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The Center That Saves Lives

Join the cause and make a difference with The Center for Empowerment and Education

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, one in three women and one in four men have experienced some form of physical violence by an intimate partner. While these statistics are alarming, physical abuse is not the only form of mistreatment individuals around the globe are enduring. There is mental/psychological abuse, financial abuse, sexual abuse, and verbal/emotional abuse. Thankfully, we have a local center that helps individuals in crisis get back on their feet and remember their worth.

Formerly called The Women's Center of Greater Danbury, The Center For Empowerment and Education seeks to end violence and mistreatment against individuals and families that have undergone hardship with regard to domestic violence, sexual assault, psychological abuse, and other forms of maltreatment. All of the center's services are completely free and confidential, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.  

The sharing of just one woman's story can cause a powerful ripple affect of other women coming forward, which was the case for local resident Amy Polacko.

Polacko used The Center's services a few years ago, helping her escape an abusive relationship and giving her the confidence and motivation to stand up for herself and leave the unhealthy conditions she was living under. "I am indebted to The Center for helping me," Polacko said, stating she wouldn't be doing what she is today as a Divorce Coach and journalist, advocating for women if it was not for The Center.

"In 2019, I sat in the audience at The Center's "Hearts of Hope" Breakfast listening to a survivor tell her harrowing story of escaping physical and emotional abuse," Polacko said. "And I thought, 'I wonder if I will ever be strong enough to tell my story.' A year later, I did."

Her story, she tells us, was one of psychological abuse, an "invisible yet insidious kind of treatment" that is finally getting the attention it deserves. Polacko also affirms she wanted to dispel the myth that abuse only happens to "down and out, desperate women" who fall for predators.

Determined to help other women, Polacko started a support group, Strong Savvy Women (SSW), "so no single or divorcing woman would feel alone." For women who have no community, or feel like they don't have the support they need, SSW is here for you.

Polacko also comes back to speak at The Center's support groups, sharing what she's learned on her healing journey, including how to spot signs of abusive behavior including narcissism and coercive control.

How To Get Involved

Director of Community Impact Matt Austin explains that volunteers are a major part of the work they do. "Some of those capacities include staffing our 24-hour hotline, accompanying victims to the hospital or police station, and leading support groups."

On the awareness and advocacy side of The Center's work, volunteers can staff tables at awareness events, represent The Center at events in the community, and help receive and process donation items. Matt confirms that whatever time a volunteer can give is important, no matter how small. 

"At the end of the day, educating the people we work with directly is what it's all about," Matt concludes. "The community at large on what Domestic and Sexual Violence looks like, and the resources available to them. We feel that education is the key to eradicating violence in all forms. We work hard to empower victims and survivors to make choices and decisions which feel right for them."

  • Amy Polacko speaking at The Center's Breakfast