About the abbie shelter
The Abbie Shelter is the primary service provider for victims of domestic and sexual violence in the Flathead Valley. The organization’s mission is to promote safety, independence, & empowerment to victims & survivors of domestic & sexual violence. Our programs and services include a 24-hour crisis hotline (Violence Free Crisis Line), emergency shelter (The Abbie), court advocacy, therapeutic services, and community education.
The organization was born in 1976, and began with only the 24-hour hotline. No shelters, no court advocates, no Vagina Monologues… just a handful of inspired and passionate local activists working hard to start a 24-hour hotline for survivors of violence. A national study had recently revealed that 25% of women were experiencing sexual violence in their lifetime. Even more disturbing, 90% of survivors were not telling anyone about these abuses. Never mind reporting to law enforcement or seeking counseling. Survivors were literally silent about this type of violence that was impacting an eighth of the American population. Grassroots, volunteer-lead organizations like ours were popping up all over the country to try to fill the void of services for women who were trying to escape and recover from intimate partner violence (although of course it wasn’t called that yet.)
The women who worked to start this organization – then called the Kalispell Rape Crisis Line – faced a social climate that was significantly “less hospitable” to their work than we do now as we pursue the mission of The Abbie Shelter. We feel a deep connection to the women of our past – the founding mothers, as we call them. They were Edge Walkers. Brave Talkers. Movers and Shakers. Dreamers and Doers. Determined Challengers of the status quo.
They succeeded. Over the past 40 years, what started as our volunteer-led hotline has grown and blossomed into a leading local nonprofit organization with 5 staff, a 4500 square foot shelter facility, court advocacy services, and a therapeutic program offering 2 weekly groups and FREE individual counseling to survivors. In the past 40 years, our organization has fielded close to 50,000 phone calls from people who need help and support.
The Abbie Shelter opened in 1994 and is named for Abigail Fredericks, a vocal and vibrant Flathead Valley peace activist. Abbie had a strong presence among peacemakers in the valley. She was involved in anti-war circles, Quaker circles, the recovery community, and any movement that worked and fought for social justice and peace. She lived peace, and dedicated much of her time to advocating for those who fell through the cracks of a non-peaceful system.
The organization’s work of promoting nonviolence and justice in all its parts is done in honor of all the brave and creative women who refused to be silent about domestic and sexual violence, and in honor of the strength and courage of all survivors of violence.