Written by Sandra L. Jackson, MSW, LICSW, LCSW-C, Executive Director
As a trained and licensed social worker, I have learned over many years why every single service at House of Ruth — from therapy to case management to financial lessons — are key to helping the women we serve get back on their feet. In my circles, we call it Trauma-Informed Care, and we’ve been doing it at House of Ruth since our beginning back in 1976.
All too often, though, I hear people — caring people! — say, “well, with housing and childcare, why can’t these women just get it together?” With a roof over their heads, a job, and help for their children — why do women living at House of Ruth need so much more? The answer lies in trauma — what it is, how it affects each woman, and how we can help them thrive beyond it.
When someone experiences a trauma — or many traumas, over the length of a relationship with an abuser, or many months of homelessness — they get beaten down. The physical and mental effects of trauma actually breaks down self-esteem, and make it where victims can’t move forward until they deal with the trauma. The trauma-informed care at House of Ruth is the catalyst that helps the women we serve believe in themselves again.
Surviving domestic violence can break women; it can make them think that this relationship is their only choice — that their abuser, and the control they live under, is their only option. At House of Ruth, we help them with their transformation so they can see the strength they have, and believe in themselves again.
The work we do starts with housing — but, as our slogan says, it really starts with hope. Hope is the missing ingredient in many of the women we serve — and our trauma-informed care helps give that hope back to them.