April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Make Time to Speak With Those You Love About Sexual Assault Awareness

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and at the YWCA, we want to help you become more aware of a subject that affects every community in a powerful way.

What began 40 years ago as a movement to make streets safer after dark has grown into an annual, national event highlighting violence against victims – violence which occurs at home, at work and in public. Sexual assault happens in communities of all sizes and locations; however, there are steps that communities and individuals can take to increase awareness, prevention and healing.

Consider just a few of the key facts surrounding sexual assault in America:

 

  • An assault may impact daily life whether it happened recently or many years ago. Each survivor reacts to sexual violence in their own way.
  • There are significant long-term and short-term impacts of sexual violence on overall health and well-being.
  • 32,000 pregnancies each year result from instances of rape – most often among women who are involved in an abusive relationship.
  • Emotional health damages include denial, fear, shame, anxiety, withdrawal and PTSD-like symptoms.
  • It is estimated that one out of every six American womenhas been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime.

 

Experts suggest communities discuss the difficult questions surrounding sexual assault, such as: What constitutes sexual assault or sexual violence? What should an individual do if they feel they are a victim now or might become one? How can a victim safely leave an abusive relationship? The answers to these questions all need to be shared widely.

Locally, the YWCA continues efforts year-round to provide resources and hope for victims. We offer support groups, life skill groups, rape crisis assistance and referrals to further resources in addition to our 24-hour crisis hotline and our Shelter for Abused and Homeless Women and Children. In April 2016, we are co-sponsors of a self-defense training event especially for women. The T.A.K.E. self-defense course will be offered free of charge to all women and girls over age 12 who register on April 9 at the Griffon Indoor Sports Complex on the MWSU campus. This event runs from 10am-12 noon (registration at 9am) and will give women tools to use in protecting themselves against unwanted advances or violence.

Last year the St. Joseph YWCA provided over 1,300 individual therapy sessions to help women heal from domestic violence and/or sexual assault. Today, we invite you to join our mission and share critical information about sexual assault and sexual violence. Visit www.ywcasj.org to learn more.

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How You Can Help Support the Local YWCA St Joseph Women’s Shelter?

How You Can Help Support the Local YWCA St Joseph Women’s Shelter?

Easy Ways to Support the YWCA St. Joseph’s Women’s Shelter and Make a Difference

Women and children who’ve been victimized by domestic violence can find shelter and safety at the YWCA St Joseph – but we need your help to provide many of the basic needs these families require as they heal and move forward.

The facts about domestic violence are consistently alarming. We know that 25 percent of all women experience domestic violence. The reality is that 33 percent of females are sexually abused by the time they turn 18, and 40 percent of adolescent girls know someone personally who’s been struck by a boyfriend. Many times, the danger of domestic violence actually increases during the term of a woman’s pregnancy.

Yet, because of the YWCA St Joseph and many caring community members, women facing these kinds of dangers have somewhere to go. (But we need your help to help meet the need in our community). Here are just a few ways you can help your YWCA St Joseph Shelter for Abused and Homeless Women and Children:

 

  • The next time you host a baby shower or child’s birthday party, use the opportunity to collect for our shelter. Invitees can bring something very small – like a personal hygiene product – or they could bring a second gift such as crayons and a color book, a stuffed animal, a book or puzzle to be given for use by families in the shelter.

 

  • Have your social or business group make a collection of needed items. It could be a one-time collection or you could collect all year at each regular meeting.

 

  • Reach out to other groups. Share the need for our local shelter and some basic information about the shelter here in town. Bring attention to the topic of domestic violence and give other groups the chance to give.

 

  • Make a personal donation. Your donation could be a one-time gift or you could donate gift cards on a semi-regular basis. (There is a 50 percent tax credit available for gifts of $100 or more!)

Currently the YWCA St Joseph shelter has two specific needs you could help to meet:

  1. Our families are in need of personal and feminine hygiene products. This includes things like toothbrushes and toothpaste, shampoo and conditioner, deodorant, soap, baby wipes or feminine products.
  2. We are collecting items for Easter baskets to be handed out to families living in our shelter. Things like candy, small toys or gifts, kids’ socks and undergarments are needed. So, too, are spring coats.

 

At the YWCA St. Joseph we believe in empowering women. To be empowered, women and their children need a way to escape a victim situation and begin a new hope for their future. Today, we invite you to help us help families in crisis and become part of a brighter community for everyone.

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YWCA Continues Advocating for the Health and Safety of Women and Children Against Domestic Violence

YWCA Continues Advocating for the Health and Safety of Women and Children Against Domestic Violence

What to Know About Domestic Violence Victim Services in St. Joseph

Imagine you are a young woman, perhaps with a child or two, and your home is not a safe place. You may want to go somewhere that is safe but you aren’t sure how you can afford to support yourself and your children and it feels like you have no options. What would you do? Since 1981 the St Joseph YWCA has been there to help protect women against domestic violence. We provide a temporary shelter along with other services to help women and children escape danger and move forward with their lives.

Every nine seconds in the United States, another woman becomes a victim of physical abuse (Partnership Against Domestic Violence). That statistic translates into one quarter of all women in our country who are facing domestic violence at some point in their life. Many times the danger reaches a point where women have to escape the situation in a hurry, and then a new set of options and resources is needed to move forward. The YWCA is there to help on both fronts.

The YWCA staffs a 24-hour hotline victims can call when they feel afraid or endangered. Our local YWCA team is fully trained to receive these calls and give women information about safety planning and the options that are available. Often a hotline phone call is the entry point women utilize before accessing additional support services. We also offer a Shelter for Abused and Homeless Women and Children as a resource to help prevent family homelessness. Victim Services also consists of the Rape Crisis program, professional counseling for victims, and the Bliss Manor Housing Program.

Women who reach out to the YWCA also have other tools for rebuilding their lives. We offer support groups, life skill groups, rape crisis assistance and referrals to further resources. Last year the YWCA St Joseph provided 1,354 professional counseling sessions, 6,650 hours of victim advocacy and 2,054 hours of case management. We housed 413 women and children for an average of a month and a half and led 266 support and educational groups.

It is crucial that we help women and children escape situations of domestic violence and find the tools they need to heal. Today in our country, over 3 million children have a front row seat to domestic violence every day. Furthermore, 40-70 percent of all female murder victims were first victims of domestic violence.

At the YWCA we offer all these services and more at no cost to women. We are on the front lines in terms of safeguarding women and children against violence in the home. We’re also busy restoring what’s been broken through abuse. Our team, volunteers and community partners work to give women a renewed sense of dignity by offering them help and hope. Find out how you can come alongside us in our mission today.

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March is National Women’s History Month

March is National Women’s History Month

Celebrating the National Women’s History Project

Women have played significant roles in all areas of life and history. They have left their mark in politics, the world of business, volunteer service, the arts, athletics, science the home and more. This month, the nation looks at women’s history to ensure that their stories are told, remembered and given the chance to inspire.

In the U.S., Women’s History Week was formalized by law in 1982, and in 1987, Women’s History Month became official. For several decades there has been a growing awareness that publicly acknowledging the critical contributions of women to society is a cultural necessity.

The National Women’s History Project (or NWHP) serves as the hub for the month-long emphasis on women’s contributions. The Project hosts an acclaimed and informative website (www.nwhp.org) where visitors can find in-depth information on women’s specific roles in history and the way their lives have impacted modern society. Schools, writers and interested citizens used the resource for valuable information on women and history. Last year, the site hosted over a million visitors.

This year the National Women’s History Project site is again highlighting the lives and careers of women past and present who have made vital contributions to public life and society. Women of all ages and races are given credit for their achievements, including:

Sister Mary Madonna Ashton in the field of public health
Daisy Bates in the area of Civil Rights
Sonia Pressman Fuentes for her contributions to equal employment opportunities and the feminist movement
Isabel Gonzalez as a champion for immigrant/citizenship rights
Suzan Shown Harjo in the field of Native American public policy advocacy
Judy Hart for her quarter century of work in the National Park Service and civic activism
Oveta Culp Hobby who pioneered women’s roles in the Army and was the first Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare
Barabar Mikulski who holds the record for most years served as a female Congressperson
Inez Mulholland as a suffragette movement leader

As stated in our Mission, the YWCA of St. Joseph is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women, and promoting peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all. The YWCA has built a legacy of helping women and families, and we’re building a community that shares in our mission. If you share in these beliefs, we welcome you to contact us to use your talents as a volunteer and as an advocate for our work – during Women’s History Month and beyond.

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The YWCA is On A Mission in 2016:

The YWCA is On A Mission in 2016:

New YWCA Brand Campaign Aims to Spotlight the Organization’s Important Social Role

The YWCA has been serving communities for more than 150 years, and in 2016, the organization wants to make sure that this work is not forgotten. In 2016, the organization is making an across-the-board push to reintroduce itself to the American public through its On A Mission strategy. Here are some key messages to read and share:

The YWCA is Bigger Than You Think

The YWCA is in more places doing more things than you may realize. The YWCA has offices in 120 countries serving millions of women and young girls. The organization helps 2 million women and girls each year in the U.S. alone through its 225 local chapters. The scope of the work being done through the YWCA makes it one of the largest charitable organizations in the country.

More Involved Than You Think

While the YWCA focuses its efforts mainly on helping women and children, that commitment has led it to become involved in more social issues also. The organization has had a part to play in crucial social changes such as affordable housing, voting rights, equal pay for equal work, prevention of violence and equal access to healthcare. The YWCA has been in the trenches supporting the needs and rights of diverse women and families for more than a century. (And they’re still going strong).

More Needed Than You Think

Unless you’ve been involved first hand, you may be unaware of how necessary YWCA services are on a day-to-day basis. For instance, did you realize that 25 percent of all women experience the domestic violence? Many of these victims say they feel stuck in situations of abuse and violence because they literally have nowhere else to go. The YWCA not only provides immediate housing for women and children, but also plays an active role in the community in working to prevent violence.

The YWCA believes in empowering women. This role includes offering resources like quality childcare so women can enhance their education toward employment. Job training programs offer additional opportunities for bright futures, along with numerous additional initiatives. It can be easy to overlook how needed this kind of community support truly is, and this year, the YWCA wants to remind you.

The YWCA is proud of its history, and the “On a Mission” campaign is designed to highlight the organization’s critical role in so many communities and families. Today, share this information or reach out to YWCA of St. Joseph to get involved. You’re invited to be part of the YWCA’s great story.

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October

October is a big month for the YWCA, as it is both breast cancer awareness month and domestic violence awareness month. Please take a few moments to look over our calendar of events for ways you might show your support for these causes in October.

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