Women forced to leave their homes on a moment’s notice due to domestic violence or sexual assault will now be able to make themselves a little more presentable thanks to cosmetics that were donated Tuesday to the Alternatives To Violence Center in Hillsboro.
“A lot of times when a woman comes to the center from home they come with nothing but the clothes are their back,” Barb Shoemaker, a court and family advocate for the center, said. “It’s going to be nice to make them feel a little better about themselves. It’s nice to have little shops like this supporting us, too.”
Rachelle Trefz, owner of Merle Norman Cosmetics in Hillsboro, said she donated cosmetics with a retail value of about $3,000 to the center.
Trefz said the company had a packaging change, that she needed to get items in the old packaging off her store shelves, and she didn’t want to just throw them away. But she also said that Shoemaker had stopped by her store recently looking for a fundraiser donation.
“I got to thinking after she left that maybe they’d be a good organization to donate the stuff to,” Trefz said. “Since the community is so good to me, I like to give back to the community whenever possible. And I like being involved in things that help people in the community.”
The Alternatives To Violence Center, which also has an office in Wilmington, is a domestic violence and sexual assault agency, according to Shoemaker.
She said the agency has a 24-hour crisis line that woman can call in the event of a domestic violence or sexual assault emergency. The number is 888-816-1146.
“We will meet them at a hospital, a police station, or anywhere,” Shoemaker said.
Other than the crisis line, Shoemaker said the center has advocates like herself that visit the court each Monday morning, and other times through the week, to see if there will be any domestic violence or sexual assault victims appearing in court. If there are, the advocates check with the victims to see what they need and what they would like to happen in court. Shoemaker said the advocates relay that information to the judge so the judge knows what to expect.
There will usually be three to four victims in court on Mondays, Shoemaker said. She said exact numbers of how many victims the Alternatives To Violence Center serves each year were not immediately available, but she added, “There’s just so many of them.”
Shoemaker said advocates check with victims to see if they want a temporary restraining order, and can help them fill out paperwork, if they do. Advocates can also help victims find an attorney, and the center can provide victims with soap and other necessities, plus safe housing, gas cards and 911 cards.
“Like if someone takes their cell phone, we can give them one that they can hide and use to call 911 if they have an emergency,” Shoemaker said.
The Alternatives to Violence Center also offers support groups, anger management and parenting classes, men’s domestic violence classes, family and sexual assault advocacy, and teen and youth anger management help.
The center is located at 938 W. Walnut St. in Hillsboro and can be reached at 937-393-8118.
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522 or on Twitter @13gillilandj.