Important Community Update: Building Info & Drop In Support Hours

Hello Community!
The Fog building at 333 Valencia st., where W.O.M.A.N., Inc.’s office is located, is currently under construction and will continue to be through the Fall and Winter 2016.  We wanted you to know that our operations will still continue and will be slightly adjusted due to the times when the noise level is high.
Beginning the week of October 5, our new temporary drop-in support hours will be as follows:
Wednesdays: 2p-3:30p (therapy consults and drop-in support in English/Spanish)
Fridays: 2p-3:30p (drop-in support in English/Spanish)  
​Know that the front of the building looks as though it is completely boarded up but the building is still accessible via a new entry way to the right of our old front door.  Unfortunately, though, the elevator is unreliable as it’s not always working but we will try to be as accommodating as much as we can.​
​We apologize for any inconvenience!
Thank you for understanding!​
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Hola Comunidad!!

El edificio Fog en la 333 Valencia, adonde queda la oficina de W.O.M.A.N., Inc., esta en construcción y seguirá hasta Otoño e Invierno del 2016. Queríamos darles a saber que todavía estamos aquí pero teníamos que hacer algunos cambios a las horas de operación por el ruido de la construcción.

Empezando la semana de Octubre 5, nuestras nuevas, temporal, horas de consulta son las siguientes:

Miércoles: 2pm- 3:30pm (consultas de terapia y consultas sin cita en Ingles y Español)

Viernes: 2pm- 3:30pm (consultas sin cita en Ingles y Español)

De a saber que la entrada del edificio se ve como si esta cerrado pero todavía hay acceso al edificio por una nueva entrada que esta a la derecha de la entrada vieja. Desafortunadamente, nuestro elevador no esta disponible pero haremos todo lo posible para acomodar a todos.

Nos disculpamos por cualquier inconveniente!

Gracias por entender!

Supporting LGBTQ Survivors

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Contributed by former W.O.M.A.N., Inc. volunteer, Jessica Hoh

Talking about intimate partner violence remains a dirty secret in any community, however within LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer) communities discussing this issue is often shrouded with additional layers of shame and stigma. Research suggests that LGBTQ individuals experience higher amounts of violence in general, poverty, incarceration, poverty, suicide, and, unfortunately intimate partner violence as well. These rates are even higher amongst LGBTQ people of color.abuseawareness-ribbon-ctsy-messerwoland-wikimedia-commons

By now it’s commonly understood why LGBTQ communities experience higher rates of oppression: homophobia and transphobia incur bullying, bashing, higher rates of unemployment, etc. With these oppressions, it’s understandable that many LGBTQ individuals seek refuge and safety within queer spaces. Often LGBTQ individuals rely heavily on queer community, especially when their family of origins fail to provide them support and/or safety. These networks can become very powerful, beautiful and healing spaces.

However, we know intimate partner abuse does occur within LGBTQ relationships with
rates similar, (and certain studies report higher rates), to heterosexual couples.
When abuse does occur many survivors are at a loss for what to do, for many reasons. Some of those reasons include:

  • Misunderstanding gender dynamics of abuse: Cultural norms often generalize abuse as occurring solely from male-identified persons towards women. When abuse dynamics look different than that narrative, recognizing occurring abuse can be confusing and challenging. Especially so if a more feminine identified individual is the abuser.
  • Fear of portraying LGBTQ individuals negatively: LGBTQ individuals are often pathologized and “othered.” LGBTQ folks may fear additional negative labels applied to their identities.
  • Distrust of social service agencies: Many LGBTQ survivors are wary when seeking outside assistance due to homophobia and transphobia. Survivors may fear inappropriate questions, disbelief that abuse occurred, and failure for agencies to take abuse seriously. Additionally, as of present, there are no shelters for male-identified survivors. So if someone in a gay relationship experiences violence, they may experience a harder time finding shelter. For transgender survivors, finding shelter of any kind may incur even more difficulties.
  • Fear of alienation from LGBTQ community: Survivors may fear coming forward with abuse because they believe their community will side with the abuser. While this fear occurs in all communities, many LGBTQ individuals have little or no familial support so LGBTQ friends/family may be all the social support they have.        

 

Despite these additional experiences many LGBTQ survivors may experience, there are various ways survivor advocates can be sensitive to these issues:

  • Don’t assume gender: When answering crisis-line calls or working with clients, we often automatically generate gender identities for folks based on appearances and/or vocal tones. Simply asking instead of assuming can eliminate mis-gendering (using incorrect pronouns/names) survivors.
  • Use gender-neutral language: Replace phrases including “ladies” and “guys” with “folks,” “friends,” “person/people,” etc.
  • Hands groupTake extra steps for transgender survivors: Transgender individuals have the highest rates of suicide, bashing, poverty, homelessness and incarceration. They additionally often experience more challenges when seeking emergency shelter. Remember that on top of experience partner abuse, they may also be dealing with a lot of additional oppressions.
  • Keep in mind LGBTQ survivors experience additional hurdles: Remember LGBTQ individuals may not be out to their friends, family and/or employers, they may rely solely on LGBTQ community for support and they may hold shame over being LGBTQ. Being knowledgeable and sensitive to these additional layers will help assist members of these communities better.

Ending domestic violence takes support from the entire community. W.O.M.A.N., Inc. continually strives to be inclusive and supportive to survivors from all walks of life, age groups, race and ethnic backgrounds, gender identities and sexual orientations. I’m proud to be affiliated with such a strong group of individuals working to end domestic violence in all forms.  Keep up the fantastic, amazing work!

Sources: 

1) Renzetti, Claire. Violence in Gay and Lesbian Domestic Partnerships. Chicago: Routledge Press, 1996.

2)  MacKenzie, G. O. Transgender Nation. Bowling Green, OH: Bowling Green State University Popular Press., 1994.

Volunteer Highlight: Ignacia Pérez Botto

1) When did you first get involved with W.O.M.A.N., Inc.?
I got involved with W.O.M.A.N., Inc. in October 2015.e202bb5c-cee6-43d1-8afe-82d9d4d5dabd

2)What inspired you to do anti-violence work?
I have always felt interested in working towards stopping the injustices that are in our society. Since I was a teenager, I wanted to become a psychologist, and when I graduated I had no doubt that I had made the right choice. I started working in human resources and practicing my passion in mental health as a volunteer, mostly with children and families.
Today, anti-violence work is a field I feel committed to, because it combines my passion of the work that I have been doing with families with a challenging issue that affects all kinds of people, no matter nationality, race or level of education.

3)What kind of opportunities have you been involved with here?
Since I finished my training in October of 2015, I have had a lot of different opportunities at W.O.M.A.N., Inc. First, I started covering the support line, and I am still doing that currently.
Later, I started receiving people who come for drop-in support and also got to facilitate a Spanish support group. All of these different areas have been an opportunity to practice containment, support, and also to learn from others. Yes! In this field you never stop learning!

4)How has your involvement impacted your life?
When I moved from Chile to the US, I felt the necessity of being involved with a non-profit organization and started building my entire career around my passion with mental health.
W.O.M.A.N., Inc. was the first place that opened their doors, trusted me and offered a new field to work with. Today, after 6 months, I think that I found a place where I feel comfortable, and where I feel free to express
my opinion and give ideas.

f707a5a0-2bb8-44e5-bbe5-5cf114b3081f5)What pieces of wisdom would you share with new volunteers or community members who are interested in supporting W.O.M.A.N., Inc.?
I would tell them that by doing this job we are agents of change, and that even a small piece of our practice, such as answering a short call or giving a referral, may mean a substantial difference in someone’s life.
To new volunteers, I would say that by doing this job we should be aware that we may feel challenged and sometimes overwhelmed, so it is very important that, as part of our routine we give ourselves a space to practice self-care. This will be a key word if you want to work in helping others.
Finally, I would like to say that, by working in this field I feel that we are powerful agents that can educate our communities towards a better understanding about what domestic violence is about.


Here’s what our team has to say about this stellar volunteer:

“Ignacia has done so much for the Latina Program already. She is always ready to help out in anything and everything. I really appreciate how much she has helped me out.” -Adilia, Echando Pa’lante Coordinator

Summer 2016 40 Hour Domestic Violence Training

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Learn more about our volunteer opportunities here & fill out an application here.

Upon completion of your application, please email Alicia at alicia@womaninc.org to confirm we have received your application.

Donor Highlight: Sormeh Naderi

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What is your name?IMG_4702
Hello! My name is Sormeh Naderi.

How did you first learn about W.O.M.A.N., Inc.?
I was looking to become more involved with my community. I researched numerous smaller non-profit organizations and encountered W.O.M.A.N. Inc. I was truly impressed by their values and their mission, which are in line with mine.

Please tell us about your fundraising efforts for W.O.M.A.N., Inc.
I had two approaches in fundraising for W.O.M.A.N Inc. On my campus, sent a mass email to all staff and students to inform them of the fundraiser. I created a flyer and posted numerous copies around school, I made several announcements to the whole school, and had many conversations with students and staff in depth about the cause. Outside my school efforts, I orchestrated a few gatherings of family and friends. I sent out another mass email and made several phone calls to inform family friends about this cause. My goal was to inform every single individual I knew about an issue that definitely should not be ignored. I was speechless by the amount of positive feedback I received.

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What inspired you to support W.O.M.A.N., Inc’s anti-violence efforts?
Brave survivors who have struggled and been able to bounce back have inspired me to want to aid in such an important cause. No one should have to endure such harrowing events but seeing the outcome of survivors who were able to rise up from rock bottom with the proper support system is truly inspiring. These strong and powerful women are the ones who are going to change the world with their zeal for justice and strength.

What is the impact you hope for your support to have on the community?
I hope that if everyone works together, we will grow as a society that is truly connected by strong, compassionate individuals. Unfortunately there will always be those who wish to hurt others, but if good people work together and empower those who have been wounded, we can teach individuals who have fallen victim to terrible circumstances how truly amazing they are.

Can you share a fun fact about yourself?
One fun fact about me is that I absolutely love the song Dancing Queen and cannot help but break out my dance moves whenever I hear it.

Happy Volunteer Appreciation Week!

The Fall of 2015 group of W.O.M.A.N., Inc. folks who graduated the domestic violence training is one that sticks out for me. Since I began supervising volunteers, each person dedicating their time and energy into the organization has greatly impacted it.  Everyone has a strength they can bring whether it’s being really good at peer counseling, speak another language, reliable, communicative, having an awareness of power and privilege and bringing that to the table, etc. But this group in particular has really shown how impactful community can be.

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This was also the largest group we’ve brought into the Support Line program.  Facilitating a Support Line program training for 14, when it’s normally 7-8 people, in a tiny training space was cozy to say the least, but it was there I noticed how supportive they were of one another.  A few of the volunteers work in the office and I’ll hear about how they will still spend time together outside of W.O.M.A.N., Inc., or just hearing how they speak of one another gives me another sense of the respect they have for one another. One of the biggest things that caught my eye was the support line volunteer listserv we have set up for all volunteers working on the support line.  Normally, the way it’s set up, if a volunteer needs time off from their weekly shift they are responsible for trying to find coverage for their shift.  There have been times in the past when volunteers have had a difficult time finding coverage since volunteers generally have a lot going on in their life which makes sense. Since this new group began working on the line, there have been the normal amount of time-off requests but it’s different now. There’s definitely a higher rate of response from other volunteers available to cover for someone.  I joke with them and with Joy, our Program Assistant, that they actually make our jobs a little easier since they are taking it upon themselves to fill those holes in the schedule. I also loved hearing about how one of our newer volunteers reached out to her pal who went through the Fall training with her and got some needed resources when staff was unavailable during her overnight Saturday shift. 

It’s examples like these that made me want to highlight the Fall 2015 training group.  I really love of how they go to one another for support which is something we try to demonstrate at the organization; we try to show how impactful community can be.  They are an excellent example of community!

~ Mary Martinez, Peer Services Manager

 

Donor Spotlight: Marinda Avalos

10413378_10207049224402989_3885591398712202670_n.jpg1)What is your name?  My name is Marinda.

2)How did you first learn about W.O.M.A.N., Inc.?
I first learned about W.O.M.A.N. Inc. when I was doing research on resource groups available for women in the bay area. I help feed the homeless in West Oakland on Sundays and sometimes I come across women who are asking for help and available resources. I wanted to be able to provide them with a list of resources they could turn to if needed.

3)Please tell us about your fundraising efforts for W.O.M.A.N., Inc.

I put together a punk show for Friday, March 25th in Oakland at Crate. Five local bands are playing: Raised by Zebras, End All, Y Que, Black Dream, and Elderly Abuse. My hope is to raise enough money to purchase bart tickets, motel vouchers, and gift cards for the women who are served by W.O.M.A.N. Inc. and as well as women who I come across in Oakland asking for assistance.

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Raised by Zebras performing at the fundraising event.


4)What inspired you to support W.O.M.A.N., Inc’s anti-violence efforts?

My inspiration for supporting W.O.M.A.N. Inc.’s anti-violence efforts came from myself being affected by violence. A family member of mine was attacked back in October, and she is doing well now but it is still a constant struggle, with legal problems, and feeling safe. She is lucky to have the support of her family, but I know there are a lot of women out there who don’t have that support and turn to organizations such as W.O.M.A.N. Inc to get the resources they so desperately need. I feel it’s our duty as a community to step up and support one another.


5)What is the impact you hope for your support to have on the community?

I hope that these donations can help women escape a dire situation and get to a safe place. I hope to provide a moment of relief and clarity with these donations… sometimes a night a way or a trip to a safe place can be a matter of life and death. It’s not much, but it’s definitely a lot when you’re in need of getting out of a dangerous situation. I also hope to spread more awareness of the serious issue of domestic violence in our community. There are people out there who are affected and sometimes remain in silence. I want the community to know that this problem does exist, and there are things that we can do to help.


6) Can you share a fun fact about yourself?

My favorite thing to do is playing music and going to punk shows!

Staff Hightlight: Adilia Preciado, Echando Pa’lante Coordinator

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1) How long have you been with W.O.M.A.N., Inc.? 
I have been with W.O.M.A.N., Inc. since 2012

2) What is your role at the agency?
My roles have definitely changed throughout the time that I have been here. I started out as a volunteer, doing support line, walk-ins, and Latin@ Program.  A bit after I applied for the Latin@ Program Assistant position.  I have now moved into the position of Echando Pa’lante (EPL) Coordinator. Which is really exciting because I love working with EPL members & planning the meetings AND I still get to do a lot of case management work with LP members:)

3) What are you looking forward to as W.O.M.A.N., Inc. & the Echando Pa’lante program continues to grow?
W.O.M.A.N., Inc and Echando Pa’lante have changed so much in the years that I have been here.  The agency as a whole and EPL were in totally different places then. I know that all of these changes are for the better of the agency and the community that it serves. I feel like W.O.M.A.N., Inc. and EPL are both going in awesome directions and I am super excited to continue to be a part of these changes. I guess I’m just looking forward to W.O.M.A.N., Inc. just becoming even more AMAZING.