DANVILLE, Ind. – A domestic violence shelter that has provided a safe haven for women and children for nearly two decades now plans to take in men as well.
Sheltering Wings in Danville, Indiana, has raised thousands of dollars to renovate their second story to house male victims of domestic abuse.
The shelter is expanding its services to help fill a gender gap.
“Domestic violence is not just a women’s issue,” said Sheltering Wings Board Chair Alyson Lurker. “Nationally, the CDC says one in seven men has experienced severe physical violence from an intimate partner during his lifetime.”
The new facilities will fill a renovated portion of the main shelter, but male and female residents will still be separate. In addition, the shelter runs the identity of everyone who crosses the shelter’s threshold through abuser alert and sex offender registries to ensure the safety and security of all.
The shelter plans to open the expansion this fall. Once it’s open, they’ll be able to house eight male survivors with the option to expand to 12.
Each residential space will have its own bathroom, walk-in closet and they’ll be outfitted with a key-fob system to help keep the facility secure and provide peace of mind.
Along with filling the gender gap, the shelter hopes to help end the stigma associated with men coming forward as domestic violence victims, because everyone deserves to feel safe.
“Our mission hasn’t changed. We’re simply expanding,” said Mecklenburg. “We provide emergency services, teach life skills, address children’s needs and educate people to prevent abuse in the first place.”
The facility also includes a courtyard and playground equipment for children who may accompany the male survivors. There’s also a computer lab and video games for teens.
If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, experts suggest speaking with an advocate using this live chat feature or contacting the National Domestic Violence Hotline by phone at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233), or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY).