You need to know…

In honor of  Women’s History Month

As we celebrate Women’s History Month we look to our past to see how far we have come. We know that victimization though domestic violence transcends the boundaries of gender and sexual orientation. However, women are historically more often victims of domestic violence, and are more likely to be physically abused than men.

Throughout history, women have been seen as the weaker of the sexes in most societies.  The systematic oppression of women has been understood, accepted, and even written to law. This fostered, a world in which women have been seen as products and objects for men. This has allowed for the physical punishment of women by their husbands and other male members of their families. In the past, these laws have given males legal protection from the consequences of their actions. Even in the beginning of the 1900’s, the Supreme Court refused women the right to prosecute their husbands for physical abuse.  However, in the late 1800’s, Maryland was the first state to pass a law that made beating your wife a crime, which was punishable by 40 lashes or a year in jail. It would take many years for effective change to manifest throughout the US.

In the late 1960s/Early 1970s; the women’s movement of the 1960’s and the anti-rape movement of the 1970’s encouraged survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault to speak out, leading to the formation of the domestic violence movement and the formation of women’s crisis centers and hotlines. Grassroots organizing efforts began transforming public consciousness and women’s lives. “We will not be beaten” became the mantra of women across the country organizing to end domestic violence. This theme stems from the notion that women face brutality from their husbands and indifference from social institution.

In 1971, A Woman’s Place (AWP) opened in Urbana as the first battered women’s shelter in Illinois and possibly in the US. This shelter, operated by A Woman’s Fund, was started by four women living cooperatively and was a base of community volunteer efforts. It operated as an independent agency until 2010.

Meanwhile, in the early 1980’s another group of determined citizens and social service providers came together to address CU’s lack of homelessness facilities for women and children. The Women’s Emergency Shelter of Champaign County (WESCC) opened in June, 1985. WESCC became The Center for Women in Transition and added additional shelters and a resale store to its operations.

Years later in 1994, the foundation of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was set in place when Congress passed legislation focused on improving community response and effectiveness of the legal system for victims of abuse, with further protections being added in 2000, 2005, and 2013.

Understanding domestic violence is the leading cause homelessness among women. In 2010, The Center for Women in Transition merged with A Woman’s Place, thereby ensuring that life-saving domestic violence services would continue to be available in Champaign County. This alliance created a powerful continuum of services, connecting women in need to everything from emergency shelter to affordable permanent housing through one agency.

Today, Courage Connection celebrates the legacy of its parent organizations while focusing on a strong future for our clients and our community. As a member of the Champaign-Urbana Continuum of Care, the Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence, and other community collaborations, Courage Connection is committed to identifying and addressing the growing and changing needs for domestic violence services in our community. Courage Connection helps ANYONE affected by domestic violence, no matter of gender or sexual orientation. Our goal is to continue to educate on the dynamics of intimate partner abuse as well as create a societal change toward healthy relationships.





Join First Financial Bank and Courage Connection

Help restock Connections, the retail resale store of Courage Connection located in Lincoln Square, Urbana. As Spring begins, we find gently used clothing of all sizes that are no longer needed in our wardrobes. Consider donating to Connections. Our store is the front door retail operation of Courage Connection, the Champaign – Urbana Domestic Violence Shelter Services. We provide Safety, Support and Success for our clients. We accept donations of women’s, men’s, and children’s clothing of all size ranges in store during our regular business hours. All sale proceeds stay in CU and support Courage Connection services and clients. Have any donation questions, please contact us:

From Monday March 18 thru Saturday March 30, you can drop off gently used donations in the bank lobbies at the following First Financial Bank Locations:

1205 So Neil Street in Champaign, 1611 So Prospect in Champaign, 2510 Philo Road in Urbana and 202 Eastwood in Mahomet






December 19, 2018


Michael Ujcich

Courage Connection, Development Director


Courage Connection would like to congratulate its Executive Director, Isak Griffiths on her new position as Deputy Director of Administration reporting to Champaign County Executive, Darlene Kloeppel. Isak joined Courage Connection in 2014 and was instrumental in the reorganizational leadership of the oldest Domestic Violence agency in North America. During her tenure, she successful maintained crucial services of safety, support and success during the State of Illinois budget crisis. Our agency staff, board of directors and especially our clients wishes to thank Isak for service to our community and wish her the best in her new role. A search for a new Courage Connection Executive Director will begin immediately.