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...
Christmas is About Hope

Christmas is About Hope

Dear Friends, Christmas is about many things. It’s about family and giving. It’s about fellowship and cherished traditions. It’s about sharing. And, it’s even about those amazing once-a-year cookies. But most of all, Christmas is about hope. It’s about God’s greatest gift to the world He created and the hope that baby in the manger offers us all. Hope is central to our work at Sheltering Wings. Every time we watch the news or read the paper, it seems we see stories about the cruelty of domestic violence. Those stories may test our faith and leave us feeling distraught, dismayed and hopeless. That’s perfectly understandable. Yet, when you work with the ladies who are staying at Sheltering Wings, hope isn’t just a concept. It’s something you watch take shape every day. I thought about that while talking with Samantha the other day. Here’s a woman who was abused physically and sexually by her parents when she was a little girl, and who wound up in a marriage with another abuser. Her childhood included being raped and strangled by the two people who were supposed to protect and nurture her. Is it any wonder she stumbled through life with no sense of self-worth? And today? “I am confident, worthy, beautiful, strong, single-minded, self-maintained and I can make healthy decisions now.” Samantha’s confidence and joy are contagious. For the first time in her life, she understands love, feels hope, and has created a relationship with God. Samantha and her daughter have a beautiful future ahead of them. No, it won’t be easy to overcome the legacy of her abuse, but with...
Could you be genuinely thankful?

Could you be genuinely thankful?

Dear Friends, Could you be thankful after you’ve lost everything? Imagine you lost your home and all your possessions. Your marriage evaporated, too, so you lost your identity as a wife. The only things you have are yourself and cab fare that was a gift from a generous police officer. Could you be genuinely thankful? Tiana is. She spent 40 years building a marriage and keeping a home. She raised five children who brought 19 wonderful grandchildren to her. Sounds like a dream? More like a nightmare. You see, Tiana’s husband was abusive. It started with insults and verbal abuse as he plunged into addiction. Then it became physical threats, which were soon followed by actual physical violence. One day, Tiana woke up on the floor in a daze. She had regained consciousness after having been strangled. That was the day she decided she had enough. She moved into her sister’s home, but her husband arrived with a gun and sent threatening texts. He sold her clothes and possessions, and what he couldn’t sell, he burned. Thanks to the police officer, she took a cab to Sheltering Wings. All she had when she arrived was deodorant, soap, a comb, and a hairbrush. Now she’s in counseling and attending classes on empowerment and other topics to help her establish a safe, independent life. She says Sheltering Wings is restoring a gift her parents gave her, but her husband took away: her self-esteem. And she’s so thankful that she says she longs for the day when she can donate money to the shelter in appreciation for the work we do. I’m...