Key Elements to the American Way of Life…

Key Elements to the American Way of Life…

Dear Friends, This is the month in which we spend a lot of time talking about freedom and independence. Those are key elements of the American way of life … but they’re also very important to victims of domestic abuse. Much of the work we perform at Sheltering Wings is focused on freeing women from abuse and the fear that goes with it while helping them live safe, independent lives. But there’s another freedom that’s important here. We have to free women of the responsibility for the abuse they’ve suffered. So often, people blame victims of domestic violence, as if being abused was a conscious choice they made, and one they can stop at any moment. The fact is that the blame for abuse rests wholly with the abuser. There is never an excuse or valid justification for domestic abuse, and if we are going to succeed at eliminating it, we have to help abusers recognize that their behavior is unacceptable. Unless we begin to change the beliefs, attitudes, and actions of abusers, the only thing we’ll be able to do is help victims. I hope you’ll continue your prayerful support of the work Sheltering Wings does for women and children who are trying to escape abuse and discover the true freedom of living lives that are safe from violence and other forms of abuse. Thank you for everything you do.   Abiding in Him, Cassie Martin Executive...

It Takes a Community

Dear Friends, It takes a community to overcome the effects of domestic violence. You know that Sheltering Wings plays an important role, but we couldn’t transform the lives of women and children escaping domestic violence without a coordinated community response. That response includes a collaborative effort involving law enforcement agencies, healthcare providers, the judicial system, schools and other educational organizations, churches, and many others. We all work together to address the many needs of victims as they restore and rebuild their lives, replacing fear with hope. It also includes you. You have the power to educate others around you about domestic violence’s impact. You can respond to friends and others who make uninformed statements or brush domestic violence off as somebody else’s business. And most of all, you can help someone in an abusive situation obtain help. A good place to start is our 24-hour Help Line at 317-745-1496. Thank you for your continued prayerful support of the work we do on behalf of women and children, and for being part of a community effort to eliminate domestic violence. Abiding in Him, Cassie Martin Executive...
Why Do They Stay?

Why Do They Stay?

Dear Friends, Do you ever wonder why victims of domestic violence stay with their abusers? It’s a common question, and there are many answers. You’ll see some on social media with the #whyistayed hashtag. One of the most frequent answers that we hear seems especially appropriate to discuss during the month of May: they’re mothers, and they want to protect their children. Their perspective is that by staying, they either continue to provide a place where their kids can live, or they may keep the abuser focused on themselves so he doesn’t touch the kids. And why do victims leave? Once again, it’s often because they’re mothers. They want to protect their kids. They don’t want them to be witnesses to abuse. And they don’t want the kids to grow up believing that abuse is a normal part of a relationship (again, there’s a hashtag you’ll see, #whyileft). No matter why victims stay or leave, Sheltering Wings is here to support them. Whether that involves bringing them to the safety of our shelter or giving them access to resources that help them find safety on their own, we’re dedicated to helping mothers and all victims enjoy stable, independent lives. Your generous and prayerful support makes that all possible. Thank you for everything you do to help mothers, their children, and all the others who seek to remove abuse from their lives. Abiding in Him, Cassie Martin Executive...
Domestic Violence Doesn’t Stay at Home

Domestic Violence Doesn’t Stay at Home

Dear Friends,   Domestic violence doesn’t stay at home when its victims go to work. Think about that for a moment. Most think that abuse is something that happens only behind the closed doors of a home. But for victims who work, that isn’t the case. A national study found that three-quarters of abuse victims had been harassed at work by their husband or partner. More than half were late for work at least five times in the last month because of abuse and 28 percent had to leave early at least five days during the month. And 94 percent of corporate security directors say that domestic violence presents a high security problem for their companies. When victims leave home, the workplace is often the only place their abuser can find and attack them. We know that one in four women experiences abuse during her lifetime. Is your company addressing the victims who work for it? Is there a plan in place to protect workers and to support them if they seek help? Sheltering Wings can provide training for managers about the signs of abuse and what to do when they suspect an employee is a victim. We can also provide awareness training for employees. If your company isn’t already doing this, please have your HR director contact Melissa Echerd at 317-386-5061 or mecherd@shelteringwings.org to discuss what we can do. Thank you for your continued support of Sheltering Wings … and thank you in advance for helping us support people at your workplace! Abiding in Him, Cassie Martin Executive...
Worthy of Honor and Deserving of Respect

Worthy of Honor and Deserving of Respect

Dear Friends,   When most people think of Sheltering Wings, they think of our role as a safe haven for victims of domestic violence. And yes, that’s a major part of why we exist. But what’s just as important is our other roles. Let me spotlight two of those. The first is that we’re a community clearinghouse for all the services and resources that help women escape and recover from abuse. From education, to employment, to emotional resources like counseling and support groups, to parenting support, financial know-how, and help recovering from addiction, we’re a central resource for everything they need. We’ve helped thousands of families who never walked through our doors. The second is our focus on preparing women for their new lives, giving them the information and support they need to create safe and independent lives that are free from abuse. Through personalized case management, support groups, and many of the resources mentioned above, we help women find freedom and long-term stability for themselves and for their children. Our deepest hope is that each person will experience a transformation that will change who she is today and who she’ll be every tomorrow for the rest of her life. She’ll know that she is a person of value, worthy of honor, and deserving of respect. The support you provide does so much more than provide safe shelter for a woman. You’ve helped us make permanent changes in thousands of lives. Thank you for your continued support! Abiding in Him, Cassie Martin Executive...
A Big Step in Eliminating Domestic Violence

A Big Step in Eliminating Domestic Violence

Dear Friends, When February arrives, your thoughts may turn to love. After all, the month’s major holiday is Valentine’s Day. At Sheltering Wings, our thoughts turn to teenagers. That’s because February is also Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month. If teens can begin their dating years knowing the difference between healthy and abusive relationships, they’re less likely to encounter problems in their adult years. Our staff frequently goes into schools and church youth groups to talk with teens about healthy dating relationships, and one of the most important conversations we have is about boundaries. It’s a great subject for parents to discuss, too. We emphasize the importance of communication in establishing healthy boundaries, urging teens to speak up when something bothers them instead of holding it in, to respect their partner’s wishes and feelings, and if disagreements arise, how to compromise in fair, constructive ways. We urge them to offer reassurance and encouragement, because healthy relationships are about building each other up. And we stress the importance of respecting each other’s privacy and personal space. Dating shouldn’t be a 24-hour activity. Boundaries aren’t signs of secrecy or distrust. In fact, they’re the very opposite. They express what makes us comfortable, provide guidelines for the relationship, and protect our individuality. Dating is new territory for teens, and it creates a lot of uncertainty. By taking the time to talk with the teens in your life about healthy relationships, you’re increasing the chances that they’ll have positive experiences and be able to protect themselves when something isn’t right. It may seem small, but it’s a big step in eliminating domestic violence from...