RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - It is estimated that nearly 50,000 abuse victims have lived at Working Against Violence Incorporated. Before, that number was only women and children; until now.
Domestic abuse or sexual assault is not gender-specific. It can happen to anyone - no matter your race, age or gender. WAVI was the first shelter in South Dakota to allow male victims to live in the buildings in 2017. Since then, dozens of men have used the facility.
"Once we were able to change that mindset and be able to open our doors we found that they're being victimized just as females are being victimized," says Kristina Simmons with WAVI.
WAVI is a huge part of the male victim's healing process. Now they have the option to get out of the home where the abuse occurred. WAVI wants its victims to overcome the feeling that it's their fault or they could have prevented the abuse.
"We should be changing the conversation saying why did that abuser hurt you, instead of saying why did you allow that to happen to you," says Simmons.
WAVI encourages victims to come forward. You can contact them at 605-341-3292 or go to the website at wavi.org.