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      40 years of helping women

      October is domestic violence awareness month. For the last 40 years, the Women's Center in Marquette has been helping women experiencing domestic violence.

      It's been 40 years since the Women's Center in Marquette opened their doors to help survivors of domestic and sexual violence.

      One founding mother says it takes an average of seven times for a victim to finally leave their abusive environment.

      "Our job is to show them they have options. There are other areas to build themselves confidence and empower them, to show them that no one deserves to be beaten," said Karlyn Rapport, a founding mother.

      Efforts throughout the years led to their Harbor House program, a shelter where women and children can stay for as long as they need until they are back on their feet in a safe place.

      "It's hard going into a shelter to begin with, but the way these women are here, you know they hug you, they encourage you, they stand by you," said shelter resident.

      The shelter provides an opportunity for women to get one-on-one counseling, participate in support groups, receive legal advice, housing and financial assistance.

      Workers with the shelter assist these women in their lives when they have nowhere else to turn.

      "Some don't have jobs. They aren't attending school right now. If they do have a job, their abusive partners most often interfere and they have lost their job. So it's about starting that process all over again. Starting over," said Phyllis Loonsfoot, Director of Women's Center and Harbor House.

      So a supportive staff is there to empower, protect, help, and encourage women to leave the toxic and harmful environment.

      "Because of the abusive relationships I've been in, I lack the love that I need for myself. I get that here from the ladies. They show me through their actions and their help how to learn to love myself," said a shelter resident.

      They encourage anyone who may be in an abusive relationship to get help and walk away.

      For more information, click here.