W.O.M.A.N., Inc. Presents on Supporting Friends & Family of Survivors at SFSU’s Beta Phi Sorority

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 WOMAN INC PIC.JPGparticipants 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

 

 

How to Participate in Domestic Violence Awareness Month This October

  1. Knowledge is power! Educate yourself about healthy and unhealthy relationships.ch1-graph2Learn 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!
  2. Wear purple, the domestic violence awareness color. Show your support by adding some purple to your ensembles this October.
  3. Donate!
    • If you’re interested in supporting W.O.M.A.N., Inc.:
      1. 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.
      2. 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. supporting-survivors-ces

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:

disclosures

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.

www.womaninc.org | womaninc.wordpress.com 

 

 

Outreach Boos Present DV101 to SHCP’s Men’s Varsity Basketball Team

On Saturday, September 17th, W.O.M.A.N., Inc.’s Outreach Boo-Crew was invited to present to Sacred Heart Cathedral Prep’s Men’s Varsity Basketball team.  Here, presenters Annie, Jaymie, and Shaena educated these young gentlemen on the definition of domestic violence as well as its prevalence amongst teens.  The Outreach Boos facilitated rich discussions amongst the teammates to help them define healthy relationships, challenge misconceptions of teen relationships, and outline ways to support peers who may be experiencing domestic violence.  The presentation ended with an important activity called the “Dating Bill of Rights,” where participants learned how to set healthy boundaries in their own relationships.  To the Outreach Boo-Crew’s surprise, Sacred Heart Cathedral Prep’s Men’s Varsity Basketball team and coaches surprised them with various donations, including DVDs, toiletries, and a Wii console!  W.O.M.A.N., Inc. is truly thankful and appreciates the opportunity to collaborate with such a generous group!  We look forward to working with Sacred Heart Cathedral Prep in the future!
– Jaymie, Outreach Boo

YOUR Pet Could Be In Our 2017 W.O.M.A.N., Inc. Pet Calendar!

It’s that time of year again! Looking for animal friends to star in our annual W.O.M.A.N., Inc. Pet Calendar! If you’re unfamiliar with the history behind our Pet Calendar, you may be thinking “Okay. This is cute, but what is the relevance? Where do animals come into play when we’re talking about domestic violence?” Reasonable questions, here’s some context:

  • There is a big correlation between domestic violence & animal abuse. Statistics
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    “I’m a domestic violence survivor. I’ve been though hell and back multiple times but Dakine, my Alaskan Malamute has stood by me every step of the way. She was my shoulder to cry on and always seemed to understand. Without her I don’t think I would have made the tough transition to freedom. She truly is my best friend.”

    show that people who abuse their partners are also super likely to abuse their pets. It is not uncommon that abusers harm/threaten to harm the survivor’s pet as a manipulation tactic.

  • Pets can play a large role in the survival and healing of those who’ve experienced violence and trauma. On top of many stories of pets intervening and protecting their humans in abusive situations, pets have anecdotally and statistically shown to be instrumental in the healing process of so many survivors. Our animal friends are a source of unconditional love, something we all deserve.

In addition to raising awareness for the correlation between domestic violence and animal abuse, we want to celebrate the therapeutic powers animals provide us during times of both struggle and healing. How has your pet impacted YOUR life? Whether your pet has helped you through hardship or you just want to share with the community about the joy your animal friend has brought to your life, we invite you to share what you’d like with us! Please submit a picture (no specific size requirements, we just ask that it is a clear photo) of your pet with a short blurb (~25 – 75 words) on what they mean to you to shaena@womaninc.org by Monday, November 28th. Be sure to include your name (unless you wish to remain anonymous; if that is the case please indicate so) and your pet(s) name(s). Feel free to get creative! Short stories, love letters or simple odes of appreciation all encouraged.

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Owning a pet and experiencing domestic violence adds an additional layer of complexity to the situation. The abusive partner may withhold money to pay for the animal’s food and water. When attempting to leave, a survivor might be denied housing and/or shelter access because the location does not accommodate pets. We have a fund that hopes to address some of these issues. The proceeds from our pet calendar sales will go back our Pet Fund which helps with food/water costs, kennel stays and more for pets whose humans have experienced domestic violence. 

Check out previous submissions on our Facebook: 2015, 2016

 

Fall 2016 Community Education Series

Community Education Series Dates

RSVP on Facebook:

Supporting LGBTQ Survivors

Contributed by former W.O.M.A.N., Inc. volunteer, Jessica Hoh

Talking about intimate partner violence remains a dirty secret in any community, however within LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer) communities discussing this issue is often shrouded with additional layers of shame and stigma. Research suggests that LGBTQ individuals experience higher amounts of violence in general, poverty, incarceration, poverty, suicide, and, unfortunately intimate partner violence as well. These rates are even higher amongst LGBTQ people of color.abuseawareness-ribbon-ctsy-messerwoland-wikimedia-commons

By now it’s commonly understood why LGBTQ communities experience higher rates of oppression: homophobia and transphobia incur bullying, bashing, higher rates of unemployment, etc. With these oppressions, it’s understandable that many LGBTQ individuals seek refuge and safety within queer spaces. Often LGBTQ individuals rely heavily on queer community, especially when their family of origins fail to provide them support and/or safety. These networks can become very powerful, beautiful and healing spaces.

However, we know intimate partner abuse does occur within LGBTQ relationships with
rates similar, (and certain studies report higher rates), to heterosexual couples.
When abuse does occur many survivors are at a loss for what to do, for many reasons. Some of those reasons include:

  • Misunderstanding gender dynamics of abuse: Cultural norms often generalize abuse as occurring solely from male-identified persons towards women. When abuse dynamics look different than that narrative, recognizing occurring abuse can be confusing and challenging. Especially so if a more feminine identified individual is the abuser.
  • Fear of portraying LGBTQ individuals negatively: LGBTQ individuals are often pathologized and “othered.” LGBTQ folks may fear additional negative labels applied to their identities.
  • Distrust of social service agencies: Many LGBTQ survivors are wary when seeking outside assistance due to homophobia and transphobia. Survivors may fear inappropriate questions, disbelief that abuse occurred, and failure for agencies to take abuse seriously. Additionally, as of present, there are no shelters for male-identified survivors. So if someone in a gay relationship experiences violence, they may experience a harder time finding shelter. For transgender survivors, finding shelter of any kind may incur even more difficulties.
  • Fear of alienation from LGBTQ community: Survivors may fear coming forward with abuse because they believe their community will side with the abuser. While this fear occurs in all communities, many LGBTQ individuals have little or no familial support so LGBTQ friends/family may be all the social support they have.        

 

Despite these additional experiences many LGBTQ survivors may experience, there are various ways survivor advocates can be sensitive to these issues:

  • Don’t assume gender: When answering crisis-line calls or working with clients, we often automatically generate gender identities for folks based on appearances and/or vocal tones. Simply asking instead of assuming can eliminate mis-gendering (using incorrect pronouns/names) survivors.
  • Use gender-neutral language: Replace phrases including “ladies” and “guys” with “folks,” “friends,” “person/people,” etc.
  • Hands groupTake extra steps for transgender survivors: Transgender individuals have the highest rates of suicide, bashing, poverty, homelessness and incarceration. They additionally often experience more challenges when seeking emergency shelter. Remember that on top of experience partner abuse, they may also be dealing with a lot of additional oppressions.
  • Keep in mind LGBTQ survivors experience additional hurdles: Remember LGBTQ individuals may not be out to their friends, family and/or employers, they may rely solely on LGBTQ community for support and they may hold shame over being LGBTQ. Being knowledgeable and sensitive to these additional layers will help assist members of these communities better.

Ending domestic violence takes support from the entire community. W.O.M.A.N., Inc. continually strives to be inclusive and supportive to survivors from all walks of life, age groups, race and ethnic backgrounds, gender identities and sexual orientations. I’m proud to be affiliated with such a strong group of individuals working to end domestic violence in all forms.  Keep up the fantastic, amazing work!

Sources: 

1) Renzetti, Claire. Violence in Gay and Lesbian Domestic Partnerships. Chicago: Routledge Press, 1996.

2)  MacKenzie, G. O. Transgender Nation. Bowling Green, OH: Bowling Green State University Popular Press., 1994.


Are you in need of support for yourself, an LGBT friend or family member? You are not alone! You can:

Call our support line at (415)864-4722 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Contact an LGBTQ specific domestic violence program: 

  • Community United Against Violence (CUAV): (415)777-5500
  • The Northwest Network LGBT Domestic Violence Hotline: (206)568-7777

W.O.M.A.N., Inc. Presents DV101 Workshop at JobCorps, Treasure Island

In December, the W.O.M.A.N., Inc. Outreach Team (Boos), Annie Fisher & Shaena
Spoor, presented our DV101 workshop at Job Corps, Treasure Island. There, we had the opportunity to speak with Certified Nursing Assistant students about our working definition of what domestic violence is, misconceptions about domestic violence and the services we offer at W.O.M.A.N., Inc. We are grateful to have had the chance to engage in thoughtful discussion with this receptive group!

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Many thanks to Wendy Mitchell-Klent, for coordinating and inviting us into your space! We look forward to returning in the future!