TOPEKA (KSNT) – There is a new nonprofit in town and its aim is to help victims of domestic abuse. Its founder says they focus helping those victims find a new start.
After decades of abusive relationships, Darlene Waters has broken free.
“It took me 40 years almost,” says Darlene Waters, founder of Kaitlin’s Kloset. “I don’t want that to happen to someone else.”
Providing assistance to people who were once in abusive situations, like Darlene, is how Kaitlin’s Kloset was born.
The nonprofit offers support groups and career building techniques, as well as attire to dress the part.
“They have someone on the other side that understands what they’re going through, understands what they’ve been through, and understands where they want to go,” Waters says.
Kaitlin’s Kloset came out of Water’s history of abuse from childhood through adulthood. The name comes from the baby she lost to an abusive boyfriend.
“Part of this is believing in something outside of yourself, so you can start believing in yourself,” Waters says.
It’s a safe haven for domestic abuse survivors, but it also assists those struggling with gender identity, sexual orientation, and families affected by post-traumatic stress disorder.
Julie Cote is a volunteer with the nonprofit. Her husband is a veteran experiencing PTSD.
“The VA doesn’t really have the resources for the younger generation to deal with that kind of triggers or meltdowns,” Cote says.
According to the Kansas Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Abuse, 81 percent of victims report long term psychological issues.
“The sidewalk keeps going and going and going. The survivors need to keep walking that sidewalk, but they are going to need help stepping over those cracks,” Cote says.
Waters says she hopes the community welcomes Kaitlin’s Kloset with open arms. The group hopes to start seeing clients the first week of September.
A silent auction is planned for this upcoming Friday at Kaitlin’s Kloset from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday on the third floor of 707 S.E. Quincy St.