|Latina Program Encourages Survivors to Know Their Rights
Most of the people in the US are descended from immigrants, and immigrants arrive here from all over the world under a wide variety of circumstances. As we know, domestic violence affects individuals from all walks of life; the same is true of immigrant survivors! However, immigrants often face additional barriers, such as language, finances, culture, and misinformation in general about their legal rights in this country. Understanding these additional challenges, W.O.M.A.N. Inc. offers bilingual and culturally sensitive services to Spanish-speaking survivors. Those services include case management, education about legal options, referrals, and advocacy. A specific story of how W.O.M.A.N. Inc. has assisted survivors of domestic violence comes from Carla, an undocumented immigrant, who came to W.O.M.A.N. Inc. seeking help after tolerating years of abuse.
Carla, whose name has been changed for confidentiality purposes, entered into a violent relationship after coming to the United States from Mexico with her three children. Her partner became emotionally abusive, isolating her, insulting her, and controlling her. When he finally beat her within earshot of her daughter, the police arrested him and took her to the hospital, but she was frightened and misinformed about the laws in the United States and downplayed her situation with the police out of fear of losing her children. She then filed a restraining order against him, but after her abuser was released from jail, he disregarded the restraining order and became even more controlling. Carla suffered a significant amount of physical and mental harm as a result of the abuse she received in this relationship. Finally, she was given information about W.O.M.A.N. Inc. services by a friend and contacted our agency. She first reached out to W.O.M.A.N. Inc. by calling our crisis line, in which she was able to speak to a Spanish-speaking Domestic Violence Peer Counselor. Soon after, she came into W.O.M.A.N. Inc. and sat down with staff from our agency to discuss her situation. Together with the Latina Program team member, the two of them discussed her options and what goals she would like to see happen in her situation. As a result of that meeting, she joined the Latina Program and began case management services at WOMAN Inc. Through the program, she was able to access our Therapy Program and learn her legal rights to remain in this country. Carla is now pursuing her education to become a teacher. She has also left her abusive relationship.
Carla has now graduated from the Latina Program and is a member of Echando Pa'lante survivor support group. She stated that her main hope is for the approval of her U visa. U visas are given to immigrants who are victims of crime (including domestic violence), providing them with temporary legal status and permission to work. She is expected to get the visa within several months. Thanks to crucial guidance provided by W.O.M.A.N. Inc. during the application process, this formerly undocumented immigrant will be able to stay in the this country. Her use of the W.O.M.A.N. Inc. resources—the Therapy Program and the Echando Pa’lante survivor empowerment group—transformed her initial desperation at being in an abusive relationship into a sense of hope and confidence for the future.
Carla is just one of the many immigrant survivors our agency helps every day. Each week, our agency is contacted by dozens of more survivors in need of help. Please help us continue to provide support to vulnerable population by donating to our agency today! To learn more about about the challenges faced by immigrant survivors of domestic violence, visit the W.O.M.A.N. Inc. Blog.
|Moving to End Domestic Violence: 8th Annual Walk Against Rape
For our April Moving to End Domestic Violence event, several W.O.M.A.N. Inc. volunteers and staff members participated in the San Francisco Women Against Rape
Annual Walk Against Rape. SFWAR mainly focuses on providing support to survivors of sexual assault as well as educating community members about the ways in which we, as a community, can end sexual violence. The walk takes place around the same time every year and is meant to raise awareness around these issues.
It was a beautiful, sunny day, and hundreds of people showed up for the event. The 3.5 mile walk started at the Women’s Building and wove through the Mission to the Castro and back down, ending at a festival in Potrero Del Sol Park. At the park, there were performers, food and drink, and several community organizations offering information about the services they provide. Overall, the walk was a huge success and was, once again, a form of healing for survivors of rape and an example of how our community is striving for the eradication of sexual violence. To learn more about SFWAR
and what other participants have to say about the Walk Against Rape, check out the full article on our W.O.M.A.N. Inc. Blog
Community Learning Collective Event
W.O.M.A.N. Inc. works closely with CORA (Community Overcoming Relationship Abuse), Asian Women's Shelter, CUAV (Community United Against Violence), and The Riley Center to provide shared trainings and workshops to DV advocates through our Community Learning Collective. Together, representatives from each agency planned and facilitated our latest training on Supporting Transgender Survivors on April 17th. The event started off with snacks and social time. A huge thank you to Cabot Creamery for their generous donation of cheese!
Next, we held a panel featuring Erin Armstrong from Asian & Pacific Islander Wellness TransThrive, Darrick Ing from Asian Pacific Islander Legal Outreach, Maisha Johnson from CUAV, and Anand Kalra from Transgender Law Center. These folks shared their knowledge of issues affecting Transgender communities and sources of support in the Bay Area. During the second half of the training, Willie Wilkinson shared his expertise on terminology, challenges, and resources for Transgender survivors and facilitated small group work focused on scenarios that might arise in DV agencies and how advocates can be more inclusive of Transgender survivors. Overall, the event was a success and the Community Learning Collective is excited to continue offering these training and community building opportunities!
Strong Field Project Welcomes Mary Martinez
We have exciting news! W.O.M.A.N. Inc.'s Crisis Line Supervisor, Mary Martinez, was accepted into the highly competitive Strong Field Leadership Development Program! The program is geared towards building a strong, coordinated network of domestic violence service providers in California!
Read on to learn what Jill & Mary have to say about this opportunity below.
"I was thrilled to learn that Mary Martinez, our Crisis Line Manager, was accepted into the Strong Field Project's Leadership Development Program
(LDP), Cohort 3. Having been a member of Cohort 2, I can vouch for the professional and personal development this opportunity has offered. I have shared key learnings from the LDP with W.O.M.A.N. Inc. Lessons such as how to manage change and transition, deciding which programs were important to keep going and which should come to an end, and peer coaching, which all came at just the right time for our agency. Knowing just how relevant and exciting those LDP conversations can be, I'm curious to see which learnings will speak to Mary and what she will bring back to the agency. In addition to the agency benefit, I am so happy that Mary has been afforded this opportunity. Being given space and time to reflect, away from the office, with talented and intelligent people is a rarity, and its an honor that Mary has earned. She will contribute to the group with her unique perspective, intelligence, humor, and authentic way of connecting with people. I know great things lie ahead for W.O.M.A.N. Inc. and for Mary!" ~ Jill Zawisza, W.O.M.A.N. Inc. Executive Director
"As someone who gets excited over the smallest things, being accepted into Strong Field Project Leadership Development Program was over the 'Sound of Music' mountains excitement for me! I was surprised when I found out I was one of twenty individuals picked amongst 60 applicants because of my tendency to be a little hard on myself, and I heard the other applications were really strong. But, being notified of the exciting news was some good validation for myself. I can't wait to connect with the others from Cohort 3 and develop some skills on how to be an effective leader not only at W.O.M.A.N. Inc., but in the anti-domestic violence community!" ~ Mary Martinez
W.O.M.A.N. Inc. Community Gathering
In May, we held a Community Building gathering as an ongoing education meeting. It was a great opportunity for W.O.M.A.N. Inc. volunteers to meet peers who help out in different areas of the agency as well as the volunteers who are in the same program but whose shifts are different.
Aside from sharing yummy snacks, participants completed personalized craft works which were then added to the W.O.M.A.N. Inc. community wall that displays similar works by present and past volunteers, staff members, and interns. It was great that there was time set aside for us to check in with staff about how the volunteer process is going for each of us. Receiving feedback and validation from staff and fellow volunteers was insightful and appreciated. We have all encountered similar situations doing the work we do, so knowing that we can relate to one another was comforting. Special thanks to Lily, Paola, and Mary for facilitating the meeting!
Thank You Taproot Foundation!
Recently, W.O.M.A.N. Inc. received a Service Grant through the Taproot Foundation. It is a grant-making foundation, but instead of cash grants, they give grants of service. These grants pair nonprofits with professional volunteers, with the end goal of improving the nonprofit’s operations and ability to better serve their clients. Most organizations tackling social problems don’t have access to the marketing, design, technology, management, or strategic planning resources they need to succeed. Taproot’s Service Grants provide the expertise of business professionals in the areas of Leadership Development & Strategic HR, Marketing, Strategy Management, and Information Technology.
The Service Grant will allow us to develop a strong strategic plan to help us ensure we are meeting the needs of domestic violence survivors in our community. Thank you Taproot Foundation! We look forward to working together over the next year!
Let's Swap Some Clothes!
Shopping is used by many as a stress reliever…that is until we see the price tags! Is there a way then to raise
money while shopping? Why yes! With a Clothing Swap Fundraiser of course!
Taking a cue from a past event, W.O.M.A.N. Inc.’s Events Committee held a “Clothing Swap” on April 28th
, where attendees brought in their clothes to “swap” with one another. For a small entrance fee of $10, everyone scouted out through vast piles of clothes for the “perfect” styles. Everyone was also treated to snacks of cheese, crackers, kettle corn, and red velvet cookies. Such a laid-back and fun get-together helped to raise funds to sustain services for domestic violence survivors. The clothes that were not taken were donated to Community Thrift
, and the proceeds from their sale will go to W.O.M.A.N. Inc. If you didn't participate in the event, but still would like to support our agency, you can bring your unwanted clothes to Community Thrift and tell them that you would like the proceeds to support our organization. More information about that here
As a domestic violence agency, we understand the great importance of having outlets for stress for both our clients and ourselves. Oftentimes, survivors of domestic violence feel like they do not have any outlets from the abuse since they have been silenced for so long. At W.O.M.A.N. Inc., we explore all possible options with them and reassure survivors that they can always call us if they ever they need anything. Most importantly, we try to restore the survivors’ sense of self and help them see their own strength. Survivors of domestic violence are unbelievably strong, yet are made to feel weak. It takes an extraordinarily strong person to go through such a traumatic experience as an abusive relationship and survive it!
Program Highlight--Domestic Violence Information and Referral Center
As an online interactive community network, the Domestic Violence Information and Referral Center (DVIRC) provides a safe space for member Bay Area domestic violence service providers to share, network, and access updated information so that effective and appropriate resources and referrals could be offered to domestic violence survivors. The project was developed by W.O.M.A.N. Inc. and Force by Design. It is funded by The Women’s Foundation of California, The Verizon Foundation, Blue Shield of California, and the David B. Gold Foundation.
The project began in 2010, when W.O.M.A.N. Inc. invited twenty-three DV agencies to come together to discuss the possibility of creating a website that would contain real-time information about the availability of bed space in domestic violence shelters. After convening, these agencies also discussed using technology to better understand what services are available to survivors throughout the Bay Area and to enhance communication amongst the DV agencies via a new technological platform.
Today, over 30 agencies are utilizing the Domestic Violence Information and Referral Center (DVIRC), which allows all participating DV shelters to directly enter their bed count information into the central database which is then conveniently accessible to participating DV service agencies. More so, the DVIRC is a strategic collaboration of domestic violence service providers using a centralized database in which to share resource information to more effectively and efficiently provide clients with the most up-to-date and accurate referrals as possible.
In 2012, the Blue Shield Foundation awarded W.O.M.A.N. Inc. with an additional grant to expand the system beyond the predominantly urban San Francisco Bay Area to include DV agencies located in suburban and rural geographic areas. By working with Harrington House in Del Norte County and the Coalition for Family Harmony in Ventura County and implementing the system at their agencies, W.O.M.A.N. Inc. hopes to learn what long-term sustainability and an eventual state-wide expansion of the system might look like. To learn more about the expansion of the DVIRC project, click on the link here
Staff Highlight--Mariya Taher
How long have you been working at W.O.M.A.N. Inc.?
I started as an outreach volunteer in 2010 and then went on to volunteer on the crisis line. I was a volunteer with the agency for about a year before joining the agency as a staff member in August 2011.
What do you do at W.O.M.A.N. Inc.?
I was hired to be the coordinator for the Domestic Violence Information and Referral Center (DVIRC), which is an interactive online community network where DV agencies can share information and resources with each other to help domestic violence survivors. So, I work with over 30 agencies to implement the system at their sites and provide trainings and such. In the last year, I also became the Development Coordinator at W.O.M.A.N. Inc., so I do everything from grant writing and supervising our events committee, social media, and development volunteers to working with other community partners to promote the work of our agency. One of our latest projects, which I really love coordinating, is our Moving to End Domestic Violence events. The events focus on building mental and physical wellness as well as building greater connection to the community by having community members, board, staff, volunteers, and others come together to participate in activities like our Doggie Walk
How did you come into this profession?
I went to grad school to get my Master in Social Work degree and while in school, I realized that the projects that I was working on and the opportunities I kept seeking out were all related to improving the lives of women and girls, especially in relation to violence against them. Also, like many others who work in the domestic violence profession, I had a personal connection with domestic violence. Those experiences are what led to my desire to learn more about why it happens and what is being done about it.
During my second year in grad school, I interned at the Department on the Status of Women, and one of their partner agencies was W.O.M.A.N. Inc. That’s how I first learned about the agency and the work they do. Since working at this agency, my knowledge has grown tremendously in this field. I now realize that domestic violence is not just a women’s issue. It happens to all, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, education level, income, etc. It’s a profession that I want to continue to work in and an issue that I want to continue to build more awareness around.
What are you looking forward to as W.O.M.A.N. Inc. continues to grow?
I love the idea of our agency being able to offer more holistic services. We have very strong direct services, such as our 24-hour crisis line, therapy program, etc., but what I’m really excited about it is how we are creating opportunities for survivors who may not be in immediate crisis anymore but who want continued support or want to stay connected to our agency. Our Echando Pa’lante and Moving to End Domestic Violence programs are seeking to do just that, so I can’t wait to see those programs grow more. I also love collaborating with other agencies throughout the state on the DVIRC project and am looking forward to growing the number of domestic violence service providers utilizing the system.
What do you enjoy most about working at W.O.M.A.N. Inc.?
Oh my gosh, working at this agency is so enjoyable! I know that might sound strange since I’m working at an anti-domestic violence agency. But the agency really values self-care, which is so important when you are working in such a trauma-filled field, and I must say that humor is a big part of that self-care. I think people are always surprised at how much laughter is always happening when they walk into our office and oh it can get distracting, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Volunteer Spotlight--Rowan Pack and Kabria Pervoe
Rowan Pack (right)
Rowan Pack joined W.O.M.A.N. Inc. in May 2012. Early on she helped in keeping our Domestic Violence Information and Referral Center up-to-date with helpful resource info for advocates. Soon after, Rowan went through our 40-hour training, providing thoughtful input on working with survivors, and becoming one of the most patient, reliable and dedicated crisis line volunteers we've seen. In addition to providing peer counseling in an empowering and nonjudgmental fashion, she also helps to guide new volunteers through their own observation process as they prepare to take their first call. Rowan has also been a stellar volunteer in the outreach area, attending community events and spreading the word about the anti-domestic violence movement and our services. We're thankful to work with such a considerate and committed volunteer! Read more about Rowan’s experiences on the W.O.M.A.N. Inc. Blog
Kabria Pervoe (left)
Kabria Pervoe joined our community of volunteers in February 2013 through an internship coordinated with the SAGE Scholars Program at UC Berkeley. She participated in our 40-hour training and has since been an active volunteer on the crisis line and in our Latina program. Kabria approaches this tough work with warmth, humor, and a great deal of understanding and appreciation for the many challenges that the survivors we work with are navigating. She is able to provide vital emotional and practical support to monolingual Spanish-speaking clients, assisting them with immigration benefits and in connecting them to other resources in the community. Kabria is leaving us to study Spanish for several months, but we look forward to working with her again when she returns! To learn more about Kabria and her experiences at W.O.M.A.N. Inc., please check out the W.O.M.A.N. Inc. Blog
Strawberry Waffle Dash 5k Race
Sunday, May 26, 2013
Golden Gate Park, 14th Avenue Meadow
As part of W.O.M.A.N. Inc.’s Moving to End Domestic Violence campaign for May, we will be participating in LEAP’s 2nd Annual Fun Run, hosted by Picnic Dash Productions. LEAP is a nonprofit whose mission is to provide quality arts education programs that help students build skills to reach their fullest potential. Picnic Dash Productions, an organization that creates fun running events to benefit nonprofits, has chosen LEAP as this year’s recipient of the funds raised from the event. The short run will be held in Golden Gate Park and will end with delicious strawberry waffles! The cost is $20 before April 10, $25 before May 23 and $30 the day of the run. Register here: bit.ly/waffle5k
. Please email Development Director Troy Coalman, email@example.com
for more information.
WOMAN, Inc. Quarterly Community Education Series
May 22, June 19, July 24
Time: 5:15 pm to 7:00 pm
Location: SF Public Library, 100 Larkin Street, SF, CA, 94102
Details:W.O.M.A.N. Inc. will be hosting monthly community education workshops around the issue of domestic violence, how to support survivors of domestic violence, and what healthy relationships entail. To learn more about these topics, come out to the events!
The following in-kind gifts (new or gently used) will help W.O.M.A.N. Inc. to support survivors of domestic violence in a holistic and relevant manner:
Small rolling luggage case for laptop
Digital camera with video
Gift Cards for Walgreens, Safeway, Ross, local restaurants, etc. (For survivors and children who must flee without funds).
Motel Vouchers (for those survivors who may only need one night in a confidential location until they can find a shelter or leave town).
Muni Passes, Muni Passport or Muni single ride tickets, or BART tickets
People willing to throw a Party With Purpose Party for W.O.M.A.N. Inc. For more details, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a message at (415) 864-4777 ext 317
W.O.M.A.N. Inc. Facebook Followers - https://www.facebook.com/WOMANInc
To learn more about contributing to our wish list or making other types of donations, call Jill Zawisza at 415-864-4777, Ext 306.