On March 2nd, we visited San Francisco State University’s Beta Phi Sorority to talk about how friends and family of survivors can navigate disclosures of abuse. We opened the discussion by engaging the group an activity that highlighted the importance and value of community support for survivors of domestic violence. This activity set the tone for the rest of the presentation and provided a visual for participants to 1) see the role that isolation plays in abusive relationships and 2)how crucial a support system is for a survivor. From there, we established the definition of DV with the group and identified some dynamics present in an abusive relationship. With that foundational knowledge, the group explored how to recognize and describe some warning signs that a friend or family member might be experiencing or might be at risk for abuse. The rest of the presentation brought forth some skills participants could use to care for and safety plan not just for the survivors they are supporting, but for themselves as well.
The Beta Phi Sorority members exchanged insightful and engaging dialogue with us about how someone’s cultural values and beliefs might impact the way a survivor handles domestic violence as well as addressing some barriers folks might have reaching out for help. We closed the discussion with highlighting the importance of seeing survivors as whole people with intersecting identities and experiences. When supporting DV survivors, it’s important to know that they are not defined by their crisis and that their experience with domestic violence is a small piece of a larger story.
Many thanks to the Beta Phi Sorority sisters for inviting W.O.M.A.N., Inc. to their “Breaking the Silence” event and for sharing their thoughtful perspectives!
~Stephanie, Latinx Program Co-Manager & Shaena, Program Assistant