Support W.O.M.A.N., Inc., Get a 2017 Pet Calendar!

Friends! We are excited to let you know the calendar is now in the works & available for order! Thanks to your submissions, next year’s calendar is full of love & sweet faces. We loved hearing about the healing & pure joy your animal companions bring to your lives.

Sure to be an awesome gift for yourself and/or loved ones, you can reserve your 2017 W.O.M.A.N., Inc. Pet Calendar here
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. 

Want a calendar, but wish to make a general donation to our programs and services? Make a donation of at least $30 $15 here, and indicate in the dedication notes that you would like a pet calendar!

Sneak peek below!

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Why Pet Calendar? Follow this link to learn more. 

 

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

 

Paz Con La Soledad: Peace With Solitude – A Survivor Story

(English translation below)

Mirtha se presenta como una mujer emotiva, amena y cordial. Su estilo es respetuoso, prudente. Escucha con atención a su interlocutor, y responde con pausa y tranquilidad. Esta introducción la muestra como una persona afable al trato y a la comunicación con otras personas.

Abandonó su país de origen, El Salvador, hace varios años atrás, principalmente motivada por sus deseos de progreso. Desde entonces se ha esforzado fuertemente para mantenerse trabajando, y así poder enviar dinero a sus hijos que aún permanecen en aquel país.

Durante su permanencia en los Estados Unidos su pareja, Carlos, fue su principal apoyo y compañía. Junto a él pasaba sus días, planeaba sus proyectos, discutía ideas y disfrutaba de la vida cotidiana. Mirtha sentía que estaba enamorada, y que casi no necesitaba otras relaciones para sentirse plena y feliz. Las dificultades frecuentes aparejadas a ser inmigrante latina, como la barrera del lenguaje, el desconocimiento del funcionamiento de las instituciones, el sentimiento de extrañamiento y el desconocimiento general respecto del entorno, también colaboraron para que ella se focalizara de lleno en su cónyuge.

Un buen día la historia que Mirtha había considerado hasta entonces de amor y compañerismo se vio empañada por un desdichado incidente. Como era habitual Carlos fue a recogerla a su trabajo, pero esta vez había bebido, y ella pudo reconocer por sus comportamientos que estaba ebrio. Aún así, decidió subir al automóvil con él. Las cosas empeoraron con rapidez. En lugar de acceder a sus pedidos y sugerencias y conducirse directamente hacia la casa de los dos; él se afanó por seguir bebiendo en la casa de uno de sus amigos. Mirtha no consiguió persuadir a Carlos y acabaron en casa de Juan. Allí, luego de varias horas y muchos tragos más, y en una situación que se incrementaba en tensión, Carlos la golpeó.

Esta había sido la primera vez que su pareja la agredía físicamente. Mirtha se sentía sumamente avergonzada y abatida. Tomó su cartera y se subió a un transporte público que la llevaría a su casa. A pesar de sus esfuerzos no logró contener las lágrimas. Estaba decepcionada, dolida y profundamente enojada con Carlos. La consternaba enormemente la humillación a la que él la había sometido.

Una vez en casa, fue difícil la tarea de organizar sus pensamientos. Se sentía atormentada por tantos sentimientos encontrados. No obstante, Mirtha parecía tener una importante corazonada: este hecho de violencia no podía ser pasado por alto. Algo en su interior le indicaba que si perdonaba este comportamiento y reconciliaba la relación con Carlos, lo sucedido volvería a ocurrir.

En primer lugar, decidió que necesitaba alejarse de él. Así, recurrió a una amiga, solicitándole apoyo y un lugar donde quedarse temporalmente. María, fue de gran ayuda por aquellos días, le brindó contención, escucha y compañía mientras pensaba acerca de cómo resolver el problema en el que se encontraba.

A pesar del cariño que sentía por Carlos, la señal interior que le indicaba que era mejor no pasar por alto el incidente seguía encendida. Finalmente, se resolvió a realizar la denuncia en la policía.

El abatimiento, la consternación, la tristeza duraron mucho tiempo para Mirtha. No obstante su razonamiento le indicaba que Carlos era responsable de las penosas circunstancias que debía afrontar frente a la justicia de los Estados Unidos, ella no podía evitar sentirse culpable. Amigos en común iban a visitarlo a prisión, y luego la llamaban para comentarle que él lloraba por lo ocurrido. Mirtha se sentía partícipe del padecimiento al que estaba sujeto él.

En paralelo, un inmenso sentimiento de soledad había teñido sus días. Claro, por mucho tiempo había estado dedicada a Carlos y a su trabajo, casi no tenía otros conocidos, u actividades por fuera de la relación de pareja. Estaba muy confundida, tenía que empezar a pensar que estaba sola, sin él. Su vida entera parecía ser diferente. Se determinó a buscar un lugar donde ofrecieran terapia. De este modo llegó a W.O.M.A.N. Inc., allí fue parte de los grupos y conoció a otras mujeres que habían pasado circunstancias similares.

Mirtha destaca que concurrir a las reuniones en W.O.M.A.N. Inc. le proporcionó un gran alivio
emocional. Estar rodeada de otras personas que podían comprender sus sentimientos y su problema ayudó a desbaratar paulatinamente la angustia y la confusión que la invadían.

Con el tiempo recobraba su alegría y comenzaba a pensar en las ventajas de encontrarse sola, con su vida. Ahora podía hacer de acuerdo a su deseo, sin necesitar pedir permiso a él. También entonces cayó en la cuenta de que Carlos parecía tener un problema con el alcohol que había comenzado antes de conocerlo incluso, y que había resurgido en un viaje que él realizó meses antes del incidente en la casa de Juan. Ya por entonces, ella había sentido una alarma que le decía que la relación iba camino a disolverse. Desde su regreso de aquel viaje a El Salvador, Carlos se comportó diferente con ella, muchas veces la trataba mal y bebía más que antes.

Cada vez podía ver con mayor claridad que Carlos tenía un problema, y que a pesar de que fuera triste admitirlo, existían repercusiones de esto que alcanzaban a la relación de pareja. Con el paso del tiempo, y a pesar de seguir sintiendo cariño por él, Mirtha ganaba convencimiento respecto de la decisión que tomó al separarse. Actualmente sentía que podía estar bien sola. Se sentía contenta. Contaba con su trabajo, con su amiga María, además había conocido a otras personas en los grupos a los que concurrió en la agencia. Ante todo, este tiempo que había transcurrido luego del distanciamiento con Carlos, le enseñaba que no temía a la soledad, que podía sentirse contenta de esta manera también. Ahora, muchas oportunidades acerca de cómo conducir su vida se presentan, y es ella, felizmente ella, quien puede tomar las decisiones al respecto.

Story shared by Noelia, Latina Program Volunteer


Mirtha presents herself as a pleasant and cordial woman. Her style is respectful, cautious. She listens with great attention and responds with tranquility.

She abandoned her country, El Salvador, several years ago, mainly motivated by her wishes of progress. Since then, she has worked hard to keep herself employed, so that she can send money back home to her children.

During her stay in the United States her partner, Carlos, was her main support and companion.  Together along with him she would spend her days, plan projects, discuss ideas and just enjoy daily life.  Mirtha felt that she was in love, and that she did not need other relationships to feel full and happy.  The frequent difficulties and struggles of being a Latina immigrant such as language barriers, not knowing how institutions worked, missing ones country, and not knowing your environment, were factors to her focus on Carlos.

One day, the story that Mirtha considered one of love and companionship was tarnished by an unfortunate incident.  As usual, Carlos went to pick her up from work, but this time he had been drinking, and she could tell by his behavior that he was drunk.  Even so, she decided to get in the car with him.  Everything happened so fast. Instead of complying with her wishes and suggestions of going to their home, Carlos wanted to keep drinking at his friend’s house.  Mirtha was not able to persuade Carlos and they ended up at Juan’s house. There, after several hours and many drinks, and in a situation in which increased tension, Carlos hit her.

This was the first time that Carlos had assaulted her physically. Mirtha felt embarrassed and low.  She got her purse and rode the bus home. Despite her efforts, she could not contain her tears.  She was disappointed, hurt and profoundly angry at Carlos, the humiliation that he had submitted her too.

Once home, it was a difficult task to organize her thoughts. She felt tormented by all the emotions that she was feeling.  However, Mirtha  was clear that this act of violence could not be disregarded.  Something inside of her told her that if she forgave this behavior and reconciled with Carlos, what just happened would happen again.

First, she decided that she needed to get away from him. So, she resorted to a friend, seeking support and a place to stay temporarily. Maria, her friend, provided so much support to Mirtha during those days while she was trying to resolve the problem that she was in.

Despite the affection that she felt for Carlos, the feeling that she felt within her that told her that she could not let this incident go was still within her. Finally, she decided to make a police report.

The depression, the dismay, and sadness lasted a long time for Mirtha. Even though she knew that Carlos was responsible for his behavior that put him face to face with the United States Justice system, she could not help but feel responsible.  Friends that they shared in common would go visit him in prison, and then they would call her to tell her that Carlos would cry for what happened.  Mirtha felt like she was responsible for the conditions he was going through.

In parallel, an immense feeling of loneliness had clouded her days.  For the longest time she had dedicated her time to Carlos and her job, that she did not know anyone else, or knew of any activities outside of couple activities.  She was very confused; she had to come to terms that she was alone, without him. Her whole life felt like it was different. She was determined to find a place where they offered therapy. In this way, she came to W.O.M.A.N. Inc.; there she was able to participate in groups and meet other women that had gone through similar circumstances.

Mirtha highlights that coming to the groups at W.O.M.A.N. Inc. gave her huge emotional relief.  She said that being surrounded by people that understood her feelings and her problem was a huge help in alleviating her feelings of anguish and confusion.

With time she was able to recover some of the happiness and she was starting to think of all the advantages of being single.  Now, she was able to do things without asking anyone for permission.  Also, she realized that Carlos seemed to have a problem with alcohol that had begun even before she met him, and it had resurfaced during a trip he made ​​months before the incident at Juan’s house.  Even then, she had felt an alarm telling her that the relationship was on its way to dissolve.  Ever since his return from a trip to El Salvador, Carlos behaved differently with her, a lot of times he would treat her badly and he drank even more than before.

Each time she was able to see with clarity that Carlos had a problem, even though it was sad to admit it, there existed repercussions that were impacting the relationship. With the passing of time, and despite still feeling affection for him, Mirtha was able to come to terms with her decision to separate.  Now, she felt that she could feel fine with being alone. She felt happy. She counted on her job, her friend Maria, and other people that she met during groups at W.O.M.A.N. Inc.; Mirtha felt that the time she spent away from Carlos taught her not to be afraid of loneliness, that she could feel happy being alone too. Now, many opportunities about how to lead her life are present, and she is happily herself, the one who can make those decisions.

English translation by Adilia, Latina Program Assistant

SanArte ~ Healing Hearts with Art Support Group for Spanish Speakers

We are excited to start a second round of Art support group sessions – this time for Spanish speakers! This support group utilizes art projects for expression and as a “healing tool”. There will be an art project each week as well as some other activities such as guided meditations, breathing exercises, etc. It is designed for anyone who is impacted by domestic violence. We are using projects designed by “A Window Between Worlds.” There will be group agreements that we will review at the beginning of each group.

SanArte
Grupo de Apoyo a través del arte

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Photo from WBW, the “I Can We Can” Project

Cuándo?
Desde el lunes 20 de abril hasta el lunes 13 de julio
De 10:30 am a 12 pm

El grupo se reúne todos los lunes por un total de 12 sesiones (no habrá grupo en Memorial Day)

Dónde?
W.O.M.A.N., Inc.
333 Valencia Street, Oficina 450
San Francisco, CA 94103

Quién podría participar? Este grupo será ofrecido completamente en español para personas que han sido afectadas por la violencia doméstica.

Preguntas? Contacte a Paola al (415) 864-4777 x305

Otra información importante:
* las facilitadoras del grupo no podrán abrir la puerta a personas que lleguen más de 15 minutos tarde. Por favor llegar a tiempo.

* se sugiere ofrecer un aporte de $2 a $20 por sesión. Cada participante puede donar si así lo desea.

* Si está preocupada/o por su seguridad al venir al grupo, estamos aquí para ayudar con un plan de seguridad.

* Lamentablemente no se ofrecerá cuidado de niños.


Start date:  Begins Monday, 4/20 10:30am-12:00pm. Group meets every Monday at this time

End date: Monday, 7/13 for a total of 12 sessions (office closed on Memorial Day).

Location: W.O.M.A.N., Inc. “meeting” room
333 Valencia st. Ste. 450
San Francisco, CA 94103

Process to attend: All Spanish-speaking community members impacted by domestic violence are invited to attend.

Questions? Contact Paola at (415) 864-4777 x305.

Other important Info:
-Groups will start on time and facilitators will not be able to answer the door for anyone who is more than 15 minutes late.

-There is a suggested donation of $2 to $20 for each group. You are invited to donate if you wish.

-If you have any concerns about your safety in attending the group, we are happy to talk with you more about that and assist with any safety planning you might want.

-We are unable to offer assistance with childcare during this group.

Writing as Healing: A Conversation with Arisa White

Arisa White photographed by Samatha Florio

Arisa White photographed by Samatha Florio

Arisa White is an Oakland-based poet and writer, whose powerful books touch upon the issue of domestic violence. She is the author of Hurrah’s Nest and A Penny Saved. On January 18, Arisa is going to conduct a “Write to Heal” workshop at the San Francisco Public Library. Everyone interested in writing is invited to come!

*UPDATE* The January 17 event has been canceled.

W.O.M.A.N., Inc. volunteer Julia Glosemeyer recently had a conversation with Arisa White over tea and French fries at San Francisco’s Elephant and Castle. They talked about writing, migration, growing up, and healing from trauma. The W.O.M.A.N., Inc. blog is publishing the whole exchange–dive in!

A WRITER’S PATH

What is your connection with W.O.M.A.N., Inc.?

I wrote a book called A Penny Saved, inspired by the story of Polly Mitchell, who was held captive in her home for ten years. Writing is a very solitary act, so I was trying to find a way to reach out to the community. I researched some local organizations, so that we could collaborate and partner around what I do well and what they do well. W.O.M.A.N., Inc. was already stored in my back-brain, as I had met Mariya Taher [W.O.M.A.N., Inc. Community Liaison Manager] through the online journal called Her Kind that I was working with. The journal is primarily for women writers who create fiction and non-fiction work, and Mariya had submitted an essay. After my book came out, I decided to reach out to her and propose a writing workshop.

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