Imagine you are a victim of violence in your own home. Your perpetrator is someone you thought loved and cared for you. Someone who at one time made you feel safe and secure. Someone you call family. This is a person you love, but someone who frightens you. Every day you live in constant fear… you never know when your abuser will snap. You worry the anger they have towards you will eventually be directed towards your child. One day your abuser leaves the house and you’ve had enough. You have minutes, maybe seconds to flee. You must act fast! There is no time to pack, no time to plan, barely time to think. You tell yourself… “Do this for your child… you must get your child out of this situation!” Grabbing your child’s small trembling hand, you reach for the door… pause for a moment… step your foot across the threshold… and run! You run away from the victim you once were and towards the survivor you must now become.
When escaping abuse, a woman is often forced to flee with just the shirt on her back, holding the hand of her child, scared and unsure of the next step. It is the mission of Marie Detty Youth & Family Service Center, Inc. to provide a continuum of care for the children, youth and families of Southwest Oklahoma, such as women escaping abusive situations. Prevention, diversion, protective and treatment services establish the cornerstone of intervention, and the Marie Detty staff serves as advocates on behalf of children, youth, and families on issues impacting our communities. Last year Marie Detty provided assistance to a staggering 5,067 clients.
Marie Detty provides numerous services to victims of violence. First, they serve as a safe place and provide basic needs such as emergency shelter, food, clothing, and toiletries. They also provide counseling services, case management, support groups, special services for children, court advocacy and a sexual assault response team is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The organization also runs a 24-hour hotline for victims.
The Oklahoma Bar Foundation provides funding to fulfill a critical legal component at Marie Detty, the salary for a court advocate. The court advocate works 5 days a week at the Comanche County Courthouse from morning until noon. This dedicated individual is responsible for assisting victims by helping them obtain Victim Protection Orders, supporting victims during court proceedings by helping them navigate the court system and serving as a liaison to ensure judges receive valuable information about victim’s cases. The court advocate also works closely with sexual assault victim advocates to ensure clients are aware of their legal options.
Over the past 8 years, the Oklahoma Bar Foundation has provided $108,000 in funding to Marie Detty’s Court Advocacy program assisting over 700 victims with their cases each year.
Ms. Marie Detty, for whom the Center is named, was a supervisor in Child Welfare Services in the 1960’s and 1970’s. She saw problems many young people were dealing with and sought to find solutions. During her 30-year career in Oklahoma Public Welfare she pushed for serious change in how women are seen in leadership roles, how children are cared for in our society, and how a community responds to its most vulnerable citizens.
We are thankful for Marie Detty’s commitment to victims of domestic violence, women, children and families. We are proud of the staff’s passion to fulfill the purpose and mission set forth by Marie Detty on a daily basis and we are truly honored to call them one of our Grantees.