Healing Hearts with Art Summer Support Group to Begin in July!

WHAT: Healing Hearts with ArtIMG_1917

START DATE: Tuesday July 14th. The group will meet every Tuesday through September 15th*.

TIME: 6:00-7:30pm Groups will start on time and facilitators will not be able to answer the door for anyone who is more than 15 minutes late. Note that this is a drop in group rather than an ongoing group; participants may attend any or all sessions during the series.

LOCATION: W.O.M.A.N., Inc. office, 333 Valencia, Ste. 450(between 14th St. /15th St.)

LANGUAGE: the group will be conducted in English.

This group uses art projects for expression and as a “healing tool”. There will be an art project each week along with other activities such as guided meditations, breathing exercises, etc. We utilize workshops created by A Window Between Worlds. Healing Hearts with Art was designed for anyone who is impacted by domestic violence. Whether you have survived abuse or love someone who has, you are welcome to attend. There will be group agreements that we will review at the beginning of each group. There is a suggested donation of $2 to $20 for each group. You are invited to donate if you wish.

Questions? Contact Shelley at 415-864-4777, extension 309. This is a voicemail number, so she will return your call within a few days. If you have any concerns about your safety in attending the group, we are happy to talk with you more about that and assist with any safety planning you might want, just call our 24 hour Support Line at 415-864-4722

We are unable to offer assistance with childcare during this group.

*One or more sessions may be canceled/modified due to holidays; in that event, participants will be notified in advance.

New Drop-In Support Hours In Effect Starting July 1

Drop In Support July 2015-page-001

Congratulations to our Spring 2015 40-Hour DV Training Graduates!

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We just wrapped up our summer 40-Hour Domestic Violence Training! The collaborative training with The Riley Center welcomed 11 different agencies in either participating or presenting during this cycle.

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Click here to see more photos from graduation day

This was the first cycle where I co-facilitated the entire training. I felt very nostalgic throughout the 5 weeks having once taken the training at W.O.M.A.N. Inc. volunteering, and then graduating to presenting on topics such as DV 101 and Working with Survivors in previous cycles. It was great to work with Jenny McKenzie again and to see all my former colleagues at The Riley Center. It’s even greater to be back at W.O.M.A.N. Inc. doing something that I love and that I am so passionate about. This is where my journey really began and took off! I’m always excited to meet new people wanting to join the movement and see the growth in our community. This was definitely a fun learning experience and I am already looking forward to the Fall!

W.O.M.A.N. Inc. would like to introduce our new group of volunteers:

Jennifer K. Gabriella R, Tammy, Genevieve, Jennifer L, Poonam, Yeji, Alma, Gabriela S. Mia, Hanna and Susie. Congratulations and Welcome to W.O.M.A.N. Inc!

Alicia Padillapaz, Education & Outreach Manager

Paz Con La Soledad: Peace With Solitude – A Survivor Story

Love-Yoursself

(English translation below)

Mirtha se presenta como una mujer emotiva, amena y cordial. Su estilo es respetuoso, prudente. Escucha con atención a su interlocutor, y responde con pausa y tranquilidad. Esta introducción la muestra como una persona afable al trato y a la comunicación con otras personas.

Abandonó su país de origen, El Salvador, hace varios años atrás, principalmente motivada por sus deseos de progreso. Desde entonces se ha esforzado fuertemente para mantenerse trabajando, y así poder enviar dinero a sus hijos que aún permanecen en aquel país.

Durante su permanencia en los Estados Unidos su pareja, Carlos, fue su principal apoyo y compañía. Junto a él pasaba sus días, planeaba sus proyectos, discutía ideas y disfrutaba de la vida cotidiana. Mirtha sentía que estaba enamorada, y que casi no necesitaba otras relaciones para sentirse plena y feliz. Las dificultades frecuentes aparejadas a ser inmigrante latina, como la barrera del lenguaje, el desconocimiento del funcionamiento de las instituciones, el sentimiento de extrañamiento y el desconocimiento general respecto del entorno, también colaboraron para que ella se focalizara de lleno en su cónyuge.

Un buen día la historia que Mirtha había considerado hasta entonces de amor y compañerismo se vio empañada por un desdichado incidente. Como era habitual Carlos fue a recogerla a su trabajo, pero esta vez había bebido, y ella pudo reconocer por sus comportamientos que estaba ebrio. Aún así, decidió subir al automóvil con él. Las cosas empeoraron con rapidez. En lugar de acceder a sus pedidos y sugerencias y conducirse directamente hacia la casa de los dos; él se afanó por seguir bebiendo en la casa de uno de sus amigos. Mirtha no consiguió persuadir a Carlos y acabaron en casa de Juan. Allí, luego de varias horas y muchos tragos más, y en una situación que se incrementaba en tensión, Carlos la golpeó.

Esta había sido la primera vez que su pareja la agredía físicamente. Mirtha se sentía sumamente avergonzada y abatida. Tomó su cartera y se subió a un transporte público que la llevaría a su casa. A pesar de sus esfuerzos no logró contener las lágrimas. Estaba decepcionada, dolida y profundamente enojada con Carlos. La consternaba enormemente la humillación a la que él la había sometido.

Una vez en casa, fue difícil la tarea de organizar sus pensamientos. Se sentía atormentada por tantos sentimientos encontrados. No obstante, Mirtha parecía tener una importante corazonada: este hecho de violencia no podía ser pasado por alto. Algo en su interior le indicaba que si perdonaba este comportamiento y reconciliaba la relación con Carlos, lo sucedido volvería a ocurrir.

En primer lugar, decidió que necesitaba alejarse de él. Así, recurrió a una amiga, solicitándole apoyo y un lugar donde quedarse temporalmente. María, fue de gran ayuda por aquellos días, le brindó contención, escucha y compañía mientras pensaba acerca de cómo resolver el problema en el que se encontraba.

A pesar del cariño que sentía por Carlos, la señal interior que le indicaba que era mejor no pasar por alto el incidente seguía encendida. Finalmente, se resolvió a realizar la denuncia en la policía.

El abatimiento, la consternación, la tristeza duraron mucho tiempo para Mirtha. No obstante su razonamiento le indicaba que Carlos era responsable de las penosas circunstancias que debía afrontar frente a la justicia de los Estados Unidos, ella no podía evitar sentirse culpable. Amigos en común iban a visitarlo a prisión, y luego la llamaban para comentarle que él lloraba por lo ocurrido. Mirtha se sentía partícipe del padecimiento al que estaba sujeto él.

En paralelo, un inmenso sentimiento de soledad había teñido sus días. Claro, por mucho tiempo había estado dedicada a Carlos y a su trabajo, casi no tenía otros conocidos, u actividades por fuera de la relación de pareja. Estaba muy confundida, tenía que empezar a pensar que estaba sola, sin él. Su vida entera parecía ser diferente. Se determinó a buscar un lugar donde ofrecieran terapia. De este modo llegó a W.O.M.A.N. Inc., allí fue parte de los grupos y conoció a otras mujeres que habían pasado circunstancias similares.

Mirtha destaca que concurrir a las reuniones en W.O.M.A.N. Inc. le proporcionó un gran alivio
emocional. Estar rodeada de otras personas que podían comprender sus sentimientos y su problema ayudó a desbaratar paulatinamente la angustia y la confusión que la invadían.

Con el tiempo recobraba su alegría y comenzaba a pensar en las ventajas de encontrarse sola, con su vida. Ahora podía hacer de acuerdo a su deseo, sin necesitar pedir permiso a él. También entonces cayó en la cuenta de que Carlos parecía tener un problema con el alcohol que había comenzado antes de conocerlo incluso, y que había resurgido en un viaje que él realizó meses antes del incidente en la casa de Juan. Ya por entonces, ella había sentido una alarma que le decía que la relación iba camino a disolverse. Desde su regreso de aquel viaje a El Salvador, Carlos se comportó diferente con ella, muchas veces la trataba mal y bebía más que antes.

Cada vez podía ver con mayor claridad que Carlos tenía un problema, y que a pesar de que fuera triste admitirlo, existían repercusiones de esto que alcanzaban a la relación de pareja. Con el paso del tiempo, y a pesar de seguir sintiendo cariño por él, Mirtha ganaba convencimiento respecto de la decisión que tomó al separarse. Actualmente sentía que podía estar bien sola. Se sentía contenta. Contaba con su trabajo, con su amiga María, además había conocido a otras personas en los grupos a los que concurrió en la agencia. Ante todo, este tiempo que había transcurrido luego del distanciamiento con Carlos, le enseñaba que no temía a la soledad, que podía sentirse contenta de esta manera también. Ahora, muchas oportunidades acerca de cómo conducir su vida se presentan, y es ella, felizmente ella, quien puede tomar las decisiones al respecto.

Story shared by Noelia, Latina Program Volunteer


Mirtha presents herself as a pleasant and cordial woman. Her style is respectful, cautious. She listens with great attention and responds with tranquility.

She abandoned her country, El Salvador, several years ago, mainly motivated by her wishes of progress. Since then, she has worked hard to keep herself employed, so that she can send money back home to her children.

During her stay in the United States her partner, Carlos, was her main support and companion.  Together along with him she would spend her days, plan projects, discuss ideas and just enjoy daily life.  Mirtha felt that she was in love, and that she did not need other relationships to feel full and happy.  The frequent difficulties and struggles of being a Latina immigrant such as language barriers, not knowing how institutions worked, missing ones country, and not knowing your environment, were factors to her focus on Carlos.

One day, the story that Mirtha considered one of love and companionship was tarnished by an unfortunate incident.  As usual, Carlos went to pick her up from work, but this time he had been drinking, and she could tell by his behavior that he was drunk.  Even so, she decided to get in the car with him.  Everything happened so fast. Instead of complying with her wishes and suggestions of going to their home, Carlos wanted to keep drinking at his friend’s house.  Mirtha was not able to persuade Carlos and they ended up at Juan’s house. There, after several hours and many drinks, and in a situation in which increased tension, Carlos hit her.

This was the first time that Carlos had assaulted her physically. Mirtha felt embarrassed and low.  She got her purse and rode the bus home. Despite her efforts, she could not contain her tears.  She was disappointed, hurt and profoundly angry at Carlos, the humiliation that he had submitted her too.

Once home, it was a difficult task to organize her thoughts. She felt tormented by all the emotions that she was feeling.  However, Mirtha  was clear that this act of violence could not be disregarded.  Something inside of her told her that if she forgave this behavior and reconciled with Carlos, what just happened would happen again.

First, she decided that she needed to get away from him. So, she resorted to a friend, seeking support and a place to stay temporarily. Maria, her friend, provided so much support to Mirtha during those days while she was trying to resolve the problem that she was in.

Despite the affection that she felt for Carlos, the feeling that she felt within her that told her that she could not let this incident go was still within her. Finally, she decided to make a police report.

The depression, the dismay, and sadness lasted a long time for Mirtha. Even though she knew that Carlos was responsible for his behavior that put him face to face with the United States Justice system, she could not help but feel responsible.  Friends that they shared in common would go visit him in prison, and then they would call her to tell her that Carlos would cry for what happened.  Mirtha felt like she was responsible for the conditions he was going through.

In parallel, an immense feeling of loneliness had clouded her days.  For the longest time she had dedicated her time to Carlos and her job, that she did not know anyone else, or knew of any activities outside of couple activities.  She was very confused; she had to come to terms that she was alone, without him. Her whole life felt like it was different. She was determined to find a place where they offered therapy. In this way, she came to W.O.M.A.N. Inc.; there she was able to participate in groups and meet other women that had gone through similar circumstances.

Mirtha highlights that coming to the groups at W.O.M.A.N. Inc. gave her huge emotional relief.  She said that being surrounded by people that understood her feelings and her problem was a huge help in alleviating her feelings of anguish and confusion.

With time she was able to recover some of the happiness and she was starting to think of all the advantages of being single.  Now, she was able to do things without asking anyone for permission.  Also, she realized that Carlos seemed to have a problem with alcohol that had begun even before she met him, and it had resurfaced during a trip he made ​​months before the incident at Juan’s house.  Even then, she had felt an alarm telling her that the relationship was on its way to dissolve.  Ever since his return from a trip to El Salvador, Carlos behaved differently with her, a lot of times he would treat her badly and he drank even more than before.

Each time she was able to see with clarity that Carlos had a problem, even though it was sad to admit it, there existed repercussions that were impacting the relationship. With the passing of time, and despite still feeling affection for him, Mirtha was able to come to terms with her decision to separate.  Now, she felt that she could feel fine with being alone. She felt happy. She counted on her job, her friend Maria, and other people that she met during groups at W.O.M.A.N. Inc.; Mirtha felt that the time she spent away from Carlos taught her not to be afraid of loneliness, that she could feel happy being alone too. Now, many opportunities about how to lead her life are present, and she is happily herself, the one who can make those decisions.

English translation by Adilia, Latina Program Assistant

Donor Highlight: Shirley Lee

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After attending one of our Community Education Series teen dating seminars, Shirley & her daughter came up with this cute and creative idea to package her polishes in “dating rights” to share with teens participating in future meetings.

1) What is your name and what do you do?

My name is Shirley Lee and I am an international corporate tax consultant. In my spare time, I volunteer for various charitable causes such as animal rescue, homelessness, and breast cancer.

2) How did you first learn about W.O.M.A.N., Inc.?

I first learnt about WOMAN Inc. through a community education event at SF public library last summer. The topic was teen dating and I went with my teenage daughter.

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

My daughter and I are very impressed by the teen dating education event. The presenters are passionate, knowledgeable, and friendly. As a mother, I find the presentation materials extremely useful when discussing the topic of dating with my daughter. I highly recommend parents with teenage children (girls and boys) to attend the teen dating education seminar. We especially like the relationship bill of rights. We had never heard of it until we attended the seminar. We find it so inspiring and feel grateful that WOMAN Inc. brought it to our attention.

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

We hope more people learn about the relationship bill of rights. I think girls especially should be taught the relationship bill of rights from a young age. It helps build healthy relationships all around, not just during dating.

5) Can you share one fun fact about yourself? 
Two of our bunnies (adopted from animal rescue groups) are featured in the 2015 WOMAN Inc pet calendar.


Many thanks to Shirley (and friends) for the thoughtful donation & taking time out of your day to answer your these highlight questions! We appreciate your support!

Latina Community Get-Together at La Red Latina’s First Event of 2015

La Red Latina is organizing the first event of 2015 — a Meet & Greet kind of afternoon with the Latin@ communities at the Fruitvale BART plaza (Oakland).

Date: Thursday, 5/28 at 1-4 pm

Please help us spread the word!Evento Mayo 2015-page-001

If you are bilingual (Spanish) and interested in volunteering to support this event, please contact Paola at paola@womaninc.org

If your agency offers services to the Latin@ communities and is interested in an information table (free of charge) please contact Karla at karla.elias-flores@acgov.org

WINC In The Streets! – Outreach Boos at the Bayview Sunday Streets

Sunday Streets Collage

WINC Outreach was thrilled to participate in the Bayview Sunday Streets – a neighborhood street fair that provides access to community resources in San Francisco.  Not only was it a gorgeous and sunny SF day, but the streets were filled with neighbors and visitors alike partaking in the different offerings from dozens of SF community service providers.  At the WINC booth, we welcomed over 35 visitors who took part in our “WINC for the Camera” art activity. Each participant created their own “Relationship Bill of Rights” and had their picture taken. Stay tuned for our shots on Facebook and like away!