The Inside Story

When Home Isn't Safe

We're pretty good at safety in the US. We teach our kids to look both ways before crossing the road. We tell them not to talk to or take candy from a stranger. We lock our homes and cars, put up cameras, and install alarm systems. As an added layer of security, some of us have dogs or fences to intimidate potential intruders. But what happens when the danger isn't on the outside? What if who you fear lies in bed with you or[...]


"Why didn’t you just leave?"   This is a question our survivors hear a lot. Unfortunately, loved ones, strangers, and even professionals don’t always understand the complexities of abuse and trauma. It's not something you can easily walk away from and it can happen to ANYONE. One survivor shares her perspective:   I was a certified domestic violence advocate[...]

Survivor Series: Breaking Free

~Continued from Survivor Series: Drowning in Infidelity and Emotional Abuse~ It had been almost a year and a half of the lies, the half-truths, and the manipulation. I started to forget what it felt like to be happy. Peace of mind or stability? They didn't exist for me. In February of 2020, my husband resigned from his job to begin working closer to home. After finishing the old job, he asked if we could go for a[...]


On November 14th, 2018, my husband of nearly 6 years came home from an overnight work trip and seemed off. He didn't even acknowledge me when he came in. Something was definitely wrong. As he was unpacking his bag, the text tone of his phone went off. Up until this point, we had had a completely trusting marriage. But something felt different this time. I asked who the text was from, and he immediately tensed[...]


To my lovestruck teenage friends:   First off, I'm not judging you. After all, I was you for a lot of years. And if I'm honest, sometimes I still fall into your dreamy, can't-see-past-that-gorgeous-smile ways. I know you want to be in love. And I'm sure this guy or girl in your life seems like the best thing to ever happen to you, but I have a few questions. I'm not telling you to break up[...]

Stories of Stalking: Part 1

I used to love her. At least I thought I did. Being manipulated feels a lot like love if you've never experienced the real thing before. And I hadn't. We met the summer after my junior year. She was gorgeous, the kind of girl who could hook you with just a glance. Every guy was fighting for her attention so when she set her sights on me, I snatched her up. We started dating shortly after we first hung out, and a whirlwind[...]

The Season of Giving Is Here

Holiday season rolls around once again. And once more,you’re hit by charities left and right asking you to give. You might wonder if it’s even worth it. Does my money even make a difference? Consider what the holidays look like for you and your family: steaming hot turkey and perfectly smooth mashed potatoes; stockings hung over the fireplace; the smell of hot cocoa wafting through the kitchen; kids’[...]

Exhausted & Angry: The Signs of a Bad Student or a Domestic Violence Survivor?

Tick. Tick. Tick. Could time move any slower?? Brent* was struggling to keep his eyelids open, let alone pretend to pay attention, while the English teacher droned on and on about participles and subjunctive tenses and….oh honestly, she might as well have been speaking French. He hated English. The teacher probably hated him for sleeping through every class, failing tests, and forgetting[...]

People Are Hurting; They Need You

In the 30 seconds it will take to complete this sentence, an average of 12 people will have been raped, physically assaulted or stalked by an intimate partner.  Let that sink in for a moment. When you wake up and brush your teeth (dentists recommend 2 minutes), that’s another 48 people. When you spend 15 minutes eating breakfast before work, that’s another 360 people.  If you work a standard 8 hour[...]

Men: We See You Too

Let’s imagine the following scenario together: a friend is telling you about a co-worker they have who was recently assaulted by their spouse. Your friend explains that over the weekend, their co-worker had to be admitted to the hospital after a fight between the co-worker and their spouse escalated to physical violence. Your friend was shocked to learn this as they always thought that their co-worker had such a[...]

A Place To Call Home

I actually did it.  I got out. It still feels surreal to say it - I never thought I would want to leave, let alone find the strength to go through with it. He got me to believe that I deserved it all. “He wouldn’t do this if you were a better partner,” I’d think to myself. “It’s my fault, it’s always my fault.”  These thoughts would spiral until I was drowning in[...]

What Is Advocacy?

Advocacy is a word we use often when we describe the work we do.  When you open an FCC brochure, it’s listed right there as one of our services.  So… what does it mean, exactly? The answer to that is endless. There are so many things our staff do to help the people we serve. Advocacy for one person can look completely different for another.  The things we do one day can be completely different[...]

Grief and the Holidays

Holidays are difficult to navigate after suffering a loss.  They often force you to realize how much your life has changed after losing a loved one.  The way you handle loss is as unique and individual as you are. The most important thing to remember is there is no right or wrong way to handle a holiday after losing someone. The holidays will likely be different so it may be best to approach them this way.[...]

Your Gifts Make a Difference

We host fundraisers, send special letters, hand deliver Christmas cards, and so much more.  Why?  Why do we ask you - the general public, the business community, the church community, faithful supporters - to donate to us every year?  Sometimes more than once a year?  The answer to that goes well beyond balancing a budget.We ask so we can change lives - and many times, save lives too.  When our[...]

Why Don't They Just Leave?

I recently attended a women’s leadership conference.  It had all of the things my inner introvert doesn’t quite love - dancing, actively meeting new people - you get it.  On a break, I had a woman say to me, “I’m really blunt and I just have a question.” You know, how people say ‘no offense’ right after saying something really offensive, as though that gives a free pass?[...]

What If I Told You?

What if I told you that someone you know needs us?  It could be a family member.  It could be a friend.  It could be a neighbor, a coworker, or someone you greet in church each Sunday.  It could be the cashier at the grocery store or the child you see playing outside as soon as the weather is nice enough. What if I told you that all those who need us are facing fear, sorrow, isolation, violence, and so[...]

Two Sides Of A City

I've seen two sides of a city.  I've seen a city come alive as they prepare to host one of the biggest sporting events of the year.  Everything and everyone is buzzing with excitement, and it makes you proud to call that city home.  I've also seen a city become a breeding ground for some of the most atrocious crimes committed against other humans.  A city that welcomes in people from[...]

A Beacon of Light

I’m sitting down to write a piece for Domestic Violence Awareness Month and truly feel at a loss for words.  Things at the agency have been busy.  Busy probably doesn’t do it justice.  The words I’ve heard down the hallways have been “heavy” “urgent” “crazy” “drowning” “devastated.”  I wouldn’t say things at the agency[...]

An Office Tour at FCC

I walked into my office after hours last week.  I had just gotten back in town from a conference and needed to drop off some keys, paperwork, etc. Normal logistical stuff. If you had walked through the office with me, it likely would not have left too much of an impression on you.  Offices, conference room, cubicles, kitchen.  Staff mailboxes, empty office chairs, file cabinets. You might notice a few[...]

Shari Kastein Honored with Awards in Victim Services

We are thrilled to announce that our CEO, Shari Kastein, has been honored with the Award of Excellence in Victim Services and the John & Kay Egan Award for her exceptional work serving victims of crime in Iowa.  Both awards were presented on April 6th during the National Crime Victims’ Rights Week Commemoration event in Des Moines, Iowa, where Shari was a guest speaker. The awards recognize individuals who[...]

Iowa Domestic Violence Helpline Taking Calls

Iowa Domestic Violence Helpline, a statewide domestic violence call center, began taking its first calls on October 1, 2015. The call center, a product of the Iowa Attorney General’s Office, is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. All services provided are completely free and confidential. It will be a great resource for victims and survivors, as well as an asset to the state. Several things took[...]

October Is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

DVAM History Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM) evolved from the "Day of Unity" held in October 1981 and conceived by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. The intent was to connect advocates across the nation who were working to end violence against women and their children. The Day of Unity soon became an entire week devoted to a range of activities conducted at the local, state, and national level. The[...]