Heidi Day is the founder and executive director of Chayil, Inc. Chayil, a not-for-profit organization, was founded in 2003 with the vision to provide a nationally recognized, innovative platform for domestic violence recovery services that will significantly reduce domestic violence recurrence and deaths. Chayil’s ground-breaking program addresses the requirements to transcend basic survival, therein enabling victims to enter a space where they can thrive. Chayil partners with post-shelter transitional programs to provide supplemental counseling services aimed at building self-esteem, changing thought patterns, and empowering victims to take ownership and control of their lives. These are the keys to full recovery, long-term self-sufficiency, and ultimately the permanent end to the cycle of violence. By partnering with transitional programs, Chayil enables the programs themselves to be more successful.
According to the 1998 Commonwealth Fund Survey, nearly one-third of American women report being physically or sexually abused by a husband or boyfriend at some point in their lives. This abuse has devastating consequences for the women involved. There are many detrimental realities of a life of abuse including the physical, emotional, financial and legal realities. These realities are overwhelming to the victims and have far-reaching consequences on society at large. Oftentimes, even if they take that monumental first step to leave their abuser, they do so with only the clothes on their back. In a 2002 report by the U.S. Conference of Mayors, 44 percent of the cities surveyed identified domestic violence as the primary cause of homelessness.
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