For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.— TIMOTHY 1:7
I’ve occasionally wondered if using the terms “emergency housing” and “emergency services” ever deters someone from seeking assistance when escaping domestic abuse. After all, deciding whether one’s situation is an emergency is a matter of perspective. A person who has experienced abuse throughout life, who watched parents verbally and/or physically assault one another, and who sees friends and relatives in unhealthy relationships may view his or her own circumstances as normal. “I’m not in an emergency situation,” they may think. “I don’t need to call the crisis line. This relationship is just what it is.”
It’s a way of thinking that troubles me. You see, someone who becomes accustomed to this negative pattern of behavior may accept it as normal. That makes them difficult for us to reach, even though they’re often the people who need help the most! Abuse escalates over time, so abusive relationships can be both chronic and critical. Our staff members who take help line calls have specialized training. When a victim (or someone who knows a victim) calls, they use standardized assessments to gauge the degree of danger, so they can recommend the best course of action. Some callers need safe housing. Others need referrals, safety planning, and support. No matter what their situation, Sheltering Wings is ready to help anyone who calls our help line, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. If you or someone you know needs assistance, or just has questions about abuse, please call us.