Domestic abuse survivor helping empower all survivors
CINCINNATI (WXIX) - A Tri-State woman, who is a domestic abuse survivor, is leading a nonprofit to prevent domestic violence while empowering all survivors.
Kristin Shrimplin is the president of Women Helping Women and has been with the organization for the past eight years.
Her mission is one that is close to her heart.
When police respond to domestic violence or sexual assault calls, a staff member with Women Helping Women is typically close behind.
“Law enforcement goes out and secures the scene, and then we go out to the scene and focus on survivors and their kids,” Shrimplin explains. “We respond 24/7 to hospitals. We go to 25 hospitals. So, if a survivor shows up right now for sexual assault or domestic violence, the hospital calls us. We show up on the scene, and we’re there.”
Women Helping Women aids survivors by finding them a place to stay and staying by their side the entire way, even for court cases.
Shrimplin has been a social justice advocate for the past two decades. She worked for the YWCA before becoming the CEO of Women Helping Women in 2015.
“Being at this agency, Women Helping Women, it’s home, and I am very clear why that is,” says Shrimplin. “We are community-based, and we are responsive. And we believe all survivors are welcome here. And I may have a certain title at this agency, but I am a team member.”
Being a domestic abuse survivor herself, Shrimplin also understands the trauma and fear that their clients suffer.
”I was living in North Philadelphia at the time,” Shrimplin recalls, “And I fled in the middle of the night. I was young. I didn’t have a lot of resources and I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t even know to call it domestic violence. I saw bruises. I saw cuts.”
She knew she had to leave and ultimately made her way to Cincinnati to begin a new life and a new purpose in helping others.
“In some ways, it’s taking my darkest time in life and making it my strongest asset in a way to shine a light for others,” explains Shrimplin.
Women Helping Women has become a critical resource for anyone escaping domestic violence.
The nonprofit started in 1973 in one room with one phone and has since expanded across the Tri-State.
“So, from 50 years ago, from plugging in a phone to a phone jack. From now to where we take nearly 15,000 calls that tell you the need had not let up,” says Shrimplin. “The need has increased. This region has a 300% spike in domestic violence, homicide, unacceptable, fundamentally unacceptable so we have to be here.”
Shrimplin says they will continue to show up and continue to empower all survivors, including the LGBTQ community and men while also extending their services into schools educating the younger generation on what a healthy relationship looks and feels like to help with prevention in the future.
While Women Helping Women is celebrating 50 years, Shrimplin says she is even more excited about what the future holds and that she has been an instrumental part in it.
“When I think about my younger self, who was scared in the middle of the night often: One, I didn’t know I would be alive, and I never could have imagined that I would have the opportunity to go to work every day to work alongside folks just trying to make sure people don’t get hurt, and I am incredibly grateful,” says Shrimplin.
Women Helping Women currently serves nearly 8,000 survivors.
They are celebrating 50 years with a gala on June 9 at Music Hall.
This story is part of a weekly segment called Breaking Through.
FOX19 NOW will be highlighting those who are stepping forward to pave the way for a better future.
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