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Paducah's Merryman House

Paducah's Merryman House

Mary Foley, executive director of the Merryman House Domestic Crisis Center in Paducah, talks about the services the organization provides to abused women and children. She also discusses expansion efforts to address the intersectionality of substance abuse and domestic violence.
S12 E6 Length 28:07 Premiere: 10.14.16

Paducah’s Merryman House Domestic Crisis Center

When cases of domestic violence make the news, people often ask, why didn’t the victim just leave his or her abuser?

But Mary Foley, executive director of the Merryman House Domestic Crisis Center in Paducah, says that’s not really the right question. She contends that the issue of domestic violence should be examined by looking at all of the obstacles that hamper a victim’s ability to escape.

“Because escaping is a different frame than leaving,” Foley says. “This crime is underpinned in power and control and usually happens over time, [so] when we come to the place where we are helping someone escape, we’re coming at them from a very different direction than ‘Why don’t you just leave?’”

Foley discussed her organization’s work, and the intersection of domestic violence and substance abuse, on KET’s Connections with Renee Shaw.

Merryman House helps domestic violence victims in eight counties of the Jackson Purchase region of western Kentucky. Foley says the organization serves about 750 people a year, including some 150 individuals who need shelter. She says there is no set length of time a client can stay at the house, but she says their programs are designed so that most individuals can leave the emergency shelter in three or four months.

“Domestic violence is such a comprehensive problem in the vast, devastating effects and consequences it can have on so many areas of an individual’s functioning,” Foley says.

The range of services offered by Merryman House break down into three areas: life saving assistance, including the emergency shelter as well as legal and medical support for women, men, or children in crisis; life building services to help survivors with counseling, financial assistance, transportation, and children’s services; and life changing programs to address housing, credit repair and ongoing case management.

“What we work with them on first and foremost is their safety,” says Foley. “That’s what we’re going to establish first: safety, shelter, support… and then grow from there with the client on their journey.”

Once a person is a victim of domestic violence, Foley says they qualify for Merryman House services and advocacy at any time for the rest of their lives.

When Abuse and Drugs Collide
Foley says more than 90 percent of individuals who seek treatment for substance abuse have also endured some form of interpersonal violence. She says some victims turn to drugs or escalate an existing addiction problem as a way to cope with the abuse they’re experiencing. In other cases, she says the perpetrator will encourage drug use as a way of controlling his or her victims. In one particular case, Foley says a client preferred that her abuser did drugs because that meant he would be calmer and less likely to hurt her or her children.

The staff of Merryman House is well equipped to help domestic violence victims deal with trauma, but Foley says that they don’t have expertise in addiction treatment. That’s why the organization has embarked on an effort to partner with other agencies that can help Merryman clients with drug issues.

“So if we know that trauma has such devastating effects to the mind, the body, and the spirit, then why would we not bring on partners that address all of those areas?” Foley asks.

The trick, according to Foley, is to determine which issue to address first. Some clients may need to address an addiction problem before Merryman House can treat them for trauma. She says there can be a fine line between helping trauma victims and pushing them to where they feel unable to cope and start using again.

When clients are ready for trauma treatment, Foley says counselors can use eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy (EMDR) as well as other cognitive behavioral therapies and evidence-based practices that have proven beneficial to domestic violence victims.

A Strong Support System to Rebuild Lives
Trauma is at the root of many maladaptive coping styles and mental health problems, says Foley, especially for younger victims. She says children who have witnessed or directly experienced domestic violence have very specific treatment needs. And if that trauma is left unresolved, it can continue to haunt victims as they get older.

“Many of the adults that we’re dealing with never got the care and the support and the education that they needed as children,” Foley says, “and never got healing for the traumatic experience that they witnessed.”

But Foley stresses there is hope for all domestic violence victims. She says that while the adaptive behaviors that helped clients survive abuse may no longer be needed, they can always learn new behaviors and skills that can enable them to rebuild their lives.

“If there’s breath in your lungs, you’re not too far gone,” says Foley. “I do think it has to start with the choice to turn and go the other direction, and hopefully we will have done a really good job of giving them really good reasons to make that turn, and we’ll be able to stand from a place of grace and understanding to help them on that journey.”

foundation_logo2013This KET article is part of the Inside Opioid Addiction initiative, funded in part by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky.

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  • Wednesday September 8, 2021 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Wednesday September 8, 2021 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Soreyda Benedit Begley and Chris Begley - S10 E3

  • Tuesday September 7, 2021 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Tuesday September 7, 2021 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Tuesday September 7, 2021 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Tuesday September 7, 2021 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Chris Rabb - S10 E1

  • Friday September 3, 2021 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Friday September 3, 2021 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Friday September 3, 2021 2:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Friday September 3, 2021 1:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Friday September 3, 2021 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Friday September 3, 2021 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Tanya Torp and Holly Houston - S9 E46

  • Thursday September 2, 2021 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Thursday September 2, 2021 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Thursday September 2, 2021 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Thursday September 2, 2021 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Frontier Nursing University - S9 E45

  • Wednesday September 1, 2021 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Wednesday September 1, 2021 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Wednesday September 1, 2021 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Wednesday September 1, 2021 4:30 am CT on KETKY

SWAG - Sisters and Supporters Working Against Gun Violence - S9 E44

  • Tuesday August 31, 2021 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Tuesday August 31, 2021 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Tuesday August 31, 2021 2:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Tuesday August 31, 2021 1:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Tuesday August 31, 2021 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Tuesday August 31, 2021 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Marta Miranda - S9 E43

  • Monday August 30, 2021 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Monday August 30, 2021 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Monday August 30, 2021 2:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Monday August 30, 2021 1:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Monday August 30, 2021 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Monday August 30, 2021 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Sarah Taylor Vanover - Early Childhood Education

  • Sunday September 5, 2021 8:00 am ET on KETKY
  • Sunday September 5, 2021 7:00 am CT on KETKY
  • Saturday September 4, 2021 4:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Saturday September 4, 2021 3:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Wednesday September 1, 2021 11:30 pm ET on KET
  • Wednesday September 1, 2021 10:30 pm CT on KET
  • Wednesday September 1, 2021 6:00 pm ET on KET
  • Wednesday September 1, 2021 5:00 pm CT on KET
  • Sunday August 29, 2021 6:00 pm ET on KET2
  • Sunday August 29, 2021 5:00 pm CT on KET2
  • Sunday August 29, 2021 4:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Sunday August 29, 2021 3:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Sunday August 29, 2021 12:00 pm ET on KET
  • Sunday August 29, 2021 11:00 am CT on KET

The Rise of Anti-Asian Violence

  • Sunday August 29, 2021 8:00 am ET on KETKY
  • Sunday August 29, 2021 7:00 am CT on KETKY
  • Saturday August 28, 2021 4:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Saturday August 28, 2021 3:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Wednesday August 25, 2021 11:30 pm ET on KET
  • Wednesday August 25, 2021 10:30 pm CT on KET
  • Wednesday August 25, 2021 6:00 pm ET on KET
  • Wednesday August 25, 2021 5:00 pm CT on KET

Judi Jennings - S9 E42

  • Friday August 27, 2021 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Friday August 27, 2021 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Friday August 27, 2021 2:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Friday August 27, 2021 1:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Friday August 27, 2021 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Friday August 27, 2021 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Dr. Robert Hilgers - S9 E41

  • Thursday August 26, 2021 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Thursday August 26, 2021 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Thursday August 26, 2021 2:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Thursday August 26, 2021 1:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Thursday August 26, 2021 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Thursday August 26, 2021 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Wil James - S9 E40

  • Wednesday August 25, 2021 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Wednesday August 25, 2021 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Wednesday August 25, 2021 2:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Wednesday August 25, 2021 1:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Wednesday August 25, 2021 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Wednesday August 25, 2021 4:30 am CT on KETKY

African Americans and Mental Health - S9 E39

  • Tuesday August 24, 2021 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Tuesday August 24, 2021 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Tuesday August 24, 2021 2:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Tuesday August 24, 2021 1:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Tuesday August 24, 2021 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Tuesday August 24, 2021 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Charisse Gillett - Lexington Theological Seminary - S9 E38

  • Monday August 23, 2021 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Monday August 23, 2021 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Monday August 23, 2021 2:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Monday August 23, 2021 1:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Monday August 23, 2021 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Monday August 23, 2021 4:30 am CT on KETKY
Top

Season 12 Episodes

Kinship Care Activist Katie Okumu

S12 E46 Length 26:27 Premiere Date 8.25.17

Photographer Carol Peachee

S12 E45 Length 28:02 Premiere Date 8.18.17

Kentucky Valley Educational Cooperative

S12 E44 Length 28:28 Premiere Date 8.11.17

Sec. Vickie Yates Brown Glisson

S12 E43 Length 29:17 Premiere Date 8.4.17

Criminal Justice Reform

S12 E42 Length 28:08 Premiere Date 7.28.17

Kayla Rae Whitaker

S12 E41 Length 28:01 Premiere Date 7.14.17

Uncovering Bias in Preschool Education

S12 E40 Length 29:01 Premiere Date 7.7.17

The Latest Data on Kentucky's Kids

S12 E39 Length 28:01 Premiere Date 6.30.17

Building Leadership Skills

S12 E38 Length 29:01 Premiere Date 6.23.17

The Ali Center's Donald Lassere

S12 E37 Length 28:46 Premiere Date 6.16.17

Improving Nutrition in the Daily Diet

S12 E36 Length 27:06 Premiere Date 6.9.17

Alzheimer's Disease

S12 E35 Length 28:19 Premiere Date 6.2.17

Innovation at the Alltech Conference

S12 E34 Length 28:33 Premiere Date 5.26.17

Political Journalist Cokie Roberts

S12 E33 Length 28:06 Premiere Date 5.22.17

2017 Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit

S12 E32 Length 28:03 Premiere Date 5.12.17

Alison Lundergan Grimes

S12 E31 Length 28:37 Premiere Date 5.9.17

Sexual Trauma in the Military

S12 E30 Length 28:01 Premiere Date 5.2.17

Foster Care

S12 E29 Length 28:46 Premiere Date 4.24.17

Justice Secretary John Tilley

S12 E23 Length 29:36 Premiere Date 4.14.17

Job Training in Kentucky

S12 E22 Length 29:31 Premiere Date 3.24.17

Kentucky Tourism

S12 E21 Length 28:01 Premiere Date 2.24.17

Reducing Youth Violence

S12 E20 Length 28:21 Premiere Date 2.17.17

State Treasurer Allison Ball

S12 E19 Length 28:51 Premiere Date 2.10.17

Poverty in America

S12 E18 Length 28:02 Premiere Date 2.3.17

Homelessness in Kentucky

S12 E17 Length 28:46 Premiere Date 1.27.17

Sadiqa Reynolds

S12 E16 Length 28:06 Premiere Date 1.20.17

Cory Jewell Jensen

S12 E15 Length 28:02 Premiere Date 1.13.17

Bill Goodman

S12 E14 Length 28:37 Premiere Date 1.6.17

Promoting Health Equity

S12 E13 Length 29:01 Premiere Date 12.16.16

Kentucky's Teacher of the Year

S12 E12 Length 27:22 Premiere Date 12.9.16

Important Issues for Seniors

S12 E11 Length 28:20 Premiere Date 11.18.16

Nonprofit Organizations

S12 E10 Length 28:22 Premiere Date 11.11.16

Iris Wilbur and Colmon Elridge

S12 E9 Length 28:01 Premiere Date 11.4.16

Alzheimer's Disease

S12 E8 Length 28:32 Premiere Date 10.28.16

Activism Through Music and Art

S12 E7 Length 28:31 Premiere Date 10.21.16

Paducah's Merryman House

S12 E6 Length 28:07 Premiere Date 10.14.16

The Achievement Gap

S12 E5 Length 28:01 Premiere Date 10.7.16

Discussing Domestic Violence

S12 E4 Length 28:32 Premiere Date 9.30.16

Musician Jon Secada

S12 E3 Length 29:13 Premiere Date 9.23.16

Playwright Mitzi Sinnott

S12 E2 Length 27:12 Premiere Date 9.15.16

FDA Chief Dr. Robert Califf

S12 E1 Length 26:26 Premiere Date 9.9.16

Smoking Cessation and Pregnancy

Preview Length 29:32 Premiere Date 9.8.17

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