Oasis Women’s Shelter will soon function as, not only a shelter for battered women, but battered men too. According to Executive Director Andrea Robinson, the shelter will be using part of its $705,000 federal VOCA (Victims of Crime Act) grant to add more beds that will be available to men in the near future.
Robinson said that, with the addition of more beds, Oasis will no longer discriminate against gender when it comes to those who need a safe place to escape domestic violence.
It isn’t that less men are victims of domestic violence, Robinson said, but that fewer men than women report it and seek help.
“Men are less likely to report it because of fear of not being believed,” she said. “I can’t truly say it happens less often to men.”
Robinson said those at Oasis are still working out the logistics for the addition of more beds, but that they hope to be able to offer them by the end of this year.
Oasis is also using the VOCA funds to expand educational services to schools in the seven district Green River Area Development District (GRADD) area. The shelter will be validating a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) program titled “Dating Matters” that teaches middle and high-schoolers about healthy relationships and boundaries.
“In middle school, I didn’t know what domestic violence was — it wasn’t something we talked about,” Robinson said, adding that this program will enlighten today’s children about the dangers of domestic violence at critical ages.
The $705,000 will also go toward Oasis’ first full-time therapist. Oasis currently offers its victims clinical support services through counselors.
“When someone’s going through their trauma narrative, they’re being asked to resurface a lot of issues, including drug abuse and domestic abuse,” she said. “A therapist will help them dig a little deeper into their trauma.”