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Family Haven marks 25 years of operation in South Forsyth
Georgia first lady Sandra Deal speaks with Cindy Smith, store manager at the Chico’s in Cumming, and Jan Fanning, assistant manager, after Forsyth County Family Haven’s first annual Purple Purpose Luncheon last week in Alpharetta. The domestic violence center used the luncheon to mark its 25th anniversary. - photo by MICAH GREEN

Forsyth County Family Haven Inc.

Mailing address: P.O. Box 1160, Cumming

Phone number: 770-889-6384

24-hour hotline: 770-887-1121


ALPHARETTA — Christy Denton left her abusive husband 13 years ago, and she has just recently begun to speak out about her experience with domestic violence.

“It turned into something worse and spiraled out of control, turning into torment,” Denton told a room full of people wearing purple at The Metropolitan Club last week.

Denton shared her survivor’s story during Forsyth County Family Haven’s inaugural Purple Purpose Luncheon, which celebrated its 25th anniversary of serving domestic violence victims.

“There were times when I thought death would be my only escape,” Denton said. “But I want to focus on my story as a survivor.”

One week after Sept. 11, 2001, Denton had a black eye, her clothing was ripped, and she had been forced to sleep outside. She said she realized she deserved better than that in life. So she prayed.

Soon after, her brother arrived and helped her and her three children leave her then-husband.

That’s when she found Family Haven.

She attended group support counseling and began her road to recovery, physically, emotionally and spiritually. She said she was lucky to have a place to stay with her stepfather and brothers. But not everyone has that option.

“It’s important we support each other,” Denton said. “It’s important we support our sisters.”

The luncheon honored Denton and the numerous other survivors during National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. It also paid tribute to Family Haven’s sponsors who have made the nonprofit’s continued existence possible.

Gov. Nathan Deal’s wife, Sandra Deal, talked about her upbringing and the importance of strong family support to educate people to the dangers of falling into domestic violence in her keynote address. Deal told the audience her father said go to college and get a job to support yourself.

“If you feel that impulse to do something” to help a family member or friend, “do it,” she said.

Family Haven offers a 24-hour crisis line, a 27-bed shelter, counseling and support groups, transitional housing, legal advocacy, community outreach and safe dating education for teens.

A year after leaving her abuser, Christy Denton started college, eventually earning associate’s and bachelor’s degrees. She remarried and is in a “loving and healthy marriage to a man (who) gives love and appreciation.”

Her message to the group was one of hope. She added resources and help are out there, regardless of whether a victim has a family for support.

As a survivor, she said it is important to share her story to help others who may also be looking for a way out.