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April 2, 2005

New Shelter for Deaf

From: Women's eNews, NY - Apr 2, 2005

By Rasha Elass
WeNews correspondent



Seattle on Monday became the first city in the country to begin building apartments specifically designed to support deaf and deaf-blind women overcoming domestic violence, reported the Seattle Post Intelligencer.

The effort started 19 years ago when Marilyn Smith, a therapist, founded Abused Deaf Women's Advocacy Services after a man killed his deaf wife during a domestic dispute in Seattle. The victim had tried to seek help, but service providers repeatedly turned her away because they were unable to understand or meet her needs.

"The police will talk to the hearing person first," said Lisa Vosburg-Buhl, a deaf victim of abuse, told the Seattle Post Intelligencer through an interpreter. "They think we aren't educated or smart enough, or that we can't communicate, can't understand the legal system."

Often emergency responders grab a deaf woman's hand to calm her down if she is frantic, which limits her ability to communicate, according to the report. Sometimes police arriving at the scene of a domestic dispute will take a statement from the abusive boyfriend or husband and not from the victim because they can't communicate with her, Vosburg-Buhl said.

Sixty-four percent of the $7.7 million project, which will provide 19 apartments of affordable housing to residents comes from state funds.

Copyright 2004 Women's eNews.