Friends! October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and there are many ways you can get involved to show your support for survivors. One way is by helping your local domestic violence organizations keep their programs strong by fundraising & donating. For the 3rd year in a row, W.O.M.A.N., Inc. has been selected to participate in Allstate’s Annual Purple Purse Challenge, a nationwide initiative to raise money for organizations doing the critical work to support domestic violence survivors in their communities. Last year they were able to raise a collective $3 million for domestic violence organizations across the U.S. This is an incredible, month-long fundraising opportunity and we need YOUR help to make it a success.
What is the Purple Purse Challenge exactly?
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.
San Francisco Support Group Forming This Fall for women who have experienced an abusive or controlling relationship, past or present. The support group is co-led by Shalom Bayit and Bay Area Jewish Healing Center to create a spiritually healing, empowering, and safe space. It is free and confidential with childcare provided. All women are welcome regardless of age, affiliation, partner’s gender, or current relationship status. We welcome non-Jewish and transgender people who are seeking a Jewish women-centered space. To sign up, call Shalom Bayit at (510) 845-8874. For more information about Shalom Bayit, visit www.shalom-bayit.org
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.
Please join us in congratulating Mary Martinez on her promotion to Associate Director at W.O.M.A.N., Inc.! Mary originally joined W.O.M.A.N., Inc. as a support line volunteer back in February of 2008. Due to her hard work, commitment, and passion, she quickly progressed in her work and become a strong leader of the organization. Due in part to her commitment and creativity, we have transitioned to a “distributed leadership” model that has changed the tide of W.O.M.A.N., Inc.’s decision making processes, and stance in the field. Mary’s strong and steady presence at W.O.M.A.N., Inc. has been pivotal as we moved through many changes and transitions at the organization.
Mary is passionate about the intersections of violence; she is ardent in her approach to ending domestic violence and centers race in organizational operations, direct service and in creating collaborations across nonprofit sectors.
In addition to her exceptional work at W.O.M.A.N., Inc., Mary is involved in innovative projects outside of the organization. Mary is a member of The Network Weaving Learning Lab project, which seeks to build strong networks within the field and across movements, and the Art as Liberation project which seeks to explore arts as a medium for transforming community and survivor narratives on domestic violence.
Team W.O.M.A.N., Inc. is enthusiastic about Mary’s promotion, and know she will continue to help us grow and develop as an organization and as people. Congratulations and thank you, Mary!
We want to send a BIG thank you to everyone who supported Dismantling and Rebuilding: An Evening for Stronger, Safer Communities. On April 28th, we celebrating our Executive Director Jill Zawisza’s 20 years of leadership in the domestic violence field and her 10th anniversary with W.O.M.A.N., Inc. Dismantling & Rebuilding was about anti-oppression, intersectional feminism, collaboration across difference, and holding collective power. Inspired by the words of Audre Lorde, “the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house,” the event sought to promote stronger, safer communities rooted in intersectionality and inclusion. Board, staff, volunteers and community members came together to celebrate with art, music, drinks, hors d’oeuvres, and a silent auction. With everyone’s support, the W.O.M.A.N., Inc. Board was able to put together a heartwarming and fun event that raised over $7,000 for domestic violence survivors, their friends and family.