W.O.M.A.N., Inc. is pleased to announce its collaboration with another Mission-based community agency, El/la! El/la is dedicated to serving the Spanish-speaking transgender community of San Francisco, and is a center of solidarity, safety, and support, where members of the organization come together to learn, socialize, and advocate for their rights. As a part of El/la’s health promotion and life issues group, W.O.M.A.N., Inc.’s Latina Program is facilitating a series of Domestic Violence 101 workshops where El/la members can acquire the knowledge to identify and avoid violent relationships, as well as the tools to develop healthy ones. The workshops are conducted in a seminar format to facilitate a mutual exchange of perspectives between volunteers and El/la members.
The domestic violence movement has achieved a great deal since its beginnings in the 1960s, yet many advocates and clients in the field have noted that many services have been designed to address heterosexual relationship abuse alone. Countless injustices have occurred in which LGBTQ survivors have been unable to access services they desperately need due to discrimination, whether the result of overt prejudice or thoughtless ignorance. Transgender survivors of domestic violence often deal with expressions of violence specific to their gender identity, in addition to the same manifestations of abuse that “traditional” (i.e. female, heterosexual) survivors do. This can include emotional abuse focused on the survivor’s gender performance, physical transition, refusal to use the survivor’s preferred name/pronoun, or physical abuse like sexual exploitation and destruction of the survivor’s clothing, accessories, or even hormone treatments. Additionally, transgender survivors are more likely to face discrimination from law enforcement, service providers, and their own friends and family who may love them but fail to understand their experience. These aspects of transgender survivors’ experience accessing domestic violence resources are of great concern to W.O.M.A.N., Inc., for as stated in our core values: “We are committed to survivor-centered services that respect the human rights and diversity of survivors. We believe that services for survivors should be easily accessed with minimal intrusion. Our aim is to eliminate many of the barriers to services that typically exist. We work toward inclusion whenever possible looking for ways in which our services are appropriate to support the survivor, and referring out for services when necessary.”
W.O.M.A.N., Inc. is thus proud to partner with El/la to promote equality in the greater community, and to improve the domestic violence field’s capacity to support all survivors to live lives free of violence.