A Divinely Directed Career
Imagine your marriage gone sour. Condescending remarks make you begin to feel like a worthless human being. Add to that physical abuse-often begging medical treatment-but you don't dare go because the police will get involved, and your husband has threatened you with your life if you "tell." You are trying to hold it all together for the sake of your children and looking good to your community. You have tried to leave before, but the stalking and harassment threats are so scary. You fear for your life! I was dumbfounded to learn this shocking statistic: South Carolina currently ranks FIRST in the nation for the number of women murdered by men.
In 1986, CODA (Citizens Opposed to Domestic Abuse) was formed by a group of Beaufort County angels to provide shelter and support in their homes for victims and their families. It eventually grew into a 6,000 square foot refuge that can house 24 women and children. CODA is committed to protecting women and their children from harm in their own homes, empowering women to seek out violence-free lifestyles, and promoting peaceful, safe environments for children. CODA currently provides services to victims of intimate partner abuse and their children in Beaufort, Colleton, Hampton and Jasper counties. Clients range from the very wealthy to those struggling with rural poverty. To date, more than 12,000 survivors have received assistance with emergency shelter, counseling, case management, legal services, transitional housing and the 24-hour crisis hotline. In addition, CODA reaches thousands of people annually through community education programs and trainings tailored to professionals, churches, civic groups and students.
Since 2007, Kristin Dubrowski has served as the Executive Director of CODA. She has been professionally involved in the field of domestic violence since 1999. Holding a B.A. in Women's Studies from Cornell College and a Masters in Nonprofit Management from Regis University, Kristin serves on the Board of Directors of the South Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, the Lowcountry Homeless Coalition, as well as the Junior Service League of Beaufort. Prior to her move to South Carolina, Kristin was the director of a domestic violence shelter in Denver, Colorado, and has spoken on domestic violence related issues throughout Colorado and the Lowcountry.
When I asked Kristin what inspired her to choose this career path, she shared some personal life experiences that deeply and profoundly affected her. Growing up, she became aware of domestic violence in her own family that extended across at least two generations. As a teenager, Kristin found herself in an abusive dating relationship. Later, in undergraduate school, she volunteered on a rape crisis and domestic violence hotline. Her bachelor's degree and volunteer activity, combined with her personal experiences of abuse, inspired Kristin to work in this field because she knew she could make a difference. Kristin is passionate about women's rights/human rights. "Domestic violence can happen to anyone, and it touches all of our lives. The trait that makes someone most likely to be a victim of domestic violence is being born female. No one deserves to be abused, and no one has the right to abuse someone else."
CODA Hotline: 843-770-1070 or 800-868-CODA. All services are confidential and provided free of charge.
CODA is a non-profit organization: Fundraising events and donations are essential for underwriting services and programs. CODA's next event, Race4Love, a 5K run/walk, is scheduled for February 15, 2014 on Cat Island. For more information and to register: www.race4love.com
You can help: If you wish to donate, you can mail your check to: CODA, P.O. Box 1775, Beaufort, SC 29901
Volunteers: Compassionate volunteers are needed to serve in day-to-day operations, fundraising, and community education. For more information call the volunteer coordinator at 843 770-1074 ext. 225