October 2012

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month
DVAM evolved from the ‘Day of Unity’ in October 1981. It was conceived by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. The intent was to connect advocates across the nation who were looking to end domestic violence. The Day of Unity soon became an entire week devoted to a range of activities conducted at the state, local and national levels.

The activities conducted were as varied and diverse as the program sponsors but had common themes: mourning those who have died because of domestic violence, celebrating those who have survived, and connecting those working to end domestic violence.

In October 1987, the first Domestic Violence Awareness Month was observed. That same year marks the initiation of the first national domestic violence toll-free hotline. In 1989 the U.S. Congress passed Public Law 101-112 designating October of that year as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Such legislation has passed every year since with the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence providing key leadership in this effort. Each year, the Day of Unity is celebrated the first Monday of DVAM.

Why do we at WOMAN Inc think its important to recognize DVAM? After all, it seems as though there’s a new ‘month’ or ‘day’ every week. But this month allows us to celebrate and share our mission, to end domestic violence, with the community. DVAM serves as a platform for us to get the message out; that we all can be invested in ending domestic violence. It's a perfect time to remember that there are many types of domestic violence - it goes beyond physical abuse. All of us should care as much about a person who is isolated, coerced, threatened or bullied by a partner as much as we care about someone who is being physically hurt.

We ALL can play a role in ending domestic violence. Whether that means giving a friend who’s struggling with abuse our hotline number, questioning (with care and good intent) community members who use power and control in their intimate partnerships, or acknowledging that domestic violence exists in all our diverse communities.

We love that the domestic violence field ‘shares’ October with National Coming Out Day (October 11th) as well. We see this as an important intersection that many times, people ignore, forget about or just aren’t aware of. Unfortunately, domestic violence impacts LGBTQ communities as well as heterosexual couples.

Interested in how YOU can continue to help? Check out our wishlist and facebook page for ideas and inspiration.




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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, WOMAN 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 DV Facebook page.

Thank you again for your support!

~ Mariya

Connecting the Dots Domestic Violence Conference

WOMAN Inc is honored to have been selected by the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence (CPEDV) to present at their annual Connecting the Dots conference. We have been committed to fostering more LGBTQ-inclusive services for all survivors, and were lucky enough to work with folks from the LA Gay & Lesbian Center, Women's Shelter of Long Beach, and the YWCA Support Network in Sunnyvale to present on this topic. Our team came together to share our agencies' progress, challenges and goals around becoming more inclusive. We encouraged other DV agencies to make the same commitment and started a network of DV advocates that can support each other in moving forward with this important work!

¿Cómo Quieres Que Te Recuerden? Está en tus manos 
On September 25, the Mexican Consulate in San Francisco with the collaboration of WOMAN Inc, POCOVI, and La Red Latina, held a press conference to launch the domestic violence prevention campaign ¿Cómo Quieres que te Recuerden? Está en tus Manos (How do you want to be remembered? It’s in your hands). District Attorney George Gascón and State Senator Leland Yee were present to offer their support. The goal of the campaign is to raise awareness around the effects of domestic violence and ultimately eradicate it from the Spanish speaking communities.  

The campaign will run until the end of the year and includes a massive outreach effort to Mexican and Spanish-speaking communities throughout Northern California via fliers, posters, newspaper articles, and TV and radio interviews. To learn more about the campaign and to obtain information on domestic violence resources, please visit WOMAN Inc’s Latina Program Manager, Paola Souto will be involved in several radio interviews and presentations during the next few months of the campaign.

WOMAN Inc has been working with the Mexican Consulate for several years providing monthly DV prevention presentations in Spanish. This campaign offers a new opportunity for both organizations to work together to support survivors and end domestic violence in our communities.

Connecting California 2012
WOMAN Inc took part in the Connecting California 2012 Conference last month. The conference brought together grassroots leaders and donors and engaged them in difficult, but inspiring, conversations. Meeting with peers, and discussing our agencies' most FABULOUS FLOPS was enlightening and inspiring! Sharing not only the negative aspects of ‘failing’, but connecting with the benefits (learning, and otherwise) that accompany shortcomings was a key element of the conversation. Another highlight for us was listening to keynote speaker Rinku Sen. Rinku serves as President of the Applied Research Center and is a leading figure in the racial justice movement. As president and executive director of Applied Research Center and publisher of, she combines journalism and activism to make social change. She encouraged us all to never let go of our ‘crazy ideas’ for change, pointing out that all social justice movements started as ‘crazy ideas’. Though we learned and worked hard, we also found time to connect on a personal level—and even have fun!

Mac & Cheese Cook-Off
On September 15th, people from all over the Bay Area came together to celebrate the deliciousness that is macaroni by holding a Mac & Cheese Cook-off in which twelve dishes battled to win one of the four golden noodle trophies in the categories of 1) Classic Mac, 2) Exotic Mac, 3) Miss Congeniality, 4) Really Good Mac. The contestants prepared a variety of dishes ranging in name from "MacWaffles" which included sharp chedder, gruyere, parmesian baked into a waffle and topped with bacon maple syrup to "A little of the South, a little of the East" which included pork belly, leeks, sichuan, panko, gruyere. By the end of the event, people's bellies were full and $800 was raised to support WOMAN, Inc! Thank you Daniel Santiago, Roxanne Robledo, Zarah Patriana, and Andrea Hightower for putting on this delicious event and donating the proceeds to help survivors of domestic violence.

Faux Queen Pageant: The Next Generation
Faux Queen: “Drag queen trapped in a woman’s body.”

On September 16, it was the return of the Faux Queen Pageant, which generously benefitted WOMAN, Inc. along with two animal rescue organizations. What really made this event special and a lot of fun was that we were able to see the San Francisco Bay Area’s creative and artistic side. The contestants raised money based on their performance and since there was no shortage on talent on that night, it was definitely a successful event! A huge thank you to Bea Dazzler and Holy McGrail!

Surviving & Thriving 2012
On September 27, a group of Phenomenal Women led by Stephanie Burns hosted the third Surviving & Thriving (S&T) event, celebrating the phenomenal women in our lives who inspire and empower us.

Since S&T was first launched in 2010, they have raised about $15,000 for WOMAN, Inc. and SFWAR (San Francisco Women Against Rape), honoring and celebrating survivors, their healing and our communities. Inspired by Maya Angelou’s quote, “Surviving is important. Thriving is elegant”, S&T has been a collaborative effort of many passionate artists, organizations and individuals committed to empowering survivors of domestic and sexual violence. In this way, they seek to create a community that honors the past and celebrates the future.

It was an unforgettable and empowering evening that included fantastic art, a silent auction, cocktails, light hors d'oeuvres and music.We look forward to more S&T’s to come. Thank you Stephanie and the Phenomenal Women!

Program Highlight: Domestic Violence Crisis Line


The WOMAN, Inc 24-hour crisis line offers peer counseling, safety planning, and resources to individuals. The crisis line is run by volunteers and staff who are trained to be crisis line peer counselors. Very often our line is used as a safe space for a survivor to open up about their abusive situation, and our role as a peer counselor is to support them. Many times a survivor just needs someone to listen, and to validate the experiences they are going through. When a survivor calls the crisis line, we are able to connect them with a variety of services, ranging from legal, health, to children resources, via use of our Domestic Violence Information and Referral Center, an online database of resources. For those survivors in need of shelter services, we are also able to provide information regarding housing options and information regarding domestic violence shelters in the San Francisco Bay Area. The crisis line can also act as first step in accessing other support services offered at WOMAN, Inc., such as support groups, therapy, or the Latina program.

To learn more about the 24-hr Domestic Violence Crisis Line, please visit our WI Blog.

Staff Highlight: Mary Martinez

How long have you been working at WOMAN Inc?
4.5 years, but began as a crisis line volunteer

What do you do at WOMAN Inc?
I am the Crisis Line Supervisor. I help train those volunteers who are a part of the crisis line program, working closely with them to make sure they feel supported. I
meet with survivors and provide them with peer counseling, safety planning, and resources. I also work on the crisis line.

How did you come into this profession?
Growing up witnessing abuse played a large part in why I studied Sociology, which lead me to becoming a strong advocate against violence and that is why I work at an organization that supports survivors of relationship abuse.

What do you enjoy most about the Crisis Line Program?
This work can be difficult but reminding myself that our crisis line may be the first outlet a survivor uses to speak out about their abusive situation, and allowing them that space to process, is really powerful.

What are you looking forward to as the Crisis Line Program progresses?
Because we have a small staff, volunteers play a key role in our organization. I will always look forward to working with volunteers, using the tools we have to train them to be great peer counselors. As the crisis line progresses, volunteers will still be important to the program. And I appreciate them!

What do you enjoy most about working with WOMAN Inc?
Definitely the sense of humor! It helps when you’re doing difficult work.

Volunteer Appreciation Week
WOMAN, Inc is lucky to have such a dedicated community of volunteers! Staff and board members dedicated the first week in October to appreciating all of the hard work that volunteers put into working on our Crisis Line, Latina Program, Outreach, Children's Program, DV Information & Referral Center, Development & Fundraising and so much more. We are also grateful to Chestnut Bakery and Semifreddi's for supplying us with delicious baked goods, Starbucks for their generous donation of coffee, and staff and board members for contributing home-made cupcakes and an ice cream party to honor these amazing volunteers!


November Events
Global Exchange Fair Trade Store Fundraiser

Date: Friday, November 9, 2012
Time: 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm
Location: 4018 24th Street (near Noe), San Francisco, CA 94114 
Details: Come out to this shopping fundraiser party and support WOMAN, Inc.
There will be an assortment of foods from various cultures, and 20% of proceeds will go to support survivors of domestic violence.

Wish List

The following in-kind gifts (new or gently used) will help WOMAN, 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
  • Room/Cubicle Dividers
  • Laptops
  • Miniature Refrigerator
  • People willing to throw a Party With Purpose Party for WOMAN, Inc. For more details, please contact or leave a message at (415) 864-4777 ext 317
  • WOMAN Inc Facebook Followers -

To learn more about contributing to our wish list or making other types of donations, call Jill Zawisza at 415-864-4777, Ext 306.