Help for domestic violence


Domestic violence is a pattern of verbal or physical abuse that one person in a relationship uses to control another. It is not the same thing as a basic disagreement or conflict. This abuse can happen with any couple whether married or unmarried, heterosexual or gay. Often the emotional and psychological affects are detrimental and long-lasting to victims, including children who witness such abuse.

You may need help if your partner does any of the following:


  • Calls you names
  • Prevents you from contacting family or friends
  • Withholds money
  • Interferes with you getting or keeping a job
  • Threatens or inflicts physical harm
  • Assaults you sexually
  • Stalks you
  • Intimidates you
  • Limits your freedom

Physical and sexual assaults are crimes. Although emotional, verbal, psychological and financial abuses are more difficult to prove, all of these types of assaults have negative effects on a person's emotional well-being, including how he or she is able to function at home and on the job.

You are not alone. You are not at fault. You can get help.

The Nest offers individual and supportive group counseling and for victims of domestic violence.


If you feel like you are in danger, immediately call the police. Keep these numbers with you at all times.


24-Hour resources in Lexington:
Division of Police 911 or 258-3600
Bluegrass Domestic Violence Program 1-800-544-2022
District Court Clerk - Protective Orders 246-2248 (weekdays)
  246-2228 (after hours and weekends)
Sheriff's Office 252-1771
Elsewhere in Kentucky: 1-800-544-2022


To talk with someone at The Nest about concerns related to domestic violence, contact:
Katie Mooney, LCSW Senior Counselor

Divas in Defense Come to The Nest

You have one, precious, unique life and you are worth protecting.

That’s the message Renee Charles and Kim McGinnis, also known as Divas in Defense, gave to participants of The Nest Relationship Recovery Workshop and staff members on Tuesday, October 18 during a self-defense training. Renee and Kim are nurses at Central Baptist Hospital. The Relationship Recover Workshop is a support group for female survivors of domestic violence.

Renee and Kim are trainers in the Divas in Defense program which aims to empower women of all ages with the training and tools needed for self-defense. The approach uses easy, fun activities to teach physical skills. The class also helps women gain the confidence they need to avoid and get away from danger.

“I think every woman has the diva within,” says Kim, explaining that a true “diva” isn’t a pop star but is a woman who can multi-task and draw on her inner strength for herself and those around her. “Our goal is to bring out that inner strength.”

One of the first steps to getting in touch with that inner strength is learning to yell. Yes, some women need to “learn” the skill.  Renee says women are generally taught to not “rock the boat” and are discouraged from fighting back, making them reluctant to scream and to physically attack someone. 

“Women aren’t supposed to say no,” Kim adds. “Historically we’ve been known as a shadow. Well, shadows don’t say very much.”

Breaking out of that quiet voice is the first challenge and one that Renee points to as a favorite part of the class. She loves to hear the yelling increase as women learn to pull on that inner strength to make their voices louder. After her demonstration, which included explaining that yelling “my baby” will get attention, the women tried it until their shouts filled the room.

From there, the duo moves on to demonstrating various approaches an attacker takes—grabbing a woman as she walks by, coming at her from behind and pushing her into a wall. The self-defense tactics concentrate on vulnerable spots on the body—the nose, throat and shins. In every case, the goal for the woman defending herself is to distract the attacker then get away as quickly as possible.

“The moves are very easy,” says Renee, who teaches women to punch, jab, twist away and temporarily incapacitate an attacker. She says the easiest move is a jab to the throat which results in serious pain, allowing the woman time to run away.

During the class Renee and Kim emphasize confidence in trying the self-defense tactics on their class partners. They want women to know if they can’t scream and fight within the safety of the classroom, they won’t be able to do it elsewhere. Practicing is imperative. They also ask participants to weigh embarrassment against the consequences of not fighting back.  

The results of the classes the Divas teach have been positive. “Most of them have truly loved it,” Renee says. “They say it’s something they can really do.” One woman who started out as a quiet participant got so much out of it that she returned for another class with a neighbor.

The Divas want to see that domino effect throughout the community. Even if women don’t return to the class with another student, it’s a success when they share their knowledge and raise awareness for friends about possible dangerous situations.

For example, the trainers advise not talking on the cell phone when walking. It distracts the walker from what’s happening around him or her and encourages relaxation. If the call abruptly ends because of an attack, the person on the other end is likely to assume it’s a dropped call.

Another tip is don’t listen to something through earphones while running or walking. Again, it tunes out the surroundings and making it more difficult to sense an oncoming threat. Use only one earphone to increase alertness.

In working with survivors of domestic violence, Kim says the physical techniques aren’t different but it’s important to emphasize it’s your right to say no. “They deserve to be respected more and you don’t have to be treated that way,” she says. She encourages women to put notes around the house reminding themselves of how valuable and wonderful they are. She also adds, “Your past doesn’t have to dictate your present.”

Kim and Renee are both passionate about sharing what they’ve learned with women of all experiences and backgrounds. “I want people to know that anybody can do it,” Renee says.

For more information about Divas in Defense offerings, go to the HealthworRx at the Central Baptist website.