SANTA FE, NM – Esperanza: Spanish for “hope,” English for “shelter for battered families.”
In Santa Fe, Esperanza is a shelter, a place to get away to, to hide in safety, to be cared for and counseled, and to be saved.
About 200 caring and concerned individuals filled the Lumpkins Ballroom at La Fonda in support of Esperanza Shelter and its programs. I must say, it’s hard to have a good and jolly time when you reflect upon the fact that the reason you’re there is the suffering of others … in this case, battered women and children (mostly).
They say sometimes there’s a battered man, but it’s a rarity. Mostly, it’s vulnerable women and children victimized, abused and terrified by men.
And how hard it is to get away! These guys have control, both physically and also psychologically, like Twilight Zone mind control. They have the gal believing that, if she runs away, he’s gonna catch her and kill her, or one of the children. So she stays, scared and miserable.
And he keeps on abusing her and the children, and still she stays, and stays … until.
We heard from Angela, a victim of domestic violence whose husband abused her and their child so violently that her back was broken and their little son lost his arm! Living with this man “was pure hell,” she told us in an underbreath understatement.
They finally escaped from him into the saving grace of Esperanza, which helped Angela get on her feet. The shelter provided a place to live, counseling, protection from her husband, a court order to keep him away from her and, eventually, a divorce. She and her child are alive and well now, out of hell!
The location is kept a secret. Duh. Raging abandoned husband, boyfriend, ex-of-all-trades comes pounding on the door wanting the little woman back, promising to behave, ‘oh baby, come back, ya know I love ya,’ just 15 minutes away from another black eye, or broken bone, or gunshot.
Those guys need serious counseling and attitude adjustment (and Esperanza also provides that for them in the Family Counseling program), but the primary focus is the welfare and safety of the victims.
Many of the women are literally running for their lives. Esperanza’s emergency services provide everything to help her get started again, from clothes to a permanent place to live to help finding a job, so she will never have to go back home to an abusive situation again.
Donations from the night’s party will fund these services, as well as “wraparound services,” which offer counseling to the survivors of domestic abuse, the children in the family and other family members, and the offenders themselves (90 percent of whom were abused as children – not a justification, but an insight into how they got that way and acknowledgment that the pattern of behavior must stop with them) … a huge, important mission!
Executive Director Marsie Silvestro works miracles at Esperanza, at a 24/7 heart-wrenching job directing all of these activities. Marsie’s staff say she’s a superwoman and all agree she deserved the honor of being named Santa Fe Woman of the Year for 2015.
The Wizard of Oz-themed party, “There’s No Place Like Esperanza,” included a yellow brick road of auction table shopping that snaked around the upstairs atrium at La Fonda, while that sultry siren, Vicki Speer of Soulstice, belted out dance music in the big room.
The slim and debonair British auctioneer invited the audience to be like the scarecrow, the lion and the tin man, and have the head, the courage and the heart to help Esperanza carry on its mission with a generous financial gift. Many people did. The evening raised a very useful $54,000 for Esperanza’s crucial work.
Ashley Margetson has a BA in English from UCLA, is a senior real estate broker with Sotheby’s International Realty and has a finger on the pulse of philanthropic activities in Santa Fe. To tell us about an upcoming event, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ed Khmara and Jerry Levine attend the Esperanza fundraiser.
Maria Jose Rodriguez Cadiz dines at the Esperanza fundraiser.
Mark Hosenfeld and Anika Amon smile for the camera.
Sheila Lewis and Julie Madrid come together for Esperanza.
John and Blake Sheridan take a stand for battered women.
Esperanza Director Marsie Silvestro carries cosmic designs.
Jill and Eric Enloe get close after dinner.
Bea Ilumin and Caroline King frame the beneficiary.