Domestic Violence (Intimate Partner Violence) Non-Profit Interview

Jenny Delacruz serves as the Executive Director of Hazael Haven, Inc. She is passionate about serving women and children experiencing domestic violence, and founded Hazael Haven in 2011 with the help of five women. Jenny is a licensed professional counselor for the state of Pennsylvania. She has served in the social sector field for 10 years as a senior social worker, child and family therapist, and clinician.

Jenny has volunteered as a Life Coach at Epiphany Fellowship Counseling, an Agency Representative for the Division of Social Service, an Events Coordinator at Faith, Hope, and Love Ministry, and an Advocate at Women Rights Humanity & Dignity. She resides in Philadelphia with her husband and son.

Jenny can be contacted at: jdelacruz@hazaelhaven.org or (267)291-4558.


Tell us a little bit about your non-profit.

Hazael Haven’s mission is to provide a safe refuge to women and children who have been affected by intimate partner violence. We offer hope and healing through Christ-centered, biblical approaches to counseling, education, prevention, and outreach.

Why did you start Hazael Haven?

As a family therapist, I came face to face with broken families and the prevalence of intimate partner violence that exists in these families. I began to have dreams of serving victims and prayed for direction.  My burden to serve this vulnerable population grew as I conducted research and discovered the public health crisis that exists in Philadelphia as a result of intimate partner violence.

In 2012, due to lack of a safe shelter, 8,535 requests for shelter were turned away in the Philadelphia region. I shared my ideas of establishing a safe refuge — that would incorporate biblical counseling — with a few friends and they eventually supported me and became our first board members. The Safe Refuge Project and Hazael Haven’s first Board of Directors were established in 2011.

How does the Bible apply to intimate partner violence?

The Bible makes it clear that God is grieved by abuse and that He hates violence. The scriptures offers hope to victims, because God is near to the brokenhearted and revives the crushed in spirit. A few scriptures that can be applied here are: 1 Cor. 3:16-17, and Col. 3:19.

Hazael Haven is a resource to the church as it addresses issues of intimate partner violence in the church and surrounding community.

Why should Christians care about this issue?

Christians should care about domestic abuse (now coined as intimate partner violence), because God hates violence and will judge violent behavior. Intimate Partner Violence destroys marriages and families.

Christians should care because:

  • 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men, in their lifetime, will experience intimate partner violence in the United States.
  • 1 in 15 children are exposed to intimate partner violence (90% are eyewitnesses).
  • 20,000 calls a day nationwide are placed as a result of domestic violence.
  • 72% of all murder/suicides are a result of intimate partner violence.
  • The cost of intimate partner violence  exceeds $8.3 billion a year.
  • Most cases of intimate partner violence are never reported. (Statistics from the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence).
  • Lastly, Christians should care because marriage is a portrait of the gospel, and intimate partner violence shreds that picture apart.

What’s the best way to help someone in a case of intimate partner violence?

The first thing to do is to listen with compassion and immediately address the victim’s safety. Hazael Haven offers resources and support to individuals and churches in developing a safety plan. Developing a safety plan is crucial, because it’s challenging for the victim to be able to think clearly in a crisis.

What should one do if they find themselves in this situation?

Call the domestic violence hotline for help.  1-800-799-SAFE (7233). It’s operated 24 hours a day. Trained advocates are available to assist you.

How can abused women heal and cope?

A victim can find healing in community. We stress the importance of developing a support system. A woman who is abused is overwhelmed by guilt and shame. She blames herself for the violence done to her. She is wounded emotionally and physically. She feels isolated from the world. Christ, working through a safe and loving community, promotes a sense of safety and hope.

In this atmosphere of community, healing is possible. On September 22nd, we will have an Open House to increase awareness about developing support groups and other resources. We encourage any woman who is interested to contact us via email kwest@hazaelhaven.org or call (267)-291-4558 for more information.

How have you seen God at work so far in this non-profit and what are your plans for the future?

With God’s help, we have been able to support women in crisis and provide education and outreach to universities and elementary schools. We have participated in numerous awareness campaigns during community outreach events.

Our vision is to establish a network of safe homes across the Delaware Valley. Hazael Haven is raising funds to launch our pilot project: Safe Refuge. Safe Refuge will serve as a haven for women and children escaping intimate partner violence. See our website for additional information.

It’s a Girl Documentary

{This blog post contains affiliate links.}

In China and India, three of the worst words to hear at the birth of your child are, “It’s a Girl.” Why? In both cultures sons epitomize strength, blessing, and wealth. Daughters represent poverty.

The documentary opens with an Indian couple standing over a giant mound of dirt. Buried beneath the mound are 8 dead baby girls. The Indian woman says,

Women have the power to give life and the power to take it away.”

She would know. All 8 baby girls were killed by her hands as she pushed them into this world. She is just one person involved in this mass gendercide.

In India 1 out of 4 girls does not live past puberty. The mortality rate for girls, ages 1-5, is 50% higher than the mortality rate for boys. If baby girls survive pregnancy and birth, then there is the risk of surviving illness and disease. Many sick girls are neglected, because they are not valued as much as boys.

More than 100,000 women are murdered each year, because they fail to produce sons, or their husband and in-laws are not satisfied with the dowry. (A dowry is basically a large sum of money or possessions given as a gift from the parents of the bride to the grooms family.)

Women are a Commodity

One strong point the documentary makes is how greed is the basis for the dowry system, and in turn much of female feticide and infanticide. Women become commodities that you can casually dispose of, whether by inconvenienced parents who are greedy and don’t want to pay a dowry, or by husbands who are greedy for money through a dowry or through sons.

Many people in India go the less messy route, which is sex selective abortion. In 1994, Indian government outlawed this type of abortion, but cases are rarely investigated, there is no accountability, and these types of abortions are overlooked.

China and the One Child Policy

The Chinese government is very active in enforcing their regulations. This can be seen in the One Child Policy, which was established in 1979. (Rural families are allowed a 2nd child if the 1st child is a girl.) Enforcement of this policy is strict and harsh; violators are subject to forced abortion (up to 9 months) or forced sterilization. Crazy enough, these enforcers of the policy are called the Family Planning Police. Illegal children who have escaped the eyes of the Family Planning Police do not have citizenship and no future in China.

China boasts about their 30 year policy. They say they have prevented over 400 million lives in China. Greater than the entire U.S. population. This number can be broken down to 13 million abortions a year and 1,500 abortions an hour.

This fear of overpopulation and boy preference has resulted in 37 million more men than women in China. With not enough women to marry in China, the prostitution market has exploded, sex trafficking has increased, and child bride kidnapping is a regular occurrence. Every year 70,000 children are stolen from their parents.

The Indian woman from the beginning of the documentary hadn’t thought through the repercussions of taking away life. It can lead to many other evils and injustices.

America’s Common Ground with China

America, like China, has their own number of prevented lives. We just prevent them for different reasons: money, wrong timing, an accident, inconvenience, pressure, and the right of a woman’s choice. There are cases of infanticide in some American abortion clinics, cases of sex selective abortions with moms of multiples, and disposal of children with health problems through abortive means.

In America, we are our own family planning police. We take the lives of our own children (girl or boy.) We have our own mounds of dirt with skeletons buried beneath. Yet — unlike the Indian woman — in America we can’t even call what we destroy life. Hearing about these situations in China and India should appal us, but so should what is happening in America. It’s not just women’s rights here, it is also the right to life.

Nightmare on Lancaster Avenue – The Gosnell Trial

3801 Lancaster Avenue. Only a few minutes drive from my house. At one time my husband lived in an upstairs apartment across the street from this building. For two years I tutored inner city children right down the street, not knowing about the women and children who died at 3801 Lancaster Avenue.

Eventually the local news covered the story. Dr. Kermit Gosnell was running an abortion clinic (Women’s Medical Society) at 3801 Lancaster Ave. An abortion clinic? More like a horror movie. FBI agents and detectives found barely conscious women in the waiting and recovery rooms. They found severed baby feet in jars of water, flea-ridden cats roaming around, cat feces on the stairs, and blood-stained walls, sheets, and chairs.

Gosnell became a millionaire by delivering live babies and then snipping their spine at the back of the neck. Many of these babies were illegal late term abortions. Many of the women were bodily harmed. Two women died. Despite the fact that they did inspections in the 90’s and received several complaints, the Pennsylvania Departments of State and Health and the Philadelphia Department of Public Health did nothing for 20 years. Gosnell is now on trial and charged with 8 counts of murder.

Film Project

Writer and director David Altrogge will be following the trial through his film project, 3801 Lancaster. His first 20 minute documentary introduces the background of the case and gives voice to the exploited patients. Be warned, there are some gruesome photos. Yet, the emotion, degradation, and horror Altrogge portrays in his short documentary is compelling.

The objective of the film project is to give voice to the women in this horror story, uncover the cover-up by state and local oversight agencies, make the public aware, and to make sure this horror story is not repeated. Altrogge recently appeared on Anderson Cooper who is one of the few media outlets to cover the Gosnell case. With abortion being such a controversial topic in our nation it’s no wonder we only hear the sound of silence.

Pro-Gosnell

After watching 3801 Lancaster, I’m surprised groups concerned with human rights, women’s rights,and pro-choice have not spoken up. What Gosnell did to these women was degrading: he tied them up, drugged them, and ultimately showed no concern for their well-being. What he did was not pro-choice; in fact they had no choice. One woman in the film changed her mind about having an abortion, but Gosnell beat her legs and yelled at her; she then woke up in recovery and not pregnant.

Gosnell was not pro-choice, but pro-Gosnell. He made $10,000 to $15,000 each abortion procedure. His choice was money.