Caver, Social Worker

Sarah called S.A.F.E., Inc. hotline seeking shelter for herself and her children. Sarah and her children were living with her boyfriend and experiencing abuse at an increasing rate. Sarah’s boyfriend was verbally and physically abusive. He did not abuse the children, but the children did witness the abuse towards their mother. One night, Sarah decided that she no longer wanted to expose her children to this environment.
After calling S.A.F.E., Inc., Sarah and her children were admitted to the shelter. During their stay, Sally and her children received multiple services that were offered. These services included counseling, court advocacy, and case management. Court advocacy and legal services were provided to assist with protection orders for both the victim and her children. Sarah also attended individual counseling at the shelter. The entire family received case management for housing, food, and hygiene assistance.
With help from S.A.F.E., Inc., Sarah and her children were able to start over with a new and healthy lifestyle. Sarah was able to quickly save money and find housing outside of town. The family received household items from S.A.F.E., Inc.’s warehouse of donated goods. Sarah and her family are now living a safe and productive life together.

Volunteers for the Quarter


It would be impossible for us to serve our clients without our
volunteers."Thank you" to all of those who volunteered.

Katarsha White, Payne Atkinson, Fred Page, June Byars, Glenda Corley, Roberta Davis, Pam Hadley, Joellen Murphree, Christy Baker, Shreka Knight, Deadra Ruffin, Monica Smith, Claire Winters, Melissa Hester, Sylvia Newell, Yolanda Hale, Ruth Ann Reedy, Shermila McKinney, Karastan Gamble, Shelly Johnson, Katina Holland, Kitty Black, Jesse Hawkins, Courtney Yate, Katina Brown

Thank you for your Donation!


The shelter derives its strength and effectiveness from your dedicated support.

Mr. &Mrs. Troy Nance, Women of I AM –Tupelo MS, Mt. Vernon Baptist Church, Women’s Ministry, Lisa Dickson, William Jones, Barber Printing, Relics Antiques, Swift and Easy Car Detail, Moody’s Collision , Cliffs Car Care , Thorn Bird’s Boutique, Johnson Service Center, Tupelo High School Art Students, Shelly Johnson, Katarsha White, Glenda Corley, Joellen Murphee, Laurie Horn Stevenson, The Little Popper, Bishops Flowers, Judith Daniel, The Shepards Hands , Toyota , Women’s Club Of Booneville, KAPPA KAPPA LOTA GAMMA Chapter, Lynn Betrand, FXI