Many of the survivors who reach out to us fear their domestic violence situation may cost them their job(s). Sometimes it’s because the person that is harming them shows up at their workplace or uses other means to sabotage the survivor’s job security. Sometimes survivors feel they must choose between seeking confidential shelter out of their area and keeping their job. And, sometimes, trauma just really takes mental and physical tolls on our bodies. What many folks do not know is that, in California, there are legal employment protections for survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking. While these laws have been around, there has previously been little done to ensure that employees are informed of their rights around these issues.
Effective July 1, 2017, employers (who have 25+ employees) are required to provide written documentation to workers notifying of their rights should they ever experience domestic violence, sexual assault and/or stalking. As noted in the California Workplace Law Blog,
This includes notifying employees that are victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking that they may take time off from work to (1) seek medical attention for injuries; (2) obtain services from a domestic violence shelter, program, or rape crisis center; (3) obtain psychological counseling; or (4) participate in safety planning and take other actions to increase safety, including temporary or permanent relocation. Employers are prohibited from discharging, discriminating, or retaliating against an employee because of the employee’s known status as a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking or for taking domestic violence leave.
These protections (and letting survivors know of these protections) are very important in increasing survivor safety.
With fears about the country’s mass deportation efforts, many of us have been wondering about ways we can show up & hold strong in support of immigrant communities. In addition to calls to representatives, rallies and community forums, organizations around the Bay Area are hosting workshops and talks to address ways we can apply knowledge to practice. Over the past couple months, W.O.M.A.N., Inc. volunteers, staff & participants have been attending “Know Your Rights” & allyship workshops in preparation for possible ICE presence in San Francisco.
Recently, a few of us attended a training hosted by Mission Graduates & PODER on how we can support our community in the event of an ICE raid. We learned about what resources are available, immigrant rights, covert tactics used by ICE officials, how to handle encounters with ICE and next steps on how to become a volunteer legal observer. The session was illuminating, we very much appreciate the time and energy that the representatives from Mission Graduates & PODER put into sharing this critical information with the community. Sarah, a W.O.M.A.N., Inc. Support Line Advocate who attended the training, said, “I learned so much! I enjoyed that it was a very practical approach on how to help and highlighted the importance of getting the word out there in terms of rights and resources.”
Some ways you can help:
- If you see ICE in your community, report the activity with specifics on location of the raid & personal information of the detainee to Rapid Response Networks:
- San Francisco – (415) 200-1548
- The Rapid Response Network of San Francisco is made up of 21 community based organizations that provide legal and education services to the immigrant community. Our primary goal is to provide quick response in the event of any immigration enforcement activity. We have a 24 hour hotline, do raid verification, and provide legal representation to community members who are victims of these immigration enforcement acts. This service is offered in 4 languages: English, Spanish, Chinese & Arabic.
- Alameda County – (510) 241- 4011
- Call Alameda County Immigration Legal & Education Partnership (ACILEP) for rapid response and legal services.
2. Help Mission Graduates & PODER host more workshops like this by donating here.
- Knowledge is power! Educate yourself about healthy and unhealthy relationships.Learn about the additional barriers people from different communities face when experiencing domestic violence. Challenge traditional ideas of domestic violence & squash misconceptions. Read about how different patterns of violence intersect with one another. Spread that knowledge around!
- Wear purple, the domestic violence awareness color. Show your support by adding some purple to your ensembles this October.
- If you’re interested in supporting W.O.M.A.N., Inc.:
- Allstate’s Purple Purse Challenge! We are excited to be selected to participate in this annual event, a nation-wide fundraiser to raise awareness of financial abuse & to promote economic empowerment. We have a chance to win $100,000 and would love to garner your support in our cause. Click here to find out how you can get involved.
- Contribute to our Pet Fund! Anyone who donates $25+ to the Pet Fund will receive a 2017 W.O.M.A.N., Inc. Pet Calendar
- We are amongst a plethora of bay area anti-violence agencies. Find one you support, and contribute to the cause. Any little bit helps.
4. Attend an event near you! Domestic violence agencies from all around the country will be hosting events to honor DV awareness month. Participating in one is an easy way to be apart of the movement.
5. Contact a local domestic violence agency to learn more about domestic violence and what you can do to help.
- Interested in getting involved? Check out our volunteer opportunities!
- Engage. Educate. Empower! W.O.M.A.N., Inc. is offering a free workshop on how to support survivors of domestic violence.
6. Talk about it! Don’t be afraid to initiate conversations about domestic violence awareness. With that said, part of being a good ally is to do your best to exercise non-judgmental love and support. If someone opens up to you about their experience with abuse, actively listen and believe the survivor when they are brave enough to speak their truth. Here are some tips on disclosure to keep in mind when dealing with those experiencing domestic violence:
7. Take action on social media! The internet is FULL of stuff to get involved with. Share with your networks why you’re standing up against DV this month, start/participate in awareness campaigns (Examples: SurvivedAndPunished, NoMore, CPEDV Calendar, #SeeDV). So many ways to show your support just from your computer at home.
Remember, domestic violence is a community issue. You can have a role in ending domestic violence. Learn more about ways you can help:
If you feel you or someone you know may be experiencing abuse, please feel free to give our support line a call at (415)864-4722. We are here for you 24/7.
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International Women’s Day
8th March, 2016
“It takes some skill to hold a group of strong women, and Rachel & Monika do just that. Woven is an incredible healing container for Women to let down their guard, to bring all of themselves, and to discover the woman within us that is unstoppable. Every woman needs a tribe behind her, and WOVEN is a tribe that can hold us all. –Sage Lavine, Business Coach and Inspirational Speaker
W.O.M.A.N., Inc. volunteers, Rosa Medrano & Juliette-Marie Somerset, at the 2016 WOVEN World Summit
We spend most of our lives moving from point A to point B. This past weekend I had the good fortune of spending two days sitting in circles, co-creating in circles and walking in circles with women. Sage was one of the many inspiring speakers at Woven World Summit here in San Francisco. She describes beautifully my personal Woven experience. The event was “an incredible healing container for Women”.
WOVEN is a network of face-to-face circles of women who gather to support one another to THRIVE. They meet in communities all across the U.S. to explore real stories, wisdom, and care for one another and themselves. They experience heart-felt connection, deep listening, authenticity and humility as they discover greater meaning and purpose, joy, and health. Woven circles are united by an online community and resources, offline events, and annual conferences.
On International Women’s Day, I am very grateful for our local W.O.M.A.N., Inc. community. As women, we need our circles holding us. Incredible things happen when women are empowered and safe to contribute to society and our local communities.
-Juliette-Marie Somerset, W.O.M.A.N., Inc. Support Line Volunteer
Beginning on February 21, 2015, it will be required to use new dialing procedures for the area codes, 415 and 628. The geographic area that ‘415’ normally covers (county of San Francisco, most of Marin County, and some of San Mateo County) will be adding another area code(628) which is called an Overlay. This addition will simply require all of us to change the way we dial our calls. You may also have to re-program phone numbers in your devices.
This change not only affects those who have a phone number with a 415 area code and those who will receive a phone number with a 628 area code in the future; it also affects those of us who are service providers. Many of us work with marginalized communities who are accessing social services and it’s a reminder that we’ll need be mindful of the contact numbers when we’re referring folks to other services.
To complete calls from a landline phone, the new dialing procedure requires callers to dial 1 + area code + telephone number. This means that all calls in the 415 area code that are currently dialed with seven digits will need to be dialed using 1 + area code + telephone number.
Gina Li, rockstar volunteer, writes on why she joined Team W.O.M.A.N., Inc.
This will be my 2nd Half Marathon and I am once again, proudly running it alongside fellow members of the W.O.M.A.N., Inc. community. W.O.M.A.N., Inc. (Women Organized to Make Abuse Non-Existent) is an anti-domestic violence agency in the Bay Area that truly works with survivors of domestic violence in recognizing their immense strength and furthermore, stay safe in their often extremely tenuous circumstances.
Running a half-marathon poses a physical and mental challenge that to me, symbolizes the great potential and resilience of all human-beings, both individually and collectively. Running in and of itself is often a very solitary activity–having the appeal of providing time for self-reflection. With the added element of a race, where many different people run alongside one another, I personally feel a great sense of solidarity–a united front to encourage us to rise above all of life’s challenges. So many times in my life, I have felt that I am not “good” enough and was often made to feel very weak; running this event with W.O.M.A.N., Inc. is one way I am proving to myself and others that I am capable and strong.
Join Gina and some other awesome team members; contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
Check out our Facebook event page here!
W.O.M.A.N., Inc. is happy to announce that with the financial support of the Blue Shield Foundation, we’re able to make the DVIRC system accessible to even more domestic violence service providers across California. The project will span the course of two years and will include building a statewide expansion and sustainability plan for the DVIRC project.
The DVIRC emerged when California and many of our domestic violence agencies were threatened with no state budget allocation for services. This would have resulted in the diminishing capacity to offer survivors services. The DVIRC offered a solution by using “collective capacity” techniques and tools to serve survivors. The DVIRC’s collaborative nature means the system’s efficacy expands exponentially with the increase of agencies joining. With additional domestic violence agencies added to the system, domestic violence advocates across California will be better able to ensure survivors can locate shelters and other vital support services in a more efficient and timely manner. Learnings from the last phase of the DVIRC project, which included piloting the project in Del Norte and Ventura Counties, indicated that there was a very specific need in regards to collaboration, especially in rural areas with sparse resources.
At W.O.M.A.N., Inc., we strive to be innovative in our practices in response to survivors’ needs. We also believe that to truly shed light on domestic violence and work towards reducing it for future generations, the domestic violence field must work together to build a stronger, more coordinated network of domestic violence service providers and thus more appropriate, efficient, and reliable services for those suffering from abuse. We must be able to learn about each other’s domestic violence programming and share best practices, specialized knowledge working with specific populations of domestic violence survivors, and communicate with one another in so that domestic violence agencies in the state of California are not each working in their own independent silo to address a global problem. We’re excited about the next phase of the Domestic Violence Information and Referral Center Project and to see the positive outcomes of expansion for all survivors and the domestic violence advocates supporting them in California.
To learn more, check out the Blue Shield Foundation Website.