Denver’s Rose Andom Center is saving lives of women who have faced years of intimidation and abuse.. women like Jess and CeCe.
CeCe grew up in Denver. Jess travelled around a lot since leaving home at the age of 14. Despite different backgrounds, they both shared similar paths: years of abuse they witnessed as children and abuse they experienced as adults. After a year at the Rose Andom Center, the women are now living free of any violence. They are healthy, happy and hopeful. They are empowered and able to put the violence they experienced behind them thanks to the safety, support and services they received at the Rose Andom Center.
“I know I was being repressed,” CeCe said. “I wasn’t able to be myself. I had lost my joy. At Rose Andom Center, they listened to me and they had so many resources and connections to resources that I ultimately found out I was going to need. I just felt from the beginning, this is the place for me.. I’m going to get my life back.”
Rose Andom Center partners with twenty community and government agencies that work out of the Fox Street building, making the services more much accessible to clients. And, those services are provided free of charge to the victims, including on-site daycare.
“My assault was in 1993, domestic violence survivor Dawn said. “If this place had been there then, I think that my healing and recovery could have been quicker, more easily facilitated .. and having everything under one roof.. it’s truly a gift for people in need.”
The Denver Police Department moved its Victims Assistance Unit to Rose Andom Center so that women facing violence don’t have to go into a police station to make a statement; they can talk with detectives out of the comfort of the newly remodeled Rose Andom Center. There are also representatives from the Denver District and City Attorney’s Offices at Rose Andom Center who can assist women going through the criminal legal process. However, Rose Andom Center does not require its clients to file criminal charges in order to seek out resources they need to rebuild their lives.
Jess first came to the Rose Andom Center to talk with a police detective. She didn’t know if she was strong enough to reach out for help but she knew if she didn’t, her boyfriend would eventually kill her. After talking with a detective, Jess met with an advocate at the Rose Andom Center and they clicked.
“The Rose Andom Center believed in me,” Jess said. “They taught me how to love myself again. I’m in love with myself and when that happens, nothing bad can enter my life. I won’t let it. I love myself too much.”
The Rose Andom Center also provides ongoing resource to address longer-term needs and issues. That is an added comfort to the clients.
“I am going to be coming back to Rose Andom probably until I am old and grey, just to check in and say.. ‘hey, I’m feeling strong today,'” Jess said. “The relationships I have made here are going to be forever. They know this is a process. It’s a journey for those of us who have gone through it. A lot of us.. it wasn’t the first time. Hopefully, for any other woman who has to walk through these doors.. hopefully, it’ll be like me and it will be for the last time. This place gives you the hope to be able to do that.”
The woman for whom the center is named is local businesswoman, community leader and survivor of domestic violence, Rose Andom. Her father abused her mother. She also married into an abusive relationship. When she moved away from that life to raise her children in a safe, loving home, Rose started working her way up the ranks at McDonalds. With money she earned from her franchises, Rose invested in the renovation of the building at 1333 Fox Street.
“I went through what these ladies have gone through,” Rose said. “I feel so blessed that I could help contribute to this. Just to hear them talk about their experiences with the center.. all of the good things that have happened to them since they came to the center.. it just makes my heart fill up with so much joy. But, I can’t take the credit. The people who work here are responsible for the successes of Cece and Jess.”
“We encounter these women at the most challenging moment in their lives when they feel hopeless and powerless.” Rose Andom Center Intake Specialist and Advocate Elyse said. “It’s a goal for each of us to inspire hope when we work with these women and watch them find that hope themselves and feel empowered, filled with hope to move forward and reclaim their lives without abuse.”
There are way too many women who need this kind of help. National statistics show that 1 in 3 women have experienced rape or physical abuse by a partner. One in 4 men also endure violent relationships and men are welcome at the Rose Andom Center. However, women more often than men seek out assistance.
If you or someone you know is facing abuse, the Rose Andom Center is open Monday-Friday, 8am -5pm. The center’s phone number is 720-337-4400. Rose Andom Center is not an emergency shelter but it can direct you where you can spend a night safely and securely.
Rose Andom Center is just one place but through it’s wide array of services and committed and caring staff it provides immeasurable hope.
A special thank you to CeCe and Jess who were so brave to share their stories with me. I will never forget their strength and the bond that they now share. They are survivors! Love you ladies!