The one truth that remains constant in the field of domestic violence is that we live in a culture that accepts violence and is often accepted as the norm. We see it on the news, in movies, television shows, video games, read about it in the newspaper, hear about it on the radio, sing about it and many of us know friends and family who have experienced a violent incident.
I believe it is important that a safety net exists for people needing refuge from violence in their homes whether it is through residing in an emergency shelter or receiving counseling, advocacy and support services.
As long as there is a quiet acceptance of violence towards others especially in intimate partner relationships, there will be the threat of our loved ones being at risk for abuse or killed by someone claiming to love them. I have personally seen hundreds of victims who come to Gateway hurt, confused, injured, scared and yet they can overcome and leave as survivors. This is what drives my passion for the work; watching the amazing amount of human strength needed to overcome the worst of times and then the ability of people to take the turn to look forward to the next chapter of their future.
I believe it is important that a safety net exists for people needing refuge from vio, advocacy and support services. Community education also becomes an important intervention in stopping violence in the home. Education is a way to help sensitize people to the issue of domestic violence and help foster positive responses to others that need our help.
Gateway was founded in 1977 when two grassroots efforts were merged—The Aurora Community Mental Health Center’s Battered Women’s Shelter Project and the Arapahoe Battered Women’s Task Force.
- In January 1979, the project received funding from the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration, Aurora Community Development, and CETA to commence operations of the Aurora-Arapahoe Battered Women’s Shelter, Inc. The shelter opened for services on May 8, 1979, in a building donated by the City of Aurora.
- In June 1981, the shelter transitioned from a District Attorney sponsored program to the Arapahoe County Community Services Department. The Gateway Board of Directors provided advisory support to the county, in this transition. Major responsibility for Gateway operations was held by the county.
- In August 1983, the shelter established independence from Arapahoe County by becoming a private, nonprofit corporation.
Today Gateway operates a 24 bed emergency shelter in conjunction with a 24 hour crisis line, a 15 bed Extended Stay Program, two counseling centers, a Court Advocacy Program based at the Aurora Municipal Court and a community education and volunteer program. The emergency shelter allows pets to accompany their family if the pet is also in danger of abuse.
I have had the pleasure of serving as the Executive Director of Gateway Battered Women’s Services for the past 26 years. During that time Gateway has grown new programs and shifted services to best address the changing needs of domestic violence victims and their children. The Gateway Board and staff are proud of our agency and in keeping with our expanded services we have updated our mission, our logo and our website.
Linda James, Executive Director