Give Me Shelter – An Unfortunate Truth

One of the benefits of online media is the opportunity for a certain amount of anonymity. Here at NPJ, we get many requests to publish commentaries without disclosing the actual author. We’ve found that there are a lot of residents with interesting points of view or public awareness issues that warrant discussion. In that spirit, the review panel of the Natchitoches Parish Journal has created an online pseudonym called J. Q. Collectif and periodically we will post commentaries written by Parish residents that have been approved by the panel using the pseudonym. The views in the commentaries are not the work of NPJ and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of NPJ.

There are 3800 animal shelters and 1500 shelters for victims of domestic violence in our country. We previously called them “women’s shelters” until it dawned on us that women aren’t the only victims of domestic violence. It is reported that 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have been victims of some form of physical violence by an intimate partner in their life time.

It is obvious that we prefer the puppies and the kittens to these hurting people.


Do we believe that the animals have the greater need? After all they are stuck in their situation. They can’t open the gate or the door and set themselves free. A victim of domestic violence is free to leave any time they wish. They can open the door and walk away. They can go shopping and not return home. The reasoning is victims of violence have less need because they have more choices. Really?

Where are all these suddenly freed victims of domestic violence going? Do hotels offer free rooms for victims? Do restaurants offer a victims discount menu? Reality is that some victims don’t leave because there is no place safe to go. Would you take in a victim of domestic violence? You could have a friend who is victim. We easily recognize abused animals, recognizing abuse in a person is not so easy. So, if you knew your friend was a victim, would you take them in?

In theory you would answer affirmatively, but in practice you would be afraid of discovery or the perpetrator moving the violence to your house in front of your family. Would you rather not deal with all that messiness?

It is cleaner caring for puppies and kittens. They heal up faster. They don’t carry scars and emotional baggage. They show gratitude to their liberators. Dealing with victims of violence is messy. They aren’t suddenly better because they have moved from the physical source of the violence. Their scars and wounds run deep and their pain pops up in unexpected ways.

Did you know that for the cost of helping one victim of domestic violence we can help 100 puppies? Cost analysis says that our dollar goes further helping animals. Puppies and kittens are cute. After they are treated, their wounds heal. They show love to their liberators and we feel good about ourselves.

Domestic violence happens in all socio-economic levels. It is not limited to those in poverty. Some perpetrators of abuse wear nice clothes, drive good automobiles, and have respectable jobs. They have every advantage yet wound others. We are bugged at a deep level that this abuse might be happening next door. We don’t want to be involved we simply wish for it all to disappear. That is one of the reasons raising money for this kind of shelter comes so hard. The issue is too close for comfort. It is easier to give to a shelter that helps four-legged creatures. They are cuter and our money is more efficiently used.

How do we help?

Must we close our eyes and pretend these hurting people are cute kittens or puppies?

Or maybe you should know that in 70% of abuse cases the family pet is also abused as a way of inflicting further emotional abuse on the victim. Isn’t it strange we pay to save a puppy but are slow to aid those of our own species?

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