Safe Shelter hires new bilingual advocate
Nancy Stable began working as a bilingual victim's advocate for Savannah's Safe Shelter last fall. A single mother with two grown children, Stable was born in New York City and moved to South Georgia from Miami four years ago. With a mother who is a native of Puerto Rico and a father who was born in Cuba, it is no surprise that Spanish was Stable's first language.
When she lived in Miami, Stable worked in a homeless shelter where she developed a passion for helping people in need. And as a former victim of domestic violence, Nancy has firsthand knowledge of the cultural pressures that make it hard for Hispanic women to escape abusive relationships.
Stable credits her friends and her deep faith in God for giving her the courage to escape her husband's abuse.
“Back then, people didn't talk openly about domestic violence,” she said. “There was a lot of shame associated with abuse and I was very embarrassed. But finally I realized one simple fact...it was not my fault. I finally realized that getting hit one time is one time too many. There is never ever any excuse for a grown man to hit a woman. ”
Stable said there are many resources available for victims of domestic violence today.
“When people come to us they are so controlled by their spouses many of them don't know where to begin to try to reclaim their lives,” Stable said. “We have a shelter that is open 24-hours a day for victims and their children. We also have empowerment programs to help victims recover their independence. We help them find housing and jobs.”
Undocumented immigrants who are victims of domestic violence face additional obstacles.
“Most police officers today receive special training in dealing with domestic violence but many immigrant women are afraid of the police,” she said. “Their abusers know this and use this fear to control them. My message is that your immigration status has no bearing on your personal safety and our goal is to help you and your family live a life free of abuse.”
Stable wants to use her knowledge of Spanish to help Savannah's Hispanic community.
“I want to be the voice for these people who don't know where to go for help,” she said.
In addition to her work as a victim's advocate, Nancy Stable wants to educate the community about signs of domestic violence and the options available to its victims. If your church or civic organization would like to learn more, you can call her directly at 912-429-1520.
Cheryl Branch, executive director of Safe Shelter, published the following open letter last year, in response to a case where an abuse victim in Port Wentworth was stabbed to death by her husband:
“With 48 beds, SAFE Shelter always has room for any victim of domestic violence and her children. We are open 24-hours a day, seven days a week. Our crisis line, 629-SAFE Shelter Outreach Program located at 7395 Hodgson Memorial Drive on Savannah's Southside. Two well-trained victim advocates, Rose Grant-Robinson and Nancy Stable, who is bi-lingual, are there Monday through Friday, 7:30-4:30 p.m. They can be reached by calling 651-0004. The outreach staff can assist with temporary protective orders and can link victims to police and court services as well as to other local social service agencies.
SAFE Shelter is a non-profit agency and all services are free and confidential. If anyone reading this is a victim or knows a victim, please call today. Domestic violence thrives in secrecy and intervention is the key to breaking this cycle.”