Local News

Abuse victim center opens in Triangle

Posted April 24, 2009 6:57 a.m. EDT
Updated April 24, 2009 4:08 p.m. EDT

— After two years of construction, Interact of Wake County's Safety and Empowerment Center opened on Friday.

Interact, a private, non-profit, United Way agency, is opening one of the first collaborative centers – providing services for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. A ceremony was held at 10:30 a.m.

The 55,000 square-foot facility is located on Oberlin Road near Cameron Village. The reworked YWCA will be triple the size of Interact’s old office.

“It is an urgent need for us,” Communications outreach specialist Damita Chambers said of the $5 million project. "This building was really a dream come true for us,” Chambers said.

The center will house the Raleigh Police Department’s Family Violence Intervention Unit; Southlight, which provides substance abuse help; Easter Seals UCP, which provide mental health services; and Legal Aid of North Carolina – creating a virtual one-stop location for victims.

“It just made so much sense for it to be in one location. It was just a no-brainer for us,” said Tommy Klein, of the Raleigh Police Department.

The opening of the center has helped Othaey Fisher, 34, see that there are more possibilities now to help people like herself.

“I want them to know there is a place. There is hope and there is comfort,” Fisher said.

Fisher grew up in a home with domestic violence. In order to break the cycle of abuse, Fisher’s mother moved the family into an Interact shelter when she was 16 years old.

“I was just angry. I didn’t know why I had to pick up and move from my home to this place,” Fisher said.

The family stayed at the shelter for three months. Fisher said a counselor took an interest in her and helped provide encouragement.

“She empowered me. She told me to have dreams, make goals for yourself,” Fisher said.

Fisher went on to graduate college and spent 10 years in the Air Force. She now works for the state.