There are places in this community some people may never know about — until they need to know about them.
Friends Against Abuse is one of these places. The victims’ advocacy agency is located at 407 Fourth St. in International Falls and is known for its organization of the local Walk a Mile in her Shoes — The International Men’s March to Stop Rape, Gender Violence and Sexual Assault. The march aims to let people know that men, and women, have a responsibility to seek the tools they need to stop themselves as well as others from violence.
But FAA and its staff stand ready to provide crisis and basic services to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and general crime — something that some people may not know about until the need is felt close to home.
FAA was recently awarded a $50,000 grant by the Otto Bremer Trust to assist the agency in doing what it does, and that’s a lot. FAA’s services range from providing safe housing to someone who lives with violence, to providing advocacy to help victims navigate the often complex and overwhelming legal system and everything in between.
And while FAA often provides services at a moment’s notice to people in crisis, it also plays a huge role in this community by organizing support groups to help both victims and abusers, as well as assisting with the costs for people to take the Parents Forever class, a professionally supported, mutual support group for parents and family members of adult addicted children.
To do these things, FAA needs money, and Otto Bremer Trust deserves kudos for recognizing that, and providing funding to continue operations that can also be used to leverage other of sources of money.
Costs of these services aren’t cheap. For example, a box of size 4 diapers that may be purchased for a child costs $25, and just one day of safe housing and food for a family costs at least $50. A one-way bus ticket to Minneapolis for an adult and infant car seat to connect a client with long-term safe housing away from their abuser costs $112.
And while some of us may not want to know that domestic violence and sexual assault happens in our charming little town, it does. And to educate the public about that is the only way to curb it.
We’re sure the staff of FAA would be happier if their jobs were not needed. But until then, we must continue to encourage giving to FAA and other local agencies that work to change our world for the better.