Xuluprophet, Maxines enjoy safe shelter at The Wormhole
The statistics on domestic violence in America are woefully grim. One in four women and one in seven men will experience physical violence from an intimate partner, according to the CDC.
According to the CDC, nearly half of women and men will experience psychological abuse from a partner in their lifetime. But in Savannah, there is hope and support. Safe Shelter is the only space in the city dedicated to survivors of domestic violence and their minor children.
This Friday, Safe Shelter is recognized for its community work when the Wormhole hosts a musical evening to benefit the local association. It all starts at 7 p.m. with local favorite, Xulu Prophet, and new band on stage, The Maxines.
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“This is an issue that is close to my heart,” said Xulu Jones of Xuluprophet. “I witnessed my mother’s abuse when I was 12, and it seems that so many women I know have had stories of being abused. The show we’re doing is a little way for us to support the women and men who struggle in these situations in our community.
In the United States, safe spaces for victims of domestic violence began to open up in the mid-1970s primarily due to the women’s movement. Among the first shelters, there is one in St. Paul, Minnesota, in 1974, and another in New York City opened in 1976. Safe Shelter opened in Savannah in 1979, and with 48 beds, a security of premier, education and aftercare programs After care, the facility has grown into one of Georgia’s largest domestic violence agencies.
“It’s strange to think that we’ve had animal shelters in this country since the mid-1800s, but nothing to accommodate people trying to get out of domestic violence,” said Cheryl Branch, executive director of the organization. “Fundraisers like this help us directly help our clients. Unlike the grant, which must be used for very specific things, the money from this event can help a client replace a dead car battery, fix a flat tire, or even pay attorney fees. Very basic but necessary things that people need to keep moving forward in everyday life.
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For a number of reasons, the refuge regularly reaches and exceeds its capacity at this time of year. For some, the holidays can be stressful and evoke volatile emotions. Yet much about the increase in numbers remains unexplained.
“Really, there isn’t a single concrete answer as to why more people are asking for our support this time of year,” Branch pointed out. “But no matter who you are and when you arrive, we take care of the basic needs first. Are you hungry? Do your children need something to eat? So many of our clients leave terrible, terrible situations, and we want them to know that they are safe when they come here.
When asked to be a part of the night, Bero Bero multi-instrumentalist and frontman Veronica Garcia said yes without hesitation. She is part of a new all-female lineup, The Maxines, which will serve up 90s-inspired grunge rock. The benefit performance will be the group’s first public performance.
Garcia, who wanted to collaborate with more women in music, was elated when House of Strut director AJ Gray reached out.
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“I knew AJ from working with her on another music festival, and she asked me if I knew any badass women who wanted to start a band,” Garcia recalls. “And I said, yes, me. I do.”
The Maxines lineup includes AJ Gray on vocals, Garcia on bass, Maddie Oke on guitar and her twin sister, Coco Oke on drums. So far, they’ve focused on material from Alice in Chains, Smashing Pumpkins, and other big, male-voiced ’90s rock. They appreciate the gender-bender of all the women who propel this cutting edge music.
“Domestic violence affects both men and women, but women are much more affected,” Garcia said. “I am excited and ready to perform in an all-female group for a cause that will benefit women in our community. It is empowering for me, our group and the women who courageously choose to leave their abusers.
IF YOU ARE GOING TO
What: Music benefits Safe Shelter
Where: The Wormhole, 2307 Bull St.
When: Friday at 7 p.m.
Cost: $ 20 at the door; half of all proceeds go to Safe Shelter, Savannah