Two Generations of Women Dedicated to Ending Domestic Violence
Generations Of Caring
The month of October is dedicated to Domestic Violence Awareness. Set aside as a month to mourn those who have died because of domestic violence, celebrate those who have survived domestic violence, and connect those who work to end domestic violence. It is also the perfect time to explore what would draw 2 generations of women from the same family toward careers working with women and children who have experienced domestic violence.
For at least the second generation, it can be traced back to her exposure as a young teenager to women and children who were welcomed into the domestic violence shelter where her mother worked.
“When I was in high school, my mother worked at what used to be Every Woman’s House here in Wooster. I volunteered to help mentor the children who were there. I just couldn’t for the life of me understand why anyone would want to hurt those kids. I had been very lucky because I was raised in a very loving family where I never witnessed the kind of violence and trauma these children had gone through,” said Stacey Rehm, OneEighty Victim Service Manager. “My overwhelming desire to make things better for these kids led me to a career path that has now come full circle.”
Returning To Work With Children
After graduating with a degree in Criminal Justice from Ashland University, Stacey began working for Children’s Services as a case aide. In that capacity, she was responsible for transporting children to and from their foster homes to see their parents. Her previous volunteer experience gave her an innate ability to relate to these children and the upheaval they were experiencing.
Making A Transition
It wasn’t long till Stacey moved on to work at what was Wooster Interfaith Housing, an agency providing transitional housing and additional support programs for single women, many of whom had children and had experienced domestic violence and were trying to get back on their feet. Stacey worked with these women and children helping them navigate the mine fields through which they had to negotiate to achieve independent stability.
As she worked with these women, she was exposed to her next career move, becoming a Victim’s Advocate in the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office.
Turning To Advocacy
“There I was able to work with victims of all types of crime,” Stacey explained. “It was my job to support them through the entire criminal process. That included assisting them in getting protection orders and helping them to understand what to expect in the legal process. I would even go to court with them giving them additional support when they had to face their perpetrators.”
While working for the prosecutor’s office, there were times when the client she was helping had been a victim of domestic violence. Once the case they were dealing with was concluded, Stacey found it frustrating to know that if that woman finally wanted to fight back against her abuser, Stacey was unable to help her pursue this final process.
“When I couldn’t help the women who finally wanted to fight back, I knew that I had to move into a job where I could help walk alongside them to achieve further justice,” she said. “When I think of the stories of abuse that I have heard over the years, not helping a woman whose spouse had nailed her feet to a floor so she couldn’t leave justified fighting back in my book.”
Shelter For All
That’s when in 2016, she became a Shelter Support Specialist at Julia’s Place, the domestic violence shelter at OneEighty. In the fall of that same year, she moved to Victim Advocate. Both positions advocate for victims of intimate partner violence while also providing support.
“At Julia’s Place, I was able to work with a truly wonderful staff which included our own full-time client advocates,” Stacey said. “Together we worked through the pain of the women and children who came into our shelter with nothing but the clothes on their back. Many had no one else to turn to, but we were able to provide them with the care and compassion they needed to utilize the tools our programs had to offer.”
Victims No More
In December of 2021, she applied for and was offered the Victim Service Manager position. A natural career progression that aligned with her passion to help those experiencing trauma from intimate violence. Sitting in her office at Julia’s Place (OneEighty’s Emergency Shelter), she reflects on the joy of bearing witness to the women who are finally able to make it on their own.
“We know that it usually takes some 7 times for a victim to finally leave their abuser. We know that the time they decide to leave is the most dangerous, so we begin by helping them develop a ‘safety plan’,” Stacey explained. “We are so fortunate to work in a community where our law enforcement people are so supportive of the work we do.
Additionally, OneEighty’s work is enhanced by partnering with other local agencies like Goodwill, Community Action, Wooster Community Hospital, Orrville Aultman Hospital, Care and Share, and Legal Aid who share their expertise assisting clients in their quest for self-sufficiency.
“There is no greater reward than to see an individual or a family get back on their feet. Affordable housing presents one of the greatest challenges to our women transitioning out. But thanks to the local Care and Share program, once a place has been secured, these wonderful community volunteers go in “to action not only furnishing but personalizing the family’s new dwelling to make it feel more like home,” Stacey said. “This work is never boring, and each day and each family presents a new challenge for our team to embrace.”
The Circle Continues
Finally, could there be a third generation of this family who will make her career by traveling the same path?
“My youngest daughter just became a support specialist at OneEighty’s Women’s Residential Treatment Center,” Stacey glowingly reported.
Seems compassion and passion for helping women turn their lives around does run in this family!
We’re here to support you.
We help people change direction with programs for addiction, domestic violence, rape crisis, mental health, housing, and prevention and education. At OneEighty, we actively support an evidence-based approach to sustainable recovery from trauma and addiction – restoring dignity and purpose, reimagining potential, and rebuilding lives. OneEighty offers counseling programs, intensive addiction treatment programs, group addiction treatment, residential services, victim services, recovery housing, and peer recovery.
For those encountering a substance use crisis please call OneEighty’s Substance Use Crisis hotline available 24 hours per day, 365 days per year at 330-466-0678. For other resources, click the links below: