Friday, October 28, 2011

Purple Butterfly

By Marcelina Mulawa and Isabel Moshi,
Roosevelt University Students

Have you seen a purple butterfly lately? The purple butterfly can easily be spotted in the Northwest Suburbs on brochures that inform women how to “get safe” in an abusive relationship. The WINGS and Northwest Community Hospital (NCH) partnership uses this easily-recognizable purple butterfly logo. The purple color of the butterfly signifies “Domestic Violence”. The butterfly’s wings signify WINGS’ motto: “Women In Need Getting Stronger” –a reminder that a woman being abused in a domestic violence situation needs to get away and to be strong enough to let it go. Instead, she needs to move to a better place that can help her.

WINGS and NCH can—and does--help that happen.

Because this partner program is exceptional in what they offer and do for victims of domestic violence, they have become a model for other hospitals and non-profits partnerships which may be trying to incorporate similar programs. One way in which WINGS makes itself known at NCH is to have pamphlets available around the facility—especially the bathrooms. These pamphlets are small enough to fold and be hidden in a shoebox, and are made of material that can’t be ripped or destroyed. Consequently, women who see and take them can learn about WINGS and its programs, and see how to contact the organization for help.

Northwest Community Hospital
In addition to having the brochures available at NCH, Anna Vann, a licensed therapist for WINGS works at the hospital, in Arlington Heights, to do assessments and referrals for patients, families, staff, and community partners. Another part of her job is educating physicians and nurses at the hospital, as well as other community partners about domestic violence and what they can do to help those who are victims.

The WINGS program is a program for Women In Need Growing Strong, and it is part of the Northwest Suburban Alliance on Domestic Violence. This program, which services the northwest side of Chicago including the northwest suburbs, works closely with Northwest Community Hospital in Arlington Heights.

Primary goal for the WINGS program is to help women and children who are victims of domestic violence, but it also helps men who are victims of domestic violence. Several ways it does this are with
• Transitional housing programs
• Resale shops
• Community outreach programs
• Hospital-based programs

WINGS also offers a safe house for women and children who can stay at this particular location so that they are separated physically from the person who is abusing them and can find a place where they feel they can be safe.

There are many types of cases in which the WINGS program can help anyone who is a victim. In addition to being victims of domestic violence, victims also may have other issues. Abuse can take many forms: physical, emotional, psychological, and financial. All of these are increasing in today’s fast-paced environment. Though all types of cases may differ, the WINGS program tries to help with any situation victims may be in.

WINGS has found that men too can be victims of domestic violence. Although women victims generally have more resources and opportunities for help, does have the option for an abused male to come into this program. WINGS is unique in that it provides equal services to men and women with the exception of the safe house. That’s only for women and their children under 12 years of age.

Roosevelt University Students are learning about domestic violence in their Writing Social Justice course. Photo courtesy of Holly Swanson.

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