Supporting Victims of Domestic Violence – Daryl Stephens, ’14, Psychology

Daryl_Stephens_PicThis semester I am working as an undergraduate intern at the Exchange Club Family Center (EC) on Union Avenue, as part of the Psychology Practicum. The Exchange Club provides services for women and children victims of domestic violence, as well as anger management, life skills, and parenting classes. This past week my supervisor called me and asked me to join her on a special errand. A woman had been the victim of a nearly fatal domestic assault, and she and her child had to flee from their home and seek police protection. She was being housed at an undisclosed location while police officers looked for the offender, and because she was unable to leave, she was unable to get food for herself and her child.

Many of our domestic violence referrals come from the Family Safety Center, which is located not too far from the Exchange Club and is currently under the direction of Melissa Farrar, a licensed clinical social worker at EC. My supervisor was asked to go collect groceries for this woman because she was unable to do so, and I was fortunate enough to ride along with her and see how this process worked. We were sent by Melissa to a food bank-style setup housed in a church in Frayser. We presented a letter explaining our needs for the victim, and within twenty minutes we were given bags full of fresh produce and meats, canned foods, and other dry goods. We were told that their food was mostly provided by the Mid-South Food Bank, but they were also given free goods by local shop owners who could not sell them.

I was unable to help my supervisor deliver the groceries to the victim, but it was truly amazing to see that in a city so plagued by domestic violence against women and children we are still able to provide these types of services for the families. Although Memphis only has one women’s shelter for victims of violence and abuse, it was refreshing to see that other organizations throughout the city are willing to provide for these victims and help improve their lives in any small but meaningful way.