Opening New Doors Foundation Inc. (ONDFI)
A nonprofit (501c3) comprehensive domestic violence organization
We offer transitional housing for women & children fleeing abuse, relocation assistance, trauma counseling for women & children, wraparound case management.
What makes us different?
We are survivors who have used our personal and professional experiences to identify gaps on micro and macro levels. We realize how many people don’t understand the complexity of domestic violence. We follow a client-centered (we will work on what you want to work on), trauma focused (to be sensitive to help you work through pain from your past) counseling approach to make sure that we are helping you to actually achieve YOUR goals!
Can you spare under 6 minutes to learn and understand more about domestic violence with our new PSA found below. Please be aware there is music (no words), so please only press play if it's safe.
We are here for those who need help to flee, those who struggle to avoid homelessness after fleeing, those who are planning to relocate; those in domestic violence shelters; those who struggle from the memories of witnessing a parent being abused or living in a shelter, and those who love someone being abused.
PLEASE CONSIDER A DONATION TO HELP US SUPPORT MORE
WOMEN & CHILDREN IN NEED DURING SUCH CHALLENGING TIMES.
We are a primarily volunteer-run organization. We run mostly thanks to wonderful donors. We try to help our clients when we can, to have emergency funds, supplies, transportation, an overnight stay at a hotel or AirBNB, packages of undergarments, a prepaid phone, and any other miscellaneous financial need.
What is Domestic Violence?
Domestic Violence is a pattern of controlling and dangerous behavior that can include physical, psychological, verbal, and sexual abuse and may be experienced at a victim’s home, place of work, or even in public.
Some forms of abuse can include (any or all):
- Use of profanity
- Unfounded accusations
- Cruel and hurtful remarks
- Degrading the victim in public
- Diminishing accomplishments
- Flying into rages
- Controlling finances or employment
- Lack of trust/Suspicion
- Following or stalking the victim
- Threats of suicide
- Threats of taking away children
- Threats of physical violence
- Threats of murder
- Minimizes or denies behavior, explosive or critical reactions
- Holding the victim down against their will
- Throwing or breaking objects
- Using a weapon
- Forcing unwanted sexual acts
- Use of weapons during sex
- Forced sex involving multiple partners
- Inflicts pain during sex
Economic abuse may involve:
- Preventing a cohabitant from resource acquisition, such as restricting their ability to find employment, maintain or advance their careers, and acquire assets.
- Preventing the victim from obtaining education.
- Spend victim’s money without their consent and creating debt, or completely spend victim’s savings to limit available resources.
- Exploiting economic resources of the victim.
In its extreme (and usual) form, this involves putting the victim on a strict “allowance”, withholding money at will and forcing the victim to beg for the money until the abuser gives the victim some money. It is common for the victim to receive less and less money as the abuse continues. This also includes (but is not limited to) preventing the victim from finishing education or obtaining employment, or intentionally squandering or misusing communal resources.
Economic abuse is often used as a controlling mechanism as part of a larger pattern of domestic abuse, which may include verbal, emotional, physical and sexual abuse. Physical abuse may include threats or attempts to kill the cohabitant. By restricting the victim’s access to economic resources, the offender has limited recourses to exit the abusive or violent relationship.
The following are ways that abusers may use economic abuse with other forms of domestic violence:
- Using physical force, or threat of violence, to get money.
- Providing money for sexual activity.
- Controlling access to a telephone, vehicle or ability to go shopping; other forms of isolation.
- Threatening to evict the cohabitants from the house without financial support.
- Exploiting the victim’s economic disadvantage.
- Destroying or taking resources from the cohabitants.
- Blaming the victim for an inability to manage money; or instigating other forms of economic abuse, such as destruction of property.
There are several ways that abusers may impact a victim’s economic resources. As mentioned earlier, the abuser may prevent the victim from working or make it very difficult to maintain a job. They may likewise impede their ability to obtain an education. Frequent phone calls, surprise visits and other harassing activities interfere with the cohabitant’s work performance. In case of a cohabitant being homosexual, bisexual, transgender, or questioning of their sexuality (LGBTQ), the abuser may threaten to “out them” with their employer.
- 25–50% of victims of abuse from a partner have lost their job due to domestic violence.
- 35–56% of victims of domestic violence are harassed at work by their partners.
Impact of lack of economic resources
By denying the victim access to money, such as forbidding the victim from maintaining a bank account, he or she is totally financially dependent upon the abuser for shelter, food, clothing and other necessities. In some cases the abuser may withhold those necessities, also including medicine and personal hygiene products. They may also greatly limit their ability to leave the abusive situation by refusing to pay court-ordered spousal or child support.
Abusers may also force their victims to obtain credit and then through negligent activities ruin their credit rating and ability to get credit.
Managing economic abuse
There are several ways to manage economic abuse: ensure one has safe access to important personal and financial records, ensure one’s research activities are not traceable and, if they believe that they are going to leave the cohabitation, they should prepare ahead of time.
Role in elder abuse
The elderly are sometimes victims of financial abuse from people within their family:
- Money or property is used without their permission or taken from them.
- Their signature is forged for financial transactions.
- Coerced or influenced into signing over deeds, wills, or power of attorney.
- Deceived into believing that money is exchanged for the promise of lifelong care.
Family members engaged in financial abuse of the elderly may include spouses, children, or grandchildren. They may engage in the activity because they feel justified, for instance, they are taking what they might later inherit or have a sense of “entitlement” due to a negative personal relationship with the older person. Or they may take money or property to prevent other family members from getting the money or for fear that their inheritance may be lost due to cost of treating illnesses. Sometimes, family members take money or property from their elders because of gambling or other financial problems or substance abuse.
If you are considering leaving a relationship
regardless whether it has been physically, emotionally, economically, sexually, spiritually or any other kind of abusive..
and you don't know where to start or what to do..
reach out to us. We are a bilingual clinically trained team that specializes in supporting victims, survivors, children of, or loved ones of women who have been abused, regardless of your situation.
Whether the abuse was 60 years ago or today, we're here to see how we can help you coordinate your next steps
If you are in need of help (despite any other thought you may have) please scroll over the house above
PLEASE READ PRIOR TO CONTACTING US
You can text us right now at (240) 317-7990 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are available most hours day or night, 7 days a week. We are mostly volunteer and not able to respond 24 hours. We would love for you to try us anytime but the best hours are from 7 am-2 am (next morning). <br>
PLEASE NOTE, FOR SAFETY REASONS: if we should not write you back or if it takes too long to respond immediately, please tell us using a symbol (such as a “, . ! ? @ or single letter “a, b ..”) which will let us know not to text you back. We will then wait for you to contact us back.
Personalized Safety Plan
Your safety is the most important thing. Listed below are tips to help keep you safe. The resources in this book can help you to make a safety plan that works best for you. It is important to get help with your safety plan.
Opening New Doors may be able to provide you with a cell phone that is programmed to only call 911. These phones are for when you need to call the police and cannot get to any other phone.
If you are in a relationship that hurts more than you know it should, please think about...
- Having important phone numbers nearby for you and your children. Numbers to have are the police, hotlines, friends, and the local shelter.
- Friends or neighbors you could tell about the abuse. Ask them to call the police if they hear angry or violent noises. If you have children, teach them how to dial 911. Make up a code word that you can use when you need help.
- How to get out of your home safely. Practice ways to get out.
- Safer places in your home where there are exits and no weapons. If you feel physical abuse is going to happen, try to get your abuser to one of these safer places.
- Any weapons in the house. Think about ways that you could get them out of the house.
- Even if you do not plan to leave, think of where you could go. Think of how you might leave. Try doing things that get you out of the house – taking out the trash, walking the pet, or going to the store. Put together a bag of things you use every day (see the checklist below). Hide it where it is easy for you to get.
- Going over your safety plan often. Talk with your children regarding the Safety Plan in place.
If you are considering leaving your abuser, please think about …
- Four places you could go if you leave your home.
- People who might help you if you left. Think about people who will keep a bag for you. Think about people who might lend you money. Make plans for your pets.
- Get a cell phone.
- Opening a bank account or getting a credit card in your name.
- How you might leave. Try doing things that get you out of the house – taking out the trash, walking the family pet, or going to the store. Practice how you would leave.
- How you could take your children with you safely. There are times when taking your children with you may put all of your lives in danger. You need to protect yourself to be able to protect your children.
- Putting together a bag of things you use every day. Hide it where it is easy for you to get.
Items to take, if possible:
- Children (if it is safe)
- Keys to car, house, work
- Extra clothes
- Important papers for you and your children
- Birth certificates
- Social security cards
- School and medical records
- Bankbooks, credit cards
- Driver’s license
- Car registration
- Welfare identification
- Passports, green cards, work permits
- Lease/rental agreement
- Mortgage payment book, unpaid bills
- Insurance papers
- Order of Protection, divorce papers, custody orders
- Address book
- Pictures, jewelry, things that mean a lot to you
- Items for your children (toys, blankets, etc
If you have left your abuser, please think about...
- Your safety – you still need to.
- Getting a cell phone. Opening New Doors may be able to provide you with a cell phone that is programmed to only call 911. These phones are for when you need to call the police and cannot get to any other phone.
- Getting an Order of Protection from the court. Keep a copy with you all the time. Give a copy to the police, people who take care of your children, their schools, and your boss.
- Changing the locks. Consider putting in stronger doors, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, a security system and outside lights.
- Telling friends and neighbors that your abuser no longer lives with you. Ask them to call the police if they see your abuser near your home or children.
- Telling people who take care of your children the names of people who are allowed to pick them up. If you have an Order of Protection protecting your children, give their teachers and babysitters a copy of it.
- Telling someone at work about what has happened. Ask that person to screen your calls. If you have an Order of Protection that includes where you work, consider giving your boss a copy of it and a picture of the abuser. Think about and practice a safety plan for your workplace. This should include going to and from work.
- Not using the same stores or businesses that you did when you were with your abuser.
- Someone that you can call if you feel down. Call that person if you are thinking about going to a support group or workshop.
- Safe way to speak with your abuser if you must.
- Going over your safety plan often.