“When I grow up I want to be a police officer. I want to help people who have been beaten and nail the bad guys who are committing crimes and being violent. ”
Austin is 13, and has called Sheltering Wings home for the past year. When you read his words, your first reaction might be that he is simply lashing out at the man whose abuse he witnessed every day. But sit down across from him, and you’ll quickly realize that isn’t the case.
“My family is healing,” he tells us. So is Austin. “I am less angry at my abusers, and my attitude is improving. I feel more safe and am a happier person since coming to live here.”
Domestic abuse is a cycle. Without intervention, that cycle becomes perpetual. Young boys come to see abuse as the normal way to treat women, and young girls come to expect that abuse is some sort of manifestation of love. That’s why we invest so much time and energy into the boys and girls who arrive here with their mothers. If we can show them what healthy relationships look like and teach them that nobody deserves to be abused, we can stop that cycle.
Austin appreciates having a roof over his head and knowing that his family’s abuser can’t get to them. He understands that when his mother is ready to move on, she’ll have the support she needs to keep the family safe and independent. And he’s learning a lot from the men who volunteer with us. Most of all, he’s seeing how a real man treats the women in his life.
“If I had to give advice to other children or teens in a domestic violence situation I would I say I know how it feels, being hurt by bullies who are all shapes and sizes,” he adds. “Think about things in your life that do make you happy and push out all the negative things. “ How many 13-year-olds have acquired that kind of wisdom?
Your prayerful support of our Children’s Program creates real results. And in a decade or so, we suspect Austin will wave and smile to you as his police car rolls past your home. You helped us protect him, and one day, he’ll return the favor.
In His Service,