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


Fundraising for SF Rock n’ Roll Half-Marathon Runners at Antologia Vinoteca

Please join us for a fun night out at Antologia Vinoteca, a Latin American bar in SF on SATURDAY, March 29th anytime between 5-11pm!

20% of of the proceeds raised during this time will be donated to support W.O.M.A.N., Inc.’s runners at the SF Rock n’ Roll Half-Marathon! W.O.M.A.N., Inc.’s very own staff, volunteers, and community supporters will be running 13.2 miles to help raise awareness and funds for the agency this upcoming April 6th!

This is a delicious and easy way to not only meet other W.O.M.A.N., Inc. volunteers and our supporters, but also to help sustain W.O.M.A.N., Inc.’s crucial programs, like our 24/7 Support Line, Outreach Education Programs, Therapy, and many more as you all know and are all so generous to be involved with!

Antologia Vinoteca boasts a wide variety of wines to suit everyone’s palate, as well as wonderful dinner and desserts! (To see their entire menu, please visit their website linked above! 

The exact address of the event is:

515 Broadway
San Francisco, CA 94133

Or, find us on facebook

The Running to End Domestic Violence Quest Gets International Press Coverage!

Mariya Taher

This week, W.O.M.A.N., Inc.’s activities have gotten some awesome international coverage! The Express Tribune, a Pakistani newspaper that partners with The International Herald Tribune, has published our staff member Mariya Taher’s article about her Running to End Domestic Violence Quest.

In May 2012, Mariya came up with a daring idea for a fundraising campaign. She decided to run six half marathons in six months, all in different cities in the United States. Overall, she ran 78 miles and raised $4,000, which was matched by the W.O.M.A.N., Inc. Board Chair, Lija McHugh. Read the whole article about Mariya’s adventure here!

The Running to End Domestic Violence Quest may be over, but the idea behind it–combining healthy activities with fundraising and awareness-raising–provided an impetus for the creation of Moving to End Domestic Violence, W.O.M.A.N., Inc.’s wellness group. The group organizes various activities, in which everyone is invited to take part. Our next event is the Doggie Walk in San Francisco’s Mission District on Saturday, March 23 (please read more about it here). And on April 27, the group will participate in SFWAR’s annual Walk Against Rape. You’re welcome to join us!

Please donate to W.O.M.A.N., Inc. on Mariya’s fundraising page. Also, check the wellness group’s Facebook page for updates on future events.

~ Julia Glosemeyer

Running to End Domestic Violence–The Final Race

Mariya TaherDecember has arrived and with it the end of my Running to End Domestic Violence Quest campaign. I ran the 6th half marathon on December 2nd in Las Vegas, Nevada. Over 40,000 people ran along the Las Vegas strip to finish either the half or full marathon that day. Fluorescent signs lighting up the strip at night sprang forth messages of encouragement and congratulation to the runners. It was an encouraging sight and a wonderful way to end this fundraising quest to support W.O.M.A.N., Inc. and the survivors of domestic violence the agency serves. The campaign raised around $4,000, which will be matched by our Board Chair, Lija McHuge. That means that with the support of my friends, family, and other community members, we were able to raise $8,000 in the last six months. Wow!

The end of the campaign also means that I have run over seventy-eight miles (not including training runs). There were a few bumps along the way, including spraining my ankle, but all in all, I feel that the Running to End Domestic Violence Quest was successful in not only raising awareness of the services provided by W.O.M.A.N., Inc. in the San Francisco Bay Area, but also to prove to myself that I am strong and capable of reaching any goal I set for myself.

Thank you to all those who have supported me. For those who would still like to contribute, it’s not to late! Click here to DONATE.

If you would like to learn what my journey entailed, check out the video created by our volunteer Amelie Booska by clicking here Running to End Domestic Violence Quest- The Journey

~ Mariya

Check out the other posts about my running adventure:

Running to End Domestic Violence Quest

The Running Campaign!

Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego

Running Motivation

One Race to Go!

Running to End Domestic Violence Quest–One Race to Go!

Five races down and one to go! October was a busy month for the Running to End Domestic Violence Quest. I ran the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Jose Half Marathon on October 7, the Nike Women’s Half Marathon on October 14, and the Rock ‘n’ Roll Los Angeles Half Marathon on October 28th.

W.O.M.A.N., Inc. also hosted the Sports Basement event on October 11th. Attendees were able to mingle with our staff, board members, and volunteers, as well as learn more about the Running to End Domestic Violence Quest. Our wonderful volunteer Amelie Booska and her partner John Wuopio premiered their video about the Running to End Domestic Violence Quest, which you can also view here: Running to End Domestic Violence Quest Video. Another talented individual, Jora Frantzis, also created a video that you can see here: Running to End Domestic Violence Quest-Short Video. Falletti Foods & Madrone donated gift certificates to be raffled off at the event.

I am truly thankful for all the support received during the 6 months of the Running to End Domestic Violence Quest. But it isn’t over yet! My legs may be getting tired (especially since I ran a few of those races with a sprained ankle), but there is still 1 ½ months to go and one more race to run. So let’s try to raise a little more money for the cause.

Click here to DONATE.

Also, if you would like to keep up to date with the Running to End Domestic Violence Quest, please join the Running to End Domestic Violence Facebook page.

Thank you again for your support!
~ Mariya

Running to End Domestic Violence Update

October is Domestic Violence Awareness month and perhaps it is appropriate then that I have run three half-marathons during this month for the Running to End Domestic Violence Quest. I am proud to see how much money the campaign has raised so far, but we still have much more to go. Please help support me in reaching my goal of raising $5,000 to support survivors of domestic violence. And remember, W.O.M.A.N., Inc.’s Board Chair has promised to match the $5,000 I raise –bringing in $10,000 total for survivors of domestic violence!

Click here to DONATE
These last three races have proven to be some of the most difficult races I have ever run. Not because of the 13.1 mile distance, but because on September 1st, I sprained my ankle and it is still healing.  Yet, this added challenge has made this quest even more meaningful for me. My injury reminded me that we all face challenges, but that we all have the strength to overcome our obstacles. To give you an idea of what I have gone through during this quest, click on Running Video, a short film our wonderful volunteer Amelie Booska put together for the campaign.If you would like to see more pictures and keep up to date with the Running to End Domestic Violence Quest, please join the Running to End Domestic Violence Facebook page.Thank you again for your support!

~ Mariya

Running to End Domestic Violence Quest–Running Motivation

I was recently reminded that life is full of unexpected obstacles, and I encountered one in pursuing my Running to End Domestic Violence Quest. I sprained my ankle the first weekend in September, it wasn’t due to running, but I have been resting it and staying off of it since then. This means that I will be entering into my next race, which is on September 22nd, without any training during the last 3 weeks. Even with this setback, I am determined to keep running to help survivors of domestic violence. We’ve reached $3,000, and I will run (maybe now walk) until I hit my fundraising goal to help survivors of domestic violence. And remember, W.O.M.A.N., Inc.’s Board Chair has promised to match the $5,000 I raise–bringing in $10,000 total for survivors of domestic violence! So please support me today in this endeavor.

Click here to DONATE.

Here are a couple of other updates from the campaign.

1) Before I injured my ankle, I participated in the Joaquin Miller Skirt and Dirt 10K race. It was my first trail run and I loved it! Here is a picture from that day. You can check out more photos on the Running to End Domestic Violence Facebook page.

2) Runway Junkie posted a blog about what motivates me to run. Click this link to go check it out Running Motivation!

3) Running to End Domestic Violence Sports Basement Event–W.O.M.A.N., Inc. will be hosting an event at Sports Basement to talk about our agency’s progress and of course the Running Campaign. More information about the event is below in the events section.

Thank you again for all your support!

~ Mariya