I have just finished reading Council Member Elizabeth Crowley’s letter (“Domestic violence victims must break the silence”) in the Bayside Times Oct. 17-23 issue. I will give them the answer why victims are no longer calling for help. They are not calling for help because the system to help them is broken.
In fact, Alan Hevesi our former city comptroller did a study of services for victims and called it “The Broken System.” He did it because after I went undercover as a victim and brought him four hours of rejections of services, he did his study in five languages. He then brought it to then-Mayor Giuliani’s attention and some small changes were made.
Amazingly, there also was no help for the abuser. When I called as an abuser, I was asked if I was sent by the court system. When I said no, I was referred to another phone number. I called that number and it was disconnected. I called at 3 a.m., as a senior citizen whose son is threatening me and I’m scared he will kill me. I was referred to a shelter in the Bronx. I told them I live in Bayside and was told to take the A train. I said I was on a walker. The person hung up on me.
I called and was always asked the age and gender of my children. When I said I have sons, I was told women in shelters are fearful of having male children in shelters. Yet, when I called some shelters, men answered and were disturbed that I woke them up at 2 a.m.
I suggest our elected officials stop marching and celebrating “Go Purple” and check out the agencies receiving our tax dollars but not giving the services women need. I called one phone number and their outgoing message was “our office hours are from 9-5.” I received a booklet from the former Borough President Claire Shulman. When I called her office after my four-hour undercover investigation from names and numbers of services in her domestic violence directory, she was not interested. However, she had a domestic violence committee.
Where is the conscience of our elected ones? Alan Hevesi was the only one interested and after hearing the tape of what I went through as a victim, he took it further. He had his staff make calls in five different languages.
Alan, call the elected ones and let them know what’s going on in our city. You were the only elected one who cared. Could it be that those calling for help are poor and mostly people of color? The upper class domestic violence victims fly to Miami to get away and hire lawyers.
Stop the phony marches and start investigating the shoddy services in a broken system for domestic violence victims. Check out the report that Hevesi did, “Domestic Violence: A broken system.”