Since 1978, W.O.M.A.N., Inc. has supported survivors of domestic violence through empowerment-based, survivor-centered programming that honors the personal autonomy, power and resiliency of people impacted by violence. These principles are guided by seeing survivors as whole people who are the experts of their own lives. We’re very proud to share with you a report on a W.O.M.A.N., Inc. program that truly captures the essence of these grassroots efforts – this program is called Echando Pa’lante (Moving Forward).
Echando Pa’lante is a survivor-led initiative co-created by women who had gone through W.O.M.A.N., Inc.’s Latinx Program (in-depth case management for monolingual Spanish speakers) and the W.O.M.A.N., Inc. team. Initially, Echando Pa’lante provided ongoing engagement and a creative, supportive space for participants post-crisis. The set-up was more open than conventional therapeutic atmospheres which allowed for community building and bonding between the folks partaking in the program. Motivated by the participants’ desire to get more involved, Echando Pa’lante evolved into a program that includes a comprehensive leadership component where the participants who’ve survived abuse and worked towards healing and recovery, are trained to be domestic violence advocates themselves. With the assistance of Montesinos & Associates, we developed an evaluation report through the lens of how survivors define success. This evaluation centers the voices of Las Pioneras (the pioneers), the first participants and steering group of Echando Pa’lante. Below, we’ll provide a brief synopsis of the results, but, when you’re done, we encourage you to read the full report here. In this evaluation, you’ll get to learn more about the inception and progression of Echando Pa’lante, and the impact of this co-created project shaped by the participants who inspired it.
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
On February 17th, the W.O.M.A.N., Inc. Outreach team tabled at Lowell High School Wellness Center’s Love Fest. Outreach Boos, Alicia Padillapaz and Shaena Spoor, were joined by folks from Hip Hop to Health , Planned Parenthood, LYRIC, JUMA, YAWAV, SFWAR, Huckleberry Youth Clinic and Hand to Hand Kajukenbo and Self Defense Center. Each organization brought their unique expertise to support and educate students on a variety of topics including reproductive health, self defense and creating a culture of safety, consent and sex positivity.
Left: W.O.M.A.N, Inc. Table; Right: Jaymie Frazier, Outreach Boo & School Counselor, participating in our Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month Activity
At the W.O.M.A.N., Inc. table, Alicia and Shaena engaged students with activities focused around healthy relationships. They provided two fill in the blank activities to choose from: Dating Bill of Rights and #YouDeserve. When thinking about relationships, the primary focus is often on the “we/us” — it’s easy for folks to overlook individual wants and needs. While the “we” factor is important, seeing oneself as a whole, unique individual within the partnership is so crucial. The Dating Bill of Rights prompts participants to reflect on what their needs and “rights” are in a relationship. Students picked one thing they would include on their “Dating Bill of Rights” by completing the statement “I have the right to_________.”
“I have the right to have control over my body.“
Although February is the shortest month of the year, there is a LOT to celebrate! While it’s largely known for Black History month and Valentine’s Day, February is also Teen Dating Violence Awareness month! Naturally, W.O.M.A.N., Inc.’s Outreach boo-crew felt this was an opportune time to host a Community Education Series session focused on the in’s and out’s of Teen Dating. This free workshop took place in the San Francisco Main Library and was facilitated by the Outreach Boos, Annie and Jaymie. With an intimate audience, the workshop covered information surrounding the stark differences between teen relationships and adult relationships, ways to recognize warning signs, and strategies for creating healthy boundaries and positive interpersonal relationships. Overall, the event was a huge success, as a lot of fruitful discussions emerged and audience members felt they were able to walk away with new perspectives.
If you’re interested in checking out the next Community Education Series, it will take place on Wednesday, March 23rd and the San Francisco Main Public Library
located at 100 Larkin Street! This session’s topic will be “Supporting Survivors.”
So mark your calendars and don’t miss out!”
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!
Many thanks to Wendy Mitchell-Klent, for coordinating and inviting us into your space! We look forward to returning in the future!
As the year comes to close, we are pleased to share with you our 2015 Annual Report. This report lays out our numerous accomplishments, our financial status, tells the story of a volunteer and of a program participant and finally, how you can support our organization. I hope you will find the report is enlightening and inspiring.
Thank you for being a part of our community. Happy Holidays to you and yours.
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