By Brenda L. Holmes
DANVILLE — October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and the staff at Sheltering Wings is hoping to shed some light on this social issue.
Each week, the shelter will focus on an aspect of domestic violence and organizers are encouraging the community to get involved. The four areas of focus will be friends and family, churches, teens, and work place.
Linda Wells is the residential services manager for Sheltering Wings. She will be presenting DV 101 for Friends & Family Workshop at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 8 at the shelter.
“I will be giving tips on what people can do to help,” Wells said. “This is for anyone in the community. Even if you don’t know someone who is currently going through domestic violence, I can almost guarantee you will some time in your life.”
She said the workshop should provide some good information.
“I really do believe that education is power,” Wells said. “I am all about educating and informing people.”
During the workshop, she will be encouraging people to be good listeners when they have a friend or family member who may be experiencing domestic violence.
“The first thing I will do is to discuss what domestic violence is,” she said. “There are so many misconceptions out there. I will make it clear what domestic violence truly is.”
Wells said that people trying to help a friend or loved one to flee from an abusive situation must listen to the victim.
“They will know the best time to leave,” she said. “And be understanding. People who are abused have been controlled for so long they need to be supported and be allowed to make their own choices.”
Wells is getting ready to celebrate her 10th year working at Sheltering Wings. As a domestic violence survivor, it's important to her to help other victims.
“I went through this back in the '80s when there were no domestic violence shelters,” she said. “I had one person who didn’t give up on me. For seven years this person supported me with friendship. I will never forget that.”
She started out as a volunteer at Sheltering Wings.
“I completed 150 volunteer services prior to being hired on as a mentor,” Wells said. “From there, I went on to be the lead mentor. I’ve been in the residential services manager position for seven or eight years now.”
She said often times women who are abused cut ties with friends and family. They are often alienated due to a systematic grooming process the abuser instigated.
“Be supportive,” she said. “The main thing is to believe them. Regardless if you agree with their choices or not, they need your support.”
DV 101 — 6:30 p.m. Oct. 8 at Sheltering Wings
Church training — 8 to 10 a.m. Oct. 15 at the Country Club of Indianapolis
Teen Dating Violence & Safe Dating — 6:30 p.m. Oct. 22 at Sheltering Wings
Workplace violence event — 6:30 p.m. Oct. 29 at Sheltering Wings