All posts by Haven House

12 Steps to Protect Your Finances When Leaving an Abusive Relationship

woman window

Lisa Orban was married to her abuser for three years. In 1990, she left after he threatened to kill her and their two young children.  She was 20 years old. Her financial situation in the marriage?  “Bad, in a nutshell,” she recalls. Not unusual for the time, her  husband was the main breadwinner, and he managed the finances.  “Whenever there was a chance that I might make enough money  or make more money than him or do anything to upset his  financial apple cart, so to speak, he would come in and  sabotage it.”

She lost multiple jobs because of his meddling. She moved with  him from her hometown in Illinois to Arizona for college, where  she’d won a four-year scholarship to study psychology. Before  she could start, he contacted the university and told them she’d  decided to drop out. “Imagine my surprise when I go to  registration day and find out that my scholarship is gone,” she says.

He even had control of the mailbox. He took her key, though she  thought she’d just lost it, and put off replacing it. That had major, unexpected financial ramifications. “It wasn’t until after we were divorced that I found out that I had not paid off my student loan.” The $4,000 loan ultimately cost her $38,000 to repay, she says.

The checks Orban thought were going into the mail were not, and the missed payment notices from her loan providers weren’t getting to her. He kept control of the checking account. He wouldn’t let her use the car alone. He knew how much money she earned, and he would accompany her to the bank to deposit her paychecks. He signed up for credit cards in her name.

By the time Orban left and filed for divorce, she was $80,000 in debt and didn’t even know about it.

About 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men will experience severe intimate partner violence in their lifetime, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report. Of those who experience violence, 98% also experience financial abuse. So what are ways you can protect your finances in a situation like this?

Steps to Prepare Your Finances Before Leaving
1. Connect with a Victim Advocate
2. Save Money
3. Make Copies of Important Documents
4. Cut Ties and Open a New Bank Account
5. Find a Financial Advisor
6. Find an Attorney.

Steps to Rebuild Your Finance After Leaving
7. Get a Copy of Your Credit Report
8. Find Resolution on Lingering Debts
9. Create a New Budget
10. Rebuild Your Credit
11. If You Need to, Find a New Job and Housing
12. Prepare for Financial Success

As advocates at Haven House, we often see abusers restrict or limit access to the economic resources of the home. Spotting financial or economic abuse may be another way to spot that there may also physical, emotional, sexual, or mental abuse occurring in the home as well.

If you are experiencing this type of abuse or you think you know someone who may be, you can speak to one of our advocates to find out more info: 1-800-440-4633.

*Read the full article at:

Before She Knew It


We provide free presentations and assembly programs for area schools and speak to students about dating violence. Deborah, one of our
volunteer speakers, often comes along to speak about the abusive
relationship she was in. During her story she talks about how she didn’t even realize she was in an abusive relationship, until someone from outside of the situation was honest with her and made here aware all the signs were characteristic of an abusive relationship.

Before she knew it, she was in an abusive relationship and didn’t realize it because she was not aware of the signs of an unhealthy relationship. Without knowing the signs of an unhealthy relationship, both men and women can end up in abusive relationships. Many simply think it is the
personal dynamics of their own relationship and not abuse.

Knowing the signs can help a person identify an unhealthy relationship. Some of these are warning signs of an unhealthy relationship, precursors to domestic violence.

  • Checking your cell phone or email without permission
  • Constantly putting you down
  • Extreme jealousy or insecurity
  • Explosive temper
  • Isolating you from family or friends
  • Making false accusations
  • Mood swings
  • Physically hurting you in any way
  • Possessiveness
  • Telling you what to do
  • Pressuring or forcing you to have sex

Take a relationship quiz to see how your relationship ranks at

information in part from

7 Times….Why so Many?


Working as advocates for domestic violence victims, we often work with clients who do return to their abusive situations. We understand the reasons why and continue to offer support when they are ready to leave again. However many people ask “Why in the world do they go back? Why don’t they just leave?”

On average, a domestic violence victim will return to an abusive relationship up to seven times. It is important that we are able to recognize the “why”, so we can aim to intervene and break the cycle of returning to an abusive situation.

Why does a person return to an abusive relationship?

Unfamiliarity: Stepping out of everything a person knows can be scary. This can mean leaving friends, family, your home, and everything you know behind when leaving an abusive
relationship. Sometimes this unfamiliarity is too much and scary.
Manipulation: Abusers will continually try to persuade an individual to come back. This manipulation is often filled with empty promises, sweet talk, or even threats.
Love for the abuser: Even though a person may have been abused, they still feel a sense of love for their abuser, and return hoping that things will change.
Lack of Support: If a person doesn’t receive understanding from loved ones, and does not have access to vital resources they can often feel as though it is just easier to go back.
Fear of being alone: For some people the desire to feel a sense of belonging, even if its abusive, overtakes the desire to leave the relationship.

There are many more reasons why people return, but there are things we can do as individuals and as a community to help break this cycle.

-Support victims and speak encouragement into their lives.
-Provide access to vital resources and other support services.
-Involve them in activities and let them see hope beyond their abusive relationship.
-Continue to offer support, encouragement, and help even if a person goes back.
-Help them rediscover the things they loved before their abusive relationship (hobbies, activities, etc.)

Want to learn more about why people go back to an abusive
relationship or what you can do to help victims become
survivors? Call us today at 402-375-5433.

After A Sexual Assault

It’s hard to know what to do, how to feel, or what your options are after a sexual assault. Please know that you’re not alone. Below are some things to keep in mind. If you are in immediate danger or seriously injured, call 911.

1) Your safety is important. Are you in a safe place? If you’re not feeling safe, consider reaching out to someone you trust for support. You don’t have to go through this alone.

2) What happened was not your fault. Something happened to you that you didn’t want to happen—and that’s not OK.

3) Contact Haven House at 1-800-440-4633. You’ll be able to speak to an advocate about what happened to you and all our services are free and confidential. Our advocates will listen to you, let you know what the available options are, allow you to make your own decisions, and be with you if you decide to seek medical attention or report to police.

4) Get proper medical attention. Whether or not you decide to
report to police, we suggest to get examed for potential STIs and
physical trauma. Haven House does have a variety of resources to help with medical costs associated with sexual assault exams. It is best not to shower or bath following a sexual assault, and to bring an extra set of clothes with you to the hospital. This will help preserve evidence if you decide to press charges against the rapist then or in the future.

When you call Haven House, a staff member will walk you through the process of getting help at your own pace. Our team of advocates can also accompany you to medical appointments or if you decide to report to police. Our offices also offer a confidential place to report to police so you won’t have to go to the police station.

You don’t have to walk through this alone.

*some information from

Late Life Domestic Violence

Article from the Administration on Aging

Domestic violence, also called intimate partner violence, describes physical violence, sexual violence, stalking and psychological aggression (including coercive acts) by a current or former intimate partner and can occur across the lifespan to victims of all ages, including older adults. An intimate partner is a person with whom one has a close personal relationship that can be characterized by: emotional connectedness and regular contact; ongoing physical contact and sexual behavior; identity as a couple; and familiarity and knowledge about eachother’s lives. Perpetrators include spouses and former spouses, current or former partners, or another individual with whom the victim has an ongoing, personal relationship. The problem occurs in all communities, and affects people regardless of socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or gender identity. Although most victims are female, men can be harmed, too.

Generally, abusers use a pattern of coercive tactics, such as isolation, threats, intimidation, manipulation, and violence, to gain and maintain power over their victims. Often they tell their victims where they can go, whom they can see, and how they can spend their money—in other words, control their decisions. Some abusers use their role and power to financially exploit their victims. Others feel that they are entitled to get their way because they are the “head of the household,” or because they are younger and physically stronger than their victim is.

Some experts view late-life domestic violence as a sub-set of the larger elder abuse problem. Elder abuse, broadly defined, includes physical, sexual and emotional abuse, financial exploitation, neglect and self-neglect, and abandonment. The distinctive context of domestic violence in later life is the abusive use of power and control by a spouse/partner or other person known to the victim in a close, personal way.

Sometimes life changes as you grow older can lead to an increase in abuse in unhealthy relationships. There is no excuse for abuse. If you believe that you or someone you may know may be experiencing abuse in your relationship you can speak to an advocate today. All services are free and confidential and you get to make the decisions about your relationship.
Please call 1-800-440-4633.

Dating Violence: The Silent Abuse

dating violence
*Written by Jessica Wilson (A Haven House Volunteer)*

Imagine being called stupid and worthless, everyday, every time you do something. Imagine being in public while being yelled at and getting called names. A victim feels as if they have two choices: either sit there and continue being yelled at, or listen to the abuser and obey their threats. Imagine always feeling like you want to disappear or you have to “watch your back.” Victims feel most alone at those exact times.

Did you know that females between 16 and 24 experience the highest rate of dating violence? 1 in 4 teens in a relationship say they have been called names, harassed, or belittled. Dating violence involves a pattern of behavior in which one person uses threats, or physical, sexual, verbal, or emotional abuse to control his/her partner. Most people don’t realize how common dating violence actually is. It doesn’t always happen immediately and sometimes signs are hard to see or notice, especially when you are the one in the situation. Victims of dating violence believe that the abuse is normal (usually because their friends are being abused too). Victims also believe that their partner’s jealousy and possessiveness is “romantic.” This is because the attention they receive from those actions, even though it is in a negative manner. An abuser believes that they have the right to control their partners, demand intimacy, and that they may lose respect if they are attentive and supportive toward their significant other. Not only is dating violence detrimental to someone, it can also increase one’s risk of substance abuse, suicide, sexual risk behaviors, or unhealthy weight.

Red Flags of Dating Violence
-Extreme Jealousy
-Controlling behavior
-Verbal abuse
-Alcohol/drug abuse
-Use of force in arguments
-Blaming others for own problems

There are many do’s and don’ts when assisting someone in need. Most people don’t realize their comments or judgments towards the victim might only influence or hurt them more. Anyone can be a victim.

Things You Can “Do” to Help Dating Violence Victims
-Let them know that no one deserves to be abused
-Let them know they’re not alone
-Express concern for their safety
-Help them find support

One of the most common questions people ask is “Why don’t they leave?” Leaving is not only scary, but can also be dangerous. That is why the “do’s” are so important. While following the “do’s”, be very cautious not to tell the victim what to do. In order to stay safe, there are safety plans for dating violence. These plans include but are not limited to: knowing signs of abuse and watching for them, saving messages on cell phones of the threatening behavior, avoiding drinking and drug use, and having a support system.

Haven House Receives A Used Car

With 2016 almost finished, and 2017 close on its heels, Haven House received a wonderful donation of a used car to aid one of their clients. Haven House offers free & confidential services for individuals affected by domestic & sexual violence.  Haven House services the 5 Counties of Northeast Nebraska, including Cedar, Dakota, Dixon, Thurston, & Wayne Counties.

“The donation of this car comes at a pivotal time for one of our clients.  This will help them as they reestablish their life.  It will help them get to their job, doctors visits, and other critical appointments.  We are so thankful for this donation and all of our donors.”  Amy Munderloh, the new director of Haven House said.

Haven House is a registered non-profit and all donations to Haven House are tax-deductible.   If you are desiring to donate monetarily or with used cars or other types of materials, feel free to contact Haven House to find out what we are in need of.  Call us at 402-375-5433 or visit online at

new car haven house

5 dispositivos para defenderse en contra de una violencia

Una violación jamás es culpa de la victima. Sin embargo, si hay algunas cosas que puede hacer para ayudar a protegerse y defenderse de algún ataque potencial. Aquí les dejamos 5 herramientas que descubrimos por medio del internet que le podrá proteger de un ataque.



  • El Defensor (aerosol de pimienta con Bluetooth)

Este dispositivo no es su típico aerosol de pimienta, también lleva una cámara, sirena, GPS, y Bluetooth. Al usarla la cámara de inmediato toma una foto del atacante y la envía al servicio de vigilancia que esta disponible las 24 horas, quienes alertan a las autoridades enviando ayuda a su locación de GPS. Al mismo tiempo sonara una sirena para atraer la atención, y sofocar a su atacante en aerosol de pimienta.
Aprenda mas aquí (información disponible en ingles) :



  • Hebilla del cinturón Anti- Violación 

Esta hebilla del cinturón está diseñada para ser difícil de despegar requiriendo dos manos para desabrochar. Esto actuará como un elemento de disuasión así dándole más tiempo a la victima para reaccionar al ser atacados.
Aprenda más aquí (información disponible en ingles):



  • Alarma Auto-Protectora

¿Necesita una manera rápida de hacer que un atacante piense dos veces antes de actuar y llamar la atención a una situación potencialmente desfavorable? Al presionar el botón de alarma, este dispositivo proyectará una alarma a 130 decibelios. Se puede poner fácilmente en su llavero para acceso fácil.
Aprenda más aquí (información disponible en ingles):



  • Esmalte de uñas para la prevención de violación en citas

Este producto se encuentra todavía en etapas de desarrollo, pero el objetivo de este esmalte de uñas es alertar a individuos de que algún tipo  de droga usada en citas para fines de cometer una violación fue puesta en su bebida. Simplemente sumerja la uña en su bebida, si droga fue colocada en su bebida, su esmalte de uñas cambiara de color.
Aprenda más aquí (información disponible en ingles):



  •  Vasos, Popotes y Posavasos para la prevención de violación en citas

Similar a el esmalte de uñas, hay vasos, popotes, posavasos que cambiaran de color si drogas de citas con fines de cometer una violación han sido detectada en su bebida.
Aprenda más aquí (información disponible en ingles): or

5 Horrifying Child Abuse Cases

  1.  “Most Horrifying thing I’ve ever seen”

A 4-year-old, Teghan Skiba, was terrorized, tortured and tormented for 10 days in a shed behind her home by her mom’s boyfriend, Jonathan Douglas Richardson.  Teghan’s mom was away during this time for training with the army reserves.  When arrested, Richardson kept a smirk on his face and mocked officers by saying “what are y’all gonna do?  Tie me down and cut me up?”.

Teghan died three days after being admitted to the hospital.

Read the full news story here:


2.   An Urge Leads to Child Abuse

A Milwaukee man is accused abusing his child when he had an urge to squeeze the baby tightly, which resulted in her face turning red and eyes becoming bloodshot and several rib fractures.  He also had an urge and pushed his index finger all the way down the child’s through.

Read the full news story here:


3.  Found in the Freezer


In detroit, police were serving an eviction order and were clearing the apartment.  Inside of the freezer was a bag that included the bodies of two small children.  One was an 11-year-old boy and the other was a 14-year-old girl.

Read the full story here:

4.  Babysitter Texts Reveal Child Abuse


Ashley Dack always volunteered to help babysite people’s kids.  Everyone thought that Ashley was one of the best babysitters around and never imagined she could do such horrible things.  Dack would consistently send pictures and texts to her boyfriend, Patrick Schuneman, of her sexual assaults on the children she was babysitting.

Read the full story here:

5.  Eating Toothpaste to Stay Alive

torture - boy

Sharon Glass and Michael Marshall were arrested in March of 2012 for abusing Marshall’s 13-year-old son.  This case of abuse includes locking the boy up in closets and zip tie  him to his bed, starving him for days.  Glass could get more than 100 years in prison and Marhsall is facing 20 to 40 years in prison.

Read the full story here:

5 Rape Deterrent Tools

Rape is never the fault of the survivor.  However, there are things that you can do to help protect yourself and defend from a potential attack.  Here are 5 interesting tools that we found from the corners of the internet to help you defend from a potential attack.



  • The Defender (Bluetooth pepper spray)

Talk about an all-in-one device.  This device not only includes your typical pepper spray but also includes a camera, siren, gps, and Bluetooth.  When used the camera will immediately snap a picture of your attacker and send it to the 24/7 monitoring service, which will alert the authorities and send help to your gps location.  It will simultaneously sound a siren to attract attention, and douse your attacker in pepper spray.

Learn more here:



  • Anti-Rape Belt Buckle

This belt buckle is designed to be difficult in taking off and will require two hands to unbuckle.  This will act as a deterrent and will also a person more time to react when they are attacked.

Check it out here:



  • Self-Protection Alarm

Need a quick way to make an attacker think twice and draw attention to a potentially hostile situation.  Press the alarm button and this device will project an alarm at 130 decibels.  It can be easily put on a ring with your car keys for easy access.

Shop for one here:



  • Date Rape Nail Polish

This product is still in the development stages, but this nail polish aims to alert individuals to possible date rape drugs that may have been put into your drink.  You simply submerge your fingernail in your drink (not necessarily proper etiquette), but if date rape drugs have been placed in your drink, your fingernail polish will turn colors.

Learn more by visiting their facebook page:



  • Date Rape Cups,  Straws, and coasters

Working similar to the date rape nail polish, there a cups, straws & coasters that will change colors when date rape drugs are detected in your drink.

Learn more about these products: or