As the facts come out after the horrific Nov. 5 shooting, the murders that were committed by a convicted batterer, I find myself angrier and angrier.

Above the hurt, I blame and rage. There are many places to point fingers, to claim, “If only.” It feels useless to call politicians, post to the echo chamber of Facebook, sign yet another petition that will go nowhere. I feel helpless.

But last night, as I sat in Family Crisis Services’ shelter, listening to giggling children and sounds of dinner being prepared in the kitchen, I was grounded by the concrete act I could take – a stance, a voice and financial support for my local domestic violence advocacy center.

Even as a board member, it took being in that space and speaking with staff for me to finally make the connection between this mass murder and the work Family Crisis Services does every day to prevent such horrors.

Family Crisis Services not only provides shelter to victims of domestic violence. The organization also offers batterers intervention programming; provides court advocacy, education and support in schools; works with incarcerated women who are victims of domestic violence; leads support groups and an elder program, and staffs a 24-hour hotline (1-800-537-6066 or 874-1973).

So what can we do today, when we set aside our rage, our sadness, our disbelief – when we rise above the haze, the numbness that sets in with yet another mass shooting? I know what I will do. I will support what we have in our community. I will support what’s good, what has not yet been taken away by state and federal budget cuts, what is not controlled by those most distant from it or separated by political views or positions on gun control.

Please join me in doing something today. Donate to Family Crisis Services, or your local domestic violence advocacy center.

Susy Hawes

board member, Family Crisis Services

South Portland