Thank you for a tremendous 2014!


Dear Supporters,
Thank you for staying connected with us this year; it’s been a busy one, full of success and transition. Your ongoing financial support has played a pivotal role in the following successes:
-Over 13,000 survivors of domestic violence, their friends, family, and supporters were served at W.O.M.A.N., Inc. We continued to offer empowering peer support, therapy, and advocacy for program participants.
-With the help of our amazing supporter, Ricardo Moreira, we started a Pet Fund for Survivors of Domestic Violence. This fund helps cover the costs of away-hotels or kennel stays, veterinary costs, and pet food when survivors are attempting to leave abusive situations.
-We sustained and grew funding for our innovative, supportive, and collaborative projects including the DVIRC, Support Line, Latina Program, and Therapy Services.
-Our Executive Director, Jill Zawisza, was identified as a Top 20 Thought Leader in California’s anti-DV field by a group of over 100 of her peers across the state.
-Our Peer Services Manager, Mary Martinez, was voted Emerging Leader of the Year by the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence.
-We were voted as one of San Francisco’s Top 49 Favorite Charities for the third year consecutively in PG &E’s 7×7 Annual Contest.
-Our Board President, Lija Farnham received the Nonprofit Board Leader Award at the 2014 Volunteer Center Annual Bay Area Volunteer Awards.
– This Fall, we saw AB 1579- The Healthy Babies Act get signed into law. This is a bill that our Community Liaison Manager, Mariya Taher helped write and that W.O.M.A.N., Inc. sponsored.
-We received the Healthy Mothers Workplace Award for Excellence in Maternal Health and Equity from the Healthy Mothers Workplace Coalition.
-In October, we launched our new website. If you haven’t already, please visit us online at  I think you will find that it is an intuitive system, loaded with helpful information.
2015 is looking to be as eventful as 2014 as we are currently in a strategic planning process. We are setting goals and priorities that will continue to set us apart from other anti-DV agencies and better the lives of survivors

Now is the time to support our exciting evolution, as we move toward healthy and sustainable growth.  Your donation will enable us to be nimble in our approach to supporting and bolstering up survivors of domestic violence. It is easy to give, send a check, or make a donation online.

I am commonly asked ‘what we do’ at W.O.M.A.N., Inc.. Talking about programing fails to capture our impact, and so a beautiful quote from Albert Camus often comes to mind, “In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.” So much of our work at W.O.M.A.N., Inc. focuses on helping survivors of domestic violence connect with their own personal invincible summers. Your support helps us achieve that impact, and it is a priceless gift we hope you will help us give this year, and beyond.
We wish you a happy and peaceful holiday season.
Jill Zawisza

Executive Director
W.O.M.A.N., Inc.

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W.O.M.A.N., Inc. Executive Director, Jill Zawisza, Named as Top 20 Thought Leader

2014 has been a year packed with so much growth, recognition, and exciting new opportunities for our agency. To top it off, we learned this week that our Executive Director, Jill Zawisza, was named as one of the Top 20 Thought Leaders in California’s anti-DV field by a group of over 100 of her peers across the state! A Thought Leader is identified as someone who “reflect(s) their high level of engagement and collaboration with others in the field.”  Jill has spent over twenty years working to end domestic violence and in that time, has made the creation of meaningful collaborations and innovative thinking a priority. We are lucky to experience this daily in our work with her here, at W.O.M.A.N., Inc.  Now, we are assured that others throughout the state witness it too.

Go Jill! We are so very proud of you!!

To read more about the Strongfield Project Network Analysis, click here 

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Blue Shield Against Violence Commits $4.9 million to Support the Anti-DV Field!

The Blue Shield Foundation announced today that they are committing $4.9 million to support anti-DV agencies and projects in California!

“We are incredibly proud to end the year with continued support for organizations that make our state safer and healthier,” said Peter Long, PhD, president and CEO of Blue Shield of California Foundation. “From projects that coach boys to develop healthy relationship habits to new coverage solutions for the remaining uninsured, these grants are strategic investments in a future where everyone has access to affordable healthcare and can live free from domestic violence.”

Included in this round of funding is a project very near and dear to our heart–the Strong Field Project (SFP) Leadership Development Program (LDP) alumni received funding to launch the Movement & Mobilization Institute (MMI). The MMI is a domestic violence (DV) field-led project that will engage leaders from the DV and allied fields to explore the intersection of violence against women with other sectors and social justice movements and identify collaborative strategies to end DV. Our Executive Director, Jill Zawisza,took part in planning and crafting this proposal and will serve on the coordinating committee moving forward.

To see a full list of the impressive grantees, read the foundation’s press release here. 

Many thanks again to the Blue Shield of California Foundation, Blue Shield Against Violence, your support helps foster creative and collaborative strategies to end domestic violence.

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BayWoof Magazine Featured an Article on the W.O.M.A.N. Inc. 2015 Pet Calendar!

Unleashing our Love: Supporting Domestic Violence Survivors and Their Pets

Featured article by Mariya Taher

As the companion of an English Mastiff named Celery, I understand the special bond created between people and their furry friends, especially in times of struggle. unleashedFor survivors of domestic violence and their pets, this bond is often one of survival.
Pets offer the unconditional support and love that survivors don’t receive from their abusive partner and studies reveal survivors often turn to their pets for comfort after episodes of abuse. Sometimes animals try to intervene during violent episodes, putting themselves at great risk of  being harmed, either directly or indirectly.

I work for W.O.M.A.N., Inc., an anti-domestic violence agency serving the San Francisco Bay Area community since 1978. Often, on our 24-hour domestic violence support line, we receive calls from survivors seeking support for their pets. When they are deciding whether or not to leave abusive situations, they are often worried about the safety of their animals.

In fact, studies have shown that potential harm to pets sometimes keeps survivors in abusive relationships longer because they cannot find a place to stay that accepts their beloved animals. The American Humane Society notes that up to 40% of survivors are unable to escape their abusive situations because they fear for their pet’s safety. Another study found that this was the case for one-fifth of the survivors interviewed. For low-income survivors, the inability to financially take care  of  pets also comes into play when deciding whether to leave a violent relationship.

For the past two years, W.O.M.A.N., Inc. has hosted an annual Doggie Walk. This event allows pets and people to come together to celebrate their shared bond and to raise awareness in the community about domestic violence and the distress it inflicts on survivors, including non-human family members such as dog and cat companions.widoggiewalk2014-1

This year’s Doggie Walk, held on July 19, was dedicated to Claire Pierce Moreira, beloved W.O.M.A.N., Inc. volunteer, who passed away this past year. Claire loved her pets very much and always had a goal of helping domestic violence survivors. After her passing, Claire’s husband, Ricardo, donated $1,000 in her name to start a Pet Fund for Survivors. This fund helps cover the costs of away-hotels or kennel stays, veterinary costs, and pet food when survivors are attempting to leave abusive situations.

At this year’s Doggie Walk, Claire’s friends and family, along with our much-appreciated community of supporters, came out with their four-legged companions to honor Claire and her deep compassion for pets and domestic violence survivors. All attendees got the opportunity to enjoy each other’s company on a sunny day while learning about one another’s unique connections to pet abuse, domestic violence, and W.O.M.A.N., Inc. Our brochure, Safety Planning with Pets, was also distributed.

A few fun pet challenges, including “Longest Stay” and “Best Trick”, were thrown into the activities of the day so the dogs could have fun and make us all laugh and smile. This  year, we received donations and support from local businesses, including Jeffrey’s Natural Pet Foods, Noe Valley Pet Co., K9 Scrub Club, and Duboce Park Café. Of course, all the dogs especially enjoyed receiving donated treats throughout the event.

Throughout the month of October, Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we began work on a Pet Animal Calendar, giving community members a chance to have their pets included in it. After receiving submissions from 30 community supporters, we had a tough time determining which furry friends to choose –  so we came up with a creative way to include everyone’s pets. The calendars are now available for purchase and proceeds from sales will fund the ongoing work of W.O.M.A.N., Inc.

To buy your own copy, please visit

2015 Pet CalendarWhen Claire died, we lost a marvelous woman who offered many gifts to survivors and our entire community. Though she is gone, we’re happy to know that her spirit lives on at W.O.M.A.N., Inc. through her Pet Fund for Survivors. If you’d like to donate to the fund, visit and type “Pet Fund” in the field marked Special Purpose.

The issue of pets at risk in domestic violence situations is often overlooked in the field of animal rescue but the work we do is truly life-saving. We greatly appreciate every volunteer and every donation. Join us!

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It’s possible to feel so powerless, so confused by injustice, that you just don’t have the words to express the frustration and deep sadness running through your blood.

This is something that anti domestic violence advocates deal with on a daily basis. We live in this confusing and sometimes isolating space. We see the results of oppression when we sit with survivors of domestic violence. We know how unfair and perverse domestic violence is. So much so that part of doing anti-DV work is building the strength to sit with that knowledge, while doing the best we can to fight the injustices that so many of our program participants experience. It can be one of the hardest parts of this work.

Of course, there is a correlation between racism and domestic violence, it’s just one of the countless intersections that make this work so complicated. For instance, we know that African American women experience domestic violence are alarming rates. In fact, one statistic tells us that African American women expierence domestic violence at 22 times the rate of (cisgender) women of other races.  How can we not explore the intersections between the caterstrophic rates of domestic violence and state violence against African Americans?

Like many of you, we struggle, are struggling and have struggled with the all-important question–WHAT CAN WE DO TO STOP THIS??? How can we best respond to the injustice and state sanctioned murder of Micheal Brown, Eric Garner and countless other African Americans?

blacklivesmatter has been a source of dis/comfort in the past couple of weeks. A comfort because there are groups of people joining a MOVEMENT to end racist violence. They are doing something, speaking out and up, being a part of a critical mass for equality and accountability. The response is an empowering endeavor in an otherwise disempowering situation.

The site is discomforting because seeing statistic after statistic, story after story and statement after statement that outlines the realness of racism in this country is nothing short of heartbreaking.

Let’s all at least consider what WE can do here…can we educate ourselves? Can we join the movement? Can we become self-aware enough to admit and be mindful of our prejudices? The answers are personal; the personal is political.

blacklivesmatter has some tangible readings and suggested activities that can help. It’s an offered start in the process.


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#GivingTuesday Has Arrived!

UPDATE: Order yours today! The pet calendars are going fast! Thanks for the support!
#GivingTuesday is here! Purchase our pet calendar today–its a great way to GIVE and GET! Remember, giving looks good on you! #DVisRUFF
Please share with your friends, family and pet lovers everywhere!
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Thank you, Mariya!


As some of you may know, Team W.O.M.A.N., Inc. is bidding a fond farewell to our Community Liaison Manager, Mariya Taher.
It is a bittersweet ‘so long’, as Mariya is leaving us to further pursue her education in Boston. We just couldn’t let her go without reflecting on the difference she has made to W.O.M.A.N., Inc., and our team.

It was about four years ago when Mariya joined us as a volunteer. It was immediately clear that she was a model volunteer. So, when a position became available we swooped in and asked her to fill the role of DVIRC Content Coordinator. Mariya jumped at the chance, and shepherded this innovative program from the planning stages into reality. Now-a-days, the DVIRC is a model of collaboration known across the state of California. A great deal of it’s success can be attributed to Mariya’s hard work.

There are so many examples of this hard work, but her fundraising work in particular encapsulates her creativity and ‘can do’ attitude. We always knew that Mariya was an avid runner, but when she came to us with her idea for a grassroots fundraising campaign, Run To End Violence, we were elated–as was our bank account. At the end of it all, Mariya brought in about $10,000 in unrestricted funds to W.O.M.A.N., Inc. Mariya’s ability to connect the potential of what could be with her natural talent was inspiring, and it set the tone of our ‘fun’raising moving forward.

When asked what she thought about Mariya’s contributions, our Board President Lija McHugh Farnham said ‘When I think of Mariya, I think of energy, ideas, passion, dedication, and brilliance. She has been such an incredible leader at W.O.M.A.N., Inc. and in the surrounding DV community, and it’s so bittersweet to have to see her go to her next adventure. Thank you, Mariya, for your multitude of contributions to W.O.M.A.N., Inc!

It is with sincere gratitude that we send Mariya off to conquer her next goal, and we know one thing to be true: Mariya will exceed it. This is not goodbye, Mariya, this is good luck, we love you and we honor your work. Your spirit will remain at W.O.M.A.N., Inc. long after you leave.

Team W.O.M.A.N., Inc.

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