When you need groceries, a few dollars from the ATM, or just want to satisfy that craving for a chocolate-chip bagel and a cappuccino, you probably don’t think twice. You hop into your car, drive to your destination (grumbling a bit about this month’s swarm of construction projects), get what you need, and head home.
What if you didn’t have a car, or even a driver’s license? Suppose your spouse refused to let you drive (or even walk) anywhere. Imagine being stuck in your house or apartment, unable to visit friends, see your family, go shopping, or just feel the breeze through the car windows.
It may be hard for you to imagine, but it’s a daily reality for many of the women Sheltering Wings serves. You see, domestic violence is all about control, and one of the most powerful (and cruel) forms of control is stealing someone’s freedom of movement. Just the other day I talked with a woman who desperately needs a job … and a car to get there. She can’t walk or use public transportation, because she’s afraid her abuser will find her. Without a car, she can’t get a job, and without a job, she can’t afford a car (we did help her get the driver’s license he prohibited, so that’s a step in the right direction).
It isn’t enough to help victims escape their abusive situations. If we are truly going to serve victims, we must help them build the tools they need to live independently. That’s where our Life Skills program comes in, with the steps to help each woman gain the assets needed to live a safe, stable, independent life. For many, those assets are an education. For others, job skills. And for some, it’s a driver’s license.
Like me, you probably take your independence and freedom to move around for granted. But during this month, as we celebrate our nation’s independence, please take some time to think about what a precious gift it truly is … and prayerfully remember the women who are struggling to achieve their own independence. Your continued support of Sheltering Wings helps them succeed.