A new pet project by the Womens’ Center in Marquette really is for pets. The Sesawin project helps survivors of domestic and sexual violence include their pets when seeking help and shelter. An open house held tonight invited community members and veterinarians out to emphasize the issue of pets when it comes to domestic violence and to gain support.
“When a woman is in an abusive situation she needs that animal as a source of physiological and emotional support as well as the safety of the animal itself of the animal is important. So giving them an alternative to leaving the animal in danger or giving up the animal completely is really important for the well being of everyone involved, said Sesawin Project Research Assistant, Katherine Niemann,
Sesawin means nest or safe place. The Sesawin Project aims to provide veterinary care, foster care and basic care items to women and their pets to give them a sense of security when fleeing a life threatening situation.
“Probably half of all survivors of domestic violence have companion animals that have also been targeted by abusers. It is a way for the perpetrator to manipulate that individual. The animals are targets for abuse as many survivors don’t want to leave that situation of if they do leave they want to go back to the situation and get the animal cared for. So some survivors won’t leave because of the animal so one of the first things we ask now is do you have an animal that you don’t want to leave behind,” said Helen Kuhn, Director, Sesawin Project.
The Sasawin project is a joint effort of the Marquete Womens’ Shelter, UPAWS and Northern Michigan University. For more information you call (906) 225-1346 or (906) 226-6611.