Nonprofit Gives Hope to Domestic Violence Victims
Writer / Kevin Carr, Communications and Church Relations Officer, Sheltering Wings
This is my favorite question to ask people involved with Sheltering Wings, our domestic violence shelter. It’s my favorite because their “why” almost always reveals a “who.”
Why do you do what you do? Why are you a volunteer, coach, leader, advocate, donor or mentor? People’s answers reveal the nuances of their character, experiences, strengths and values.
Why do you work for, support, volunteer for, or speak highly of Sheltering Wings?
Though every answer is unique, most have to do with concern for social justice, a religious calling, or personal experience. Here are real answers I’ve heard recently from my co-workers at Sheltering Wings:
Concern for Social Justice
“So the next generation of children don’t have to live in the cycle of abuse.”
“Every person has value, brings important contributions to their family and community, and deserves to be safe and feel loved and appreciated. Helping to build community and family cultures toward this end is something I feel very passionate about.”
“Because people deserve to be in relationships filled with love, respect and honor.”
“I felt God calling me to help those in need. If I could just help one person see the life God had intended for them and help them on the path, I would feel like I was doing my part.”
“I do this for the crisis calls that never made it in – the ones that I lose sleep praying over and hoping that one day God brings them justice and peace.”
“Every time I share a presentation, I pray, ‘God, open the hearts of those who need to hear this today, and let them receive the love you intend for them to have in their life.’ That is my ‘why’.”
“Several of the people I love the most have been marked by it profoundly. I want to do for others what I wish someone had done for them.”
“I have experienced firsthand the damage it does, not only to the survivor but to the children. Most victims lose their voice in the midst of the chaos, so I can be a voice until they can gain theirs back.”
“I do this for my high school friend whose boyfriend hit her. She felt like she couldn’t tell anyone out of shame. I also do this for my college friend who was raped by her boyfriend, and was too ashamed and scared to say anything.”
“My sister went through many hardships, domestic violence being one of them. At the time I didn’t understand because I didn’t know the dynamics of abuse. Now, having four kids of my own, my eyes are open. They don’t have to be victims. I can prevent it from happening to them.”
Did you notice the common ground? People. Everyone who works for, supports, or volunteers at Sheltering Wings does so for the sake of a person – a parent, a child, a sibling, a friend, or even him or herself.
Because one in four women and one in seven men experience severe physical violence from an intimate partner during their lifetime according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey, you likely have a “who” as well. Scroll through the contacts in your phone. Without knowing it, you will read names – maybe many names – of people who know the fear and hopelessness of domestic abuse firsthand. It is in your family, neighborhood, church, workplace or mirror.
If you are experiencing domestic abuse, you deserve better. Speak to a Sheltering Wings advocate by contacting our 24/7 helpline at 317-745-1496.
If you are reading this article, you have a “why”. It might be justice, calling or experience. Most likely, it is the person you’re picturing in your mind right at this moment. For his or her sake, partner with us by being vigilant and showing compassion. Your involvement may be what ends or prevents violence. You might participate in the pivotal moment – the time when someone’s life is changed.
If you want more information about Sheltering Wings or if you have questions, visit shelteringwings.org or call 317-745-1496.
Sheltering Wings’ Mission is to provide emergency housing for men, women and children escaping domestic abuse, and to help them build stable, independent lives through life-skills programs and services for children and youth, offered in a supportive and Christ-centered environment. Visit shelteringwings.org/about-us.
Domestic Abuse Isn’t Only Physical
Although domestic abuse is often physical, it can also be verbal, psychological, financial, sexual, spiritual or electronic/digital, and always involves an abuser’s efforts to achieve, exert and maintain power and control. Visit shelteringwings.org/is-this-abuse.