A Safe House, Painted Purple
by Lyia, Weave
December 15, 2015
WEAVE has reached out to many communities over the decades but we acknowledge the cultural and linguistic barriers that arise which challenge us to find more creative avenues to have culturally sensitive spaces for victims and survivors who are Asian Pacific Islander (API). As part of the initiative to be more culturally competent and provide culturally sensitive materials, WEAVE has looked into hiring more supportive staff and educating ourselves. It is not enough to be present, but to listen to the needs of the community and WEAVE has readjusted itself to quickly address the community needs in the API community.
It is important to have a presence in the API community, to show that we understand it is hard to come forward, but we offer support and confidentiality to mitigate the fear of gossip or shame. This is a challenge because in some API communities, domestic violence and sexual assault agencies are seen as divorce houses; meaning, we tear apart families. Often times reaching out to WEAVE is the last thing that victims will do because of this sentiment. Despite these barriers, we are still ever present, ready with our pamphlets, documents and staff to speak with community members and leaders about our resources. We are not a house of divorce, we are a house free from violence. Being a part of the Next Generation initiative and changing ourselves to better the community is a step moving forward in addressing our community voices.
We are not in the business of breaking families, we are in the business of healing and family reunification. Our resources help empower mothers and fathers who are filing for a restraining order or where to find clothes and food without the stigma of shame from peering eyes. We offer some peace and privacy for those looking to get away, if we can provide an environment that will help a victim re-find their footing, then we have done our job.
Understanding that these are a barrier to all victims, but being cognizant of the intersections of race and gender is important in how WEAVE explains that we are more than a community agency, we are allies. Reaching out to the Chinese, Vietnamese, Hmong, etc communities is us standing in solidarity with victims and survivors; our doors and support and information lines are open 24 hours and 7 days a week.
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