Needs and Deeds: Project SAFE in Oklahoma

In 29 years, Project: SAFE has grown from a collection of houses to a full-fledged shelter and resource center for victims of sexual assault, domestic abuse, stalking and human trafficking in Pottawatomie and Lincoln counties.
By Paighten Harkins, Staff Writer Published: June 9, 2014
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It started out when community members began opening their homes as safe places for victims when they had no place else to go, and since then the nonprofit Project: SAFE has continued to grow.

In 29 years, Project: SAFE has grown from a collection of houses to a full-fledged shelter and resource center for victims of sexual assault, domestic abuse, stalking and human trafficking in Pottawatomie and Lincoln counties.

Now the nonprofit is starting its next venture: Project: Resale.

Project: Resale is modeled after similar resale/retail stores other non-profit agencies have started to supplement their income, said Mystie Smith, Project: SAFE’s executive director. The store is set to open in July.

As a nonprofit, Project: SAFE receives money from the state attorney general’s office, the District Attorneys Council and the United Way of Pottawatomie County to fund some of its day-to-day operations. Smith said she never knows whether to expect an increase or decrease in funding.

To steady the organization’s income, Project: Resale was born, Smith said.

The store will be located behind Project: SAFE’s office building. Community members have been donating items, such as clothing or home accessories, to the store in the past year. Through grant funding, Smith has purchased racks and registers.

Once the store opens, victims served by Project: SAFE will be able to take items they need from the store, such as professional wear or home accessories, for free, Smith said. Eventually, she would like victims who haven’t had a job before, or who need training to become more professional, to work in the store to gain experience.

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By the Numbers

18

percent of women have been raped in their lifetime.

1

percent of men have been raped in their lifetime.

25

percent of women have been severely physical abused by an intimate partner.

14

percent of men have been severely physical abused by an intimate partner.

16

percent of women have been stalked.

5

percent of men have been stalked.

Source: 2010 National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey statistics www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/cdc_nisvs_overview_insert_final-a.pdf

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