Sheltering Wings Hosts October Events to Raise Awareness of Domestic Violence and Abuse
Writer / Heather Chastain
I had a friend die due to domestic violence. It’s a situation that still weighs heavily on my heart nine years later. We were gym buddies. We saw each other five times a week, talked every day and even spent time outside the gym together occasionally.
When Angela Warnock would speak about her husband, it didn’t sit well with me. She never said anything specific and I was unsure how to broach the subject, so I stayed out of it. It wasn’t until June 22, 2009, when I became involved in an unexpected way. I was a T.V. news producer in Indianapolis and suddenly realized I was reporting on her murder as breaking news during the morning show.
Her death and the details surrounding it haunted me for months. I realized I could never ever let what happened to her happen to anyone else I knew. I wanted to learn how I could have reached out to her and tried to help.
So, I contacted Sheltering Wings and asked to take domestic violence awareness training and learn more about how to educate others.
“Angela’s death was so tragic, but it has opened up a conversation in our community. One we need to have,” says Autumn Bucy, Sheltering Wings Annual Fund Coordinator. She credited em Studio Salon with their annual events to help spread awareness about domestic violence in Angela’s name.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. People are encouraged to wear purple to help spread the word and start the conversation about domestic violence.
“There are things we can do to prevent domestic violence. We can educate the community about what domestic violence and abuse is and who it affects. We don’t just want to speak to women, but we also want to speak to the men as well,” says Melissa Echerd, Sheltering Wings Outreach and Education Coordinator. “We want to help raise men who respect women. We want to help raise girls to respect themselves so they don’t get in these situations.”
Experts say 1 in 4 families are affected, but only 1 in 10 cases are reported.
“We want to stop the cycle of abuse,” Bucy says. “A lot of the kids we see think abuse is normal. They think it happens in every home. They don’t know it’s not normal or acceptable.”
Sheltering Wings is a 68-bed domestic violence shelter centered around helping build stable, independent lives. At press time, 30 women and 34 children were staying with Sheltering Wings and taking part in their programs. Sheltering Wings provides emergency services for victims needing immediate access to safety and shelter. They help provide life skills to help victims become economically and emotionally independent. Children’s services are offered to support the silent victims of abuse. Public education is critical to preventing domestic violence. Every Thursday, Sheltering Wings offers a support group that’s open to the community.
The shelter also provides a 24/7 crisis line (317-745-1496). This is not just for victims of domestic violence, but also for those who suspect they may know someone who needs help and is looking for guidance about how to help.
“The helpline isn’t just for victims,” Bucy says. “So often we hear people are afraid to call because they are worried they are keeping someone from getting the help they need, but they shouldn’t worry. We have multiple lines and people always ready to help.”
Crisis line advisors can help talk to those concerned about possible domestic violence and explain what to look for and give suggestions on how to speak to a potential victim.
During the month of October, help spread the word about domestic violence and abuse. Domestic abuse is the use of controlling or hurtful actions in a couple of dating relationship to gain control through the victim’s fear. It may include any combination of physical, sexual, psychological, emotional and financial abuse or control. Domestic violence happens in every community, at every income level, race, religion, education or gender.
During the month of October, Sheltering Wings has several events planned to help raise awareness.