A Running Journey to Help Domestic Violence Survivors

mariya running to end domestic violence quest

Hello! My name is Mariya Taher, and I am the Community Liaison Manager for W.O.M.A.N., Inc.

In 2012, the agency underwent a fiscal crisis. In response, the entire W.O.M.A.N., Inc. community–volunteers, staff, board members, and current and former clients–came together to make sure that our small, but mighty organization that begun serving survivors of domestic violence in 1978 did not close its doors.

The issue of gender violence is very important to me. Unfortunately, I can say that I have witnessed many friends and family members struggle through intimate partner violence. You might also be able to say that. In fact, many women worldwide can say that as 1 in 3 will experience domestic violence or sexual assault at some point in their lifetime. According to a 2009 World Bank factsheet on the issue, “domestic violence and rape ranks higher than cancer, motor vehicle, accidents, war, and malaria in the global estimates of selected risk factors for increased morbidity, disability and mortality, accounting for an estimated 5 to 16 percent of healthy years of life lost by females aged 15 to 44 years of age.” To end domestic violence in all of our communities, services such as W.O.M.A.N., Inc. are truly needed. These vital agencies need our support when they fall under financial stress.

For my part, I helped W.O.M.A.N., Inc. create a campaign called Running to End Domestic Violence in which I ran 6 half marathons in 6 months to raise $10,000. The funds were needed to support W.O.M.A.N., Inc.’s  24-hour Support Line, Therapy Program, Peer Counseling, Support Groups, and Case Management Services. It was challenging, because at that point in my life I had never attempted to run so many races in such a short period of time (I’ve come a long way since then, having completed over 10 marathons last year). I remember spraining my ankle and having to run the last 4 races on an injured foot. Not a very smart choice, I know, but I was committed to the campaign and the cause that it supported.

Many friends and family members of mine were committed to helping me accomplish my goals. Even those who were unable to donate supported me with their encouraging words and pep talks, and allowing me to share my journey through Runway Junkie’s blog or in an international newspaper. Two volunteers even created videos of my journey to promote the campaign and help bring greater attention to how widespread domestic violence is in our society today. I am forever grateful for all of their support. Because of all the help, W.O.M.A.N., Inc. rebounded from the financial crisis and was voted Favorite Women’s Empowerment Group by 7×7 Magazine in 2012.

And now, I’m asking for your help again, but this time it isn’t for me. After my running campaign ended, our agency created a new wellness program called Connect. Unify. Evolve. For a resilient and peaceful community or, as we like to call it, C.U.E. This year, C.U.E. is helping to promote health and wellness through many different events for the community. One big milestone for C.U.E. is that W.O.M.A.N., Inc. is an Official Charity for the Transamerica® Rock’n’Roll Half Marathon San Francisco™.

For the past two months, our agency has been recruiting people to join our W.O.M.A.N., Inc. team. The team consists of staff, volunteers, and community members who support our organization. Many of them are hoping to complete their first ½ marathon either by running or walking that great distance. The team is also fundraising for our agency, and each participant is committed to raising at least $300. In order to help the W.O.M.A.N., Inc. team, our agency will be involved in several different fundraising efforts. I am so proud of this group of committed folks who are striving to make a difference in their lives as well as in the lives of domestic violence survivors and their communities.

And this is where I ask for your help. I am working very hard trying to make this experience as memorable and as successful as possible. Yet, this is the first time our agency and myself have undergone such a multi-faceted fundraising effort. I have realized that to ensure this campaign is successful, I am having to play the role of team coach, event fundraiser, logistics coordinator, PR/Marketing director, and I’m sure a few other roles as well. Yes, I am tired, but I remember how accomplished I felt after the end of my Running to End Domestic Violence campaign, and I want to ensure that every single member of the W.O.M.A.N., Inc. Rock ‘n’ Roll SF team has just as much of a meaningful experience if not more during this journey of theirs. Please help support our W.O.M.A.N., Inc. team in reaching their fundraising goal by donating to the team today.

You can do so by visiting the W.O.M.A.N., Inc. Rock ‘n’ Roll Team Page here or visiting this link: http://www.stayclassy.org/fundraise/team?ftid=29427

Thank you so much!

First there was only one runner for W.O.M.A.N., Inc., but now there are 13! Our running community is growing!

woman inc running team

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