Roses-smallWINGS Alumni Association Valentine’s Day project Operation Shelter Cupid featured in People Magazine.                                    

CLICK HERE to watch the video.                                  
CLICK HERE to read the article.  

Operation Shelter Cupid provides bouquets of flowers to ensure that Valentine’s Day is a happy day for our clients. It costs $25 to purchase one bouquet. To become a part of this heartwarming project, please CLICK HERE.



Soulful Sunday: Rebecca Darr of WINGS Program, Inc.

As the CEO of WINGS Program, Inc., Rebecca Darr works everyday towards her mission of ending domestic violence and homelessness. Though she finds her work fulfilling, find out how she likes to relax and unwind after a particularly long day.

Soulful Sunday is a weekly dose of inspiration from busy Chicago women who still manage to stay balanced no matter what their career—or life—throws their way. 

Continue reading… 


By Matt Lindner 
Chicago Tribune 

The ubiquity and popularity of social media have made it easier for people to keep track of one another.

“Now everybody knows everybody’s family and friends,” says Barbara Helm, a safe adult advocate with domestic violence shelter and victim services provider Family Shelter Service. “Social media has become such a huge part of everybody’s life, and we have to let everybody know what we’re doing every minute of the day.”

This has presented professionals who work with victims of domestic violence with a host of opportunities and challenges.

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Obtaining an Order of Protection in IL


When an abusive relationship begins to endanger one’s life, an Order of Protection may become necessary. The Order of Protection is a legal order issued by a state court which requires one person to stop harming another person. If the abuser fails follow the court’s order, then the victim can report the abuser to the police or the court.

There are three types of Order of Protection:

Emergency Order ~ This can be obtained based solely on the victim’s testimony to a judge. This order can be granted by the judge without prior notice to the abuser and without the abuser being present in court. This order can be filed even on holidays or weekend or when the court is closed. A petition for a 21-day emergency order before any available circuit or associate judge can be filed. This can last till the victim can have a full hearing for a plenary order which is usually within 14-21 days.

Interim Order ~ This order does not require a full court hearing. However, the abuser must have appeared in court or the abuser must know of the date of the victim’s court hearing before the victim can be given an interim order. The Interim Order is often used to protect the victim in between emergency order expiration and the victim’s full court hearing for a plenary order.

Plenary Order ~ This order can be issued after a court hearing in which the victim and the abuser both present evidence and it can last up to two years. Also there is no limit on the number of times the Plenary Order can be renewed.

A petition for an Order of Protection can be filed in any county. However, if the victim is asking for the abuser to be removed from the home as part of the order of protection then the victim can only file in the county in which the home is located.

Unless, the victim is also filing for a divorce along with the order of protection or the victim has gone to a different county to escape the abuse. However, in such a situation the victim can get possession of the home through a judge in a neighboring county as part of an emergency order.  Then the case would be transferred to the county in which the home is located to get possession in an interim or plenary order.

To a victim, while undergoing abuse, all this may sound too overwhelming. There are many resources to help with such processes and make it easier. It’s important to remember and remind the domestic abuse victims, that they are not alone and there’s much support for victims.

To learn more about Orders Of Protection CLICK HERE.








February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month. Did you know 1 in 3 adolescents in the U.S. is a victim of abuse from a dating partner? Did you know girls and young women between the ages of 16 and 24 experience the highest rate of intimate partner violence–almost triple the national average? Teen dating violence affects many across the nation.

So what is teen dating violence? Behaviors used by teens to gain power and control over their dating partner is considered teen dating violence. These behaviors can include: physical abuse, sexual abuse and emotional abuse.

Communication is a key part to building a healthy relationship. Every relationship has occasional arguments and disagreements-this is normal. How you choose to deal with your disagreements is what really counts. A healthy partner is respectful, trustworthy, honest, dependable and trustworthy.

So what are some characteristics of healthy teen relationships? Good partners aren’t afraid to share their thoughts and feelings. They listen to your ideas and compromise sometimes. They don’t get angry if you spend time with your friends or family. They are comfortable around your family and friends. They are not excessively negative and they are proud of your accomplishments.  They encourage you to do well in school and activities.

There are warning signs one can watch for to decide if they are in an unhealthy relationship. The abusive partner may check their partner’s cell phone, email or social media without permission. The abusive partner may constantly put their partner down along with being extremely jealous or insecure. Other signs are explosive temper, isolation from family or friends, mood swings, possessiveness, telling the partner what to do and making false accusations.

How can you help a friend who is in an unhealthy relationship? Listen to and believe what your friend is telling you. Respect your friend’s right to make decisions about the unhealthy relationship. Support your friend without trying to pressure a break-up. Always respect confidentiality of what is being told to you. Suggest someone your friend might feel comfortable confiding in to discuss options. Give your friend phone numbers to dating abuse helplines.

Being abused is not the victim’s fault. Abusive partners may try to make the abused person take responsibility for the abuse. It is important to know that there’s help, hope and healing after abuse.

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Gaslighting ~ An Effective Form of Emotional Abuse

“You’re making that up.”, “You see everything in the most negative way.”, “Where did you get a crazy idea like that?”, “You have an overactive imagination.”

Have you heard something along these lines from your partner? Do you end up questioning and doubting yourself? Do you often find yourself questioning your instincts?

Gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse in which  the abuser manipulates situations repeatedly to trick the victim into distrusting her own memory and perceptions. The term Gaslighting comes from the 1938 British play, “Gas Light” in which a husband tries to drive his wife crazy by dimming lights powered by gas in their home and then denies that the lights changes when his wife points out the change. In this play, the wife questions her own perceptions and sanity which is exactly what the victim of gaslighting does as well.

There are various gas lighting techniques that the abuser may use on the victim. These techniques throw the victim off topic and can lead them to question their own thoughts, memories and actions

Withholding ~ the abuser pretends to not understand the victim, refuses to listen and declines. For example, the abuser may say “You’re just trying to confuse me.”

Countering~ the abuser questions the victim’s memory, even though the victim is correct. For example, the abuser could say, “Remember what you thought last time and how you were wrong.”

Blocking & Diverting ~ the abuser changes the subjections and questions the victim’s thoughts. For example, the abuser can say, “You’re imagining things.”

Trivializing~ the abuser makes the victim believe that her needs and thoughts aren’t important.  For example, the abuser may ask, “Are you really going to let something so small get in between us?”

Forgetting & Denial ~ the abuser pretends to forget what happened and may also deny promises made to the victim. For example, the abuser may say, “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

According to author and psychoanalyst Robin Stern, Ph.D., the signs of being a victim of gaslighting include:

•You constantly second-guess yourself.

•You ask yourself, “Am I too sensitive?” multiple times a day.

•You often feel confused and even crazy.

•You’re always apologizing to your partner.

•You can’t understand why, with so many apparently good things in your life, you aren’t happier.

•You frequently make excuses for your partner’s behavior to friends and family.

•You find yourself withholding information from friends and family so you don’t have to explain or make excuses.

•You know something is terribly wrong, but you can never quite express what it is, even to yourself.

•You start lying to avoid the put downs and reality twists.

•You have trouble making simple decisions.

•You have the sense that you used to be a very different person – more confident, more fun-loving, and more relaxed.

•You feel hopeless and joyless.

•You feel as though you can’t do anything right.

•You wonder if you are a “good enough” partner.

If you find yourself relating to these signs, then you may be a victim of gaslighting which is emotional abuse. Always remember you’re not alone and there’s help. Reach out to us by calling our 24 hour hotline 847-221-5680.



Last month, Verizon generously donated $250K to WINGS through their HopeLine Program.  We will be receiving an additional $5K from them!  Click here to read how

Homelessness on the rise in the Chicago suburbs

The number of homeless students in the Chicago suburbs has been rising significantly for the past few years. Thousands of teens are preoccupied about where they are going to live, rather than their focus being on school.

Northern Cook County along with DuPage and Lake Counties, have seen the most increase than the rest. In Northwest suburban Cook County the homelessness rate has risen by 55 percent in the past two years with 1,850 students being homeless. In DuPage and Lake Counties, the rate is more than 35 percent per county, with a total of 2,062 students being homeless in both counties.

According to the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, the state counts as homeless students those who are living with relatives or another family as well as those living in motels, shelters or other temporary conditions because of financial hardship or loss of housing.

According to experts, the growth of homeless students is due to the slow recovery of the economy, along with loss of jobs, divorce, or death of parents or some other family dysfunctions.  Schools are making great efforts to identify homeless students with families. Though the number of homeless students in the suburbs has been rising significantly, the federal funding has been the same since 2006-2007. Illinois contributed $3 million to schools in 2009, and after that no more funding was given to schools.


Photo Credit : Tribune

Are you aware of all the warning signs?

A huge first step towards getting help is acknowledging the signs of domestic abuse.  It is important to realize that, one shouldn’t have to live in fear for the sake of love. It can be hard for one to realize that they may be in an abusive relationship because they have been sensitized. For example, a woman may not see her husband’s aggressive behavior as abusive. Though each situation may be different, there is some definite telltale behavior which is demonstrated by abusers

Fear of the partner is the number one sign. When one constantly feels as though they are walking on egg shells and the partner will blow up any time



  • Name calling, insulting, mocking, swearing and putdowns.
  • Discouraging from working or getting an education
  • Constant monitoring of actions
  • Accusing of being unfaithful or having an affair
  • Getting very angry after using drugs or alcohol
  • Controlling how money is spent
  • Humiliating in front of others
  • Threatening to hurt not only the partner but also the children or pets
  • Controlling the use of contraceptives
  • Blaming the partner for abusive incidents
  • Rushing the partner to make decision through “guilt tripping” and sulking.
  • Manipulating the children
  • Always claiming to be right and making all the decisions
  • Lying, cheating, being overly jealous, hiding information
  • Breaking promises, not taking responsibility, refusing to help with housework
  • Disrespecting by interrupting, changing topics, not listening or responding, twisting the partner’s words, saying bad things about the partner’s friends and family.
  • Ignoring and putting down partner’s accomplishments
  • Treating the partner like a sex object
  • Socially isolating the partner by keeping her from seeing her friends and family

These are some of the signs that one may be in an abusive relationship. Remember these are just the signs, however, after the signs things can get worse and lead to physical, sexual, emotional and economical abuse. If you or someone you know is in abusive relationship, please call our 24 hour hotline, 847-221-5680.