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Growing the Seeds of Healing & Justice

Overview

Growing the Seeds of Healing and Justice
A Campaign Centering the Voices of Survivors in California

Survivors across California are expressing how they could feel more supported, what changes need to be made in communities to make healing & justice more accessible, and their hopes for the future. Click the flowers/root areas on the infographic, and explore even more responses below it. 

This project began as a Domestic Violence Awareness Month campaign launched in October 2019, and it has now become a mainstay of our communications efforts.

 
We thank NextGen Policy for generously funding our campaign’s survey translations. 

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More Survivor Responses

Accountability: What would you need from the person who caused you harm to feel they’ve held themselves accountable?

  • “I would need acknowledgement of the hurtful ways in which he treated me.” 
  • “Una disculpa quiza ayudaria algo, pero en carta y el saber que esta muy lejos seria mucho mejor.” | “An apology, it might help some, but in a letter, it would be much better, knowing that it is far away.”
  • “The mediator says that he did not feel any remorse for what he did. He only cares about how he felt when we left him. I do not know what I want him to feel. It is so like him to think only of himself.”
  • “Acknowledgement and admission of their abuse to me.”—Robyn Moore Hubbard  
  • “Admitting to the harm that they have caused to me and our children. Asking for forgiveness individually and accepting their role in the harm they caused to rebuild their relationship with their kids, so that they do not continue to feel abandoned.”—Sara Fusenig 
  • “To see they have changed their way of thinking.”
  • “Just to leave me alone. They’ve caused enough mental harm already.”
  • “Que se alejara de mi vida al 100%, porque es muy dificil que en muchas formas tenemos que estar lidiando con situaciones, despues de que ya salimos de esa relacion toxica especialmente cuando hay hij@s de pormedio, uno solo quiere recobrar su vida.”—Claudia Gonzalez | “To get him out of my life 100%, because it is very difficult. We have to be dealing with situations in many ways after we have already left that toxic relationship, especially when there are children involved. You just want to get your life back.”—Claudia Gonzalez
  • “To tell the truth and stop all the lies. End his stalking!”—Alice Connors
  • “To be in a recovery program. To be working on recovery. To acknowledge. To listen without defensiveness or denial of my feelings or experiences.”
  • “No puedo cambiar a esta persona, me frustraria esperando que se responsabilice. Yo puedo perdonarle, por mi salud mental, fisica y spiritual y verle como una persona enferma.” | “I can’t change this person. I would get frustrated waiting for him to take responsibility. I can forgive him for my own mental, physical, and spiritual health, and see him as a sick person.”
  •  ”To own up to their wrongdoings and enroll in DV and substance abuse classes. My abuser never held himself accountable and most don’t, so we victims look to the justice system to do it and we are often dismissed.”
  • “Show true vulnerability: acknowledge the abuse, understand the impact, admit the need to control (quit the blame and gas lighting). 0 need to seek forgiveness, let go of reputation, and do the work. Grow!” 
  • “Do what is due by law!”
  • “Mainly, I would ask for compensation for all the expenses incurred due to their act of domestic violence, whether it’s mental health sessions caused due to loss of job/income/house. Also for degrading woman’s rights and for treating her as his slave.”
  • “Nothing.”—Jessica Brown
  • “Admitting he did the things he did and said the things he said. An apology.”
  • “They need to acknowledge what they have done caused harm to the victims. They should change their behavior and make amends with the victims.”
  • “At least apologize. But I don’t think that’s gonna happen because he’s a narcissistic person. For him, he is always right.”—Rose
  • “I have no control over the other person’s accountability. I just learn new ways to keep myself safe, positive and alert so that they are unable to cause further harm.”—Vandana Kapoor 
  • “Disculpa.” | “Apology.”
  • “A verbal and written apology, and a promise to never come back in my life.” 
  • “I would need him to admit his mistake to me and to the public. He would need to answer to the law since his actions were violations to the law. He needs to pay for any monetary and moral damages that he has caused me and my children.”
  • “I would love for him to acknowledge the abuse, and truly apologize for the terror he put myself and our son through.”
  • “Change of behavior.”
  • “What I think I would need from them is for them to feel somewhat sorry for what they have done to me and justice in any kind of way.”
  • “The ability for him to communicate with me, even when we disagree, without anger or telling me what to do.”
  • “Validate my feelings as a victim to their power and control as well as seeking support (mental health/counseling) for themselves.”
  • “Jail. Financial restitution.”—Loren Denker
  • “Acknowledgement that is absent of any expectations. For example, an unconditional apology. Respect of my space, and decision to speak openly about my experience. Protection would be good as well. Such as, discouraging his friends from bashing me.”—Tina Rodriguez
  • “Financial payment x 7 for all he financially took from me. But how do you put a price on the loss of a childhood and all she and I endured because of his cruelty?  We can never get that back. Narcissists only understand money. He’d feel this.”—Rhonda Reyna
  • “Simply admitting that he did the abuse, he believes that he is the victim because his life was fucked up too.”—Julie Schwarz
  • “To stop verbally and physically hurting me and everyone supporting him and making it easier.”—Patricia Skeggs
  • “Him to put an end to his stalking me. Him accessing and attending treatment to understand his norms and the impact it has had on his children. Him then working to build a healthy relationship with his children.”—Alice Connors
  • “True forthcoming honesty acknowledging the harm caused. This needs to be on a voluntarily basis not because support is needed for a parole hearing or to get off probation. Stand up and call out victim blaming by mutual family members and friends.”—Tina Rodriguez
  • “Counseling, anger management, consequences, help with his children’s trauma.”
  • “They should meditate and confess their wrongs and apologize. Some of them don’t even think that was wrong to abuse.”
  • “Respect my needs and boundaries. Get therapy. Not do this to anyone else.”
  • “Just to leave me alone to heal, to feel peace, joy, love and worthy again.”

Accountability: What would you need from your friends, family, and community to feel safer and cared for?

  • “A greater understanding of what I was going through. I believe that I and my friends and family didn’t know how to respond to what was happening. I kept it a secret because I feared judgement.”
  • “Mucha educación y saber como pueden reaccionar ante una situacion de VD.” | “A lot of education and knowing how they may react to a DV situation.”
  • “Just respect and support.”
  • “Emotional support.”—Robyn Moore Hubbard  
  • “Understanding and not judgment of the abuse, and the impact of it on mental health. Understanding it takes to leave, and heal and move on from the abuse, and sometimes the abuse stays with you for longer than others wish it would.”—Sara Fusenig 
  • “To be more aware of how hard it is to get away from the abuser.”
  • “If they knew or can see that my spouse is an abuser, I would really appreciate their honesty in pointing it out. Also, it would really help if someone would occassionally donate food items. I may feel too ashamed to ask for it.”
  • “Apoyo moral y discreción. Muchas veces las personas violentas son muy obsesivas y buscan la manera de seguir invadiendo tu vida, a pesar de que ya no quieras verlos siempre tratan de investigar de ti, y te amenazan muchas veces, es dificil.”—Claudia Gonzalez | “Moral support and discretion. Violent people are often very obsessive and look for ways to continue invading your life, even though you no longer want to see them. They always try to find out about you, and they often threaten you. It is difficult.”—Claudia Gonzalez
  • “To provide classes on how to protect yourself from cyber stalking, including how to minimize the impact with technology trainings. Police need to be required to take reports on stalking. Especially when there is a restraining order in place.”—Alice Connors
  • “Non-judgement, empathy, compassion, acknowledgment of my strengths and resiliency, innocence and purity of heart. I only know what I know until consciousness reveals more to me…”
  • “Respeto a mis sentimientos, desiciones, y a mi tiempo de sanacion.” | “Respect for my feelings, decisions, and time for healing.”
  • “Quit shaming me or reminding me how annoying it is to hear about it. It’s beyond annoying to go through the trauma and I can’t get out if I feel badly that I have this reality. Also, stop the assumption that I cultivated abuse when I tried to avoid it.”
  • “Provide services in times of crisis; legal, social, socio civic, medical, counseling, and therapy for free.”
  • “I would like friends, family and community to support women who are willing to stand on their own feet and become independent—not blame her for going against her husband’s wills and demands. Instead, support her for being strong and facing challenges.”
  • “Support.”—Jessica Brown
  • “My friends were his friends, no help there. I was afraid for my family so they listened when I asked them to stay away. The people in my small town were also afraid, or dependent upon him for their meth, no safety there.” 
  • “They are open minded about my experience and not judge me and provide help to victims.”
  • “To understand the situation and please don’t pass judgement.”—Rose
  • “Their unconditional support in the form of a listening ear is enough at times, and their valuable suggestions and advice is welcome based on their experience.”—Vandana Kapoor 
  • “Tenerlos mas cercas.” | “For them to be closer.”
  • “Check in (in person would be the best but email and phone calls count).” 
  • “I would need my family and friends to be supportive, not judgmental. I would want the community to design and come up with support systems among agencies that can provide victims of domestic violence easily access community support.”
  • “I would like resources to be available when I need them, but I would really like to leave the past in the past. For those who know my history, I would appreciate their patience, space, and time in working on my trauma.”
  • “Understanding and education. I didn’t realize I was in a domestic abuse relationship until I was out of the relationship. Once I understood this, I was ashamed and embarrassed for a long time.”
  • “More support and understanding that it is difficult to open your eyes to what is love, lust, and obsession. A lot from a support system.”
  • “An indication of understanding that I was victimized and wasn’t lying or trying to make someone look ‘bad’.”
  • “I need to feel supported in my decision-making, and trusted to know that I know what is best for my family.”
  • “Support and validation. Understanding and support of male victims of domestic violence.”
  • “I had to move out of the community I lived in because I received no support of any kind. My family actually sided with my abuser so I can never feel safe around them again. I do have a few friends left, and like the community I have relocated to.”—Loren Denker
  • “Increased awareness of the challenges overcoming domestic violence to reduce assumptions, victim-blaming, and judgement.”—Tina Rodriguez
  • “That they be educated in Psychopathology so they understand what I went through. Instead of constantly being dismissive. I needed protection. I needed trauma recovery. I needed someone to show up physically. I did not get that.”—Rhonda Reyna
  • “Not blame me for not having the ‘strength’ to stay and make it work. Or make statements that there is something wrong with my generation and don’t know what ‘real’ love is.”—Ana B.
  • “Knowing I have a place to sleep and that this is an ongoing PTSD situation.”—Julie Schwarz
  • “More people to recognize the roots and outcomes of DV. Survivor led trainings for police, courts, & CBOs so that these individuals can understand the daily struggles and vulnerabilities when DVRO reports are not taken & investigated. Don’t dismiss.”—Alice Connors
  • “A nonjudgmental response to decision making about how to heal. Take action when I say I am not well. Offer to go for a walk, drive, or just sit in silence so I am reminded that I am not alone.”—Tina Rodriguez
  • “Financial stability and support, a non-judgmental approach where I don’t feel guilty for telling the truth, validation.”
  • “Patience and understanding.”—Shanae Cook
  • “I need their support in every way. I think community is doing good job supporting survivors.”
  • “Once they realized that I really am abused, I would need their support on helping me find another place to live and a new job if I don’t already have one, or have one that does not support me well. If they can’t support financially.”
  • “Remorse and acknowledgement for what they did, and to seek help so they don’t hurt another person again.”—Mai H.
  • “An understanding and nonjudgmental attitude.”—Mai H.

Economic Equity: What works to ensure you have access to safe, stable housing?

  • “Advocacy did help me to find resources such as housing, education, legal representation, etc.”
  • “Más información y recursos, protección real; aveces un simple papel de restricción no es suficiente y menos los fines de semana.” | “More information and resources, real protection, sometimes a simple restriction order is not enough, and even less so on weekends.”
  • “Having a job will be really helpful. Gaining customers and recruits in my direct selling would be helpful for me to be able to provide a safe house for my children.”
  • “Access to childcare, a stable job, and lower rents.”—Sara Fusenig 
  • “Live in a gated community.”
  • “Finding a supportive and understanding manager. Right now I’m still working on getting the financial help.”
  • “Pues al principio todo, muchas mujeres estamos basicamente prisioneras en nuestras casas. Nos tienen tan controladas que no tenemos trabajo, no manejamos, no tenemos recursos economicos, ni libertad de desicion.”—Claudia Gonzalez | “Well, first of all, many of us women are basically prisoners in our own homes. They have us so controlled that we can’t have a job, we don’t drive, we don’t have economic resources or any freedom of choice.”—Claudia Gonzalez
  • “Laws requiring landlords to allow tenants with domestic violence and restraining orders to have more locks, also placing cameras on property. No disclosure of tenant info without their permission.”—Alice Connors
  • “Looking for a job, having a job, making a sustainable living wage, safe and healthy relationships, keep doing my inner work and practices, communicate, know my community, show up…invite…”
  • “Encontrar un recurso donde dieran prioridad a una sobreviviente, me facilite la busqueda.” | “Finding a resource where they would give priority to a survivor, facilitating my search.”
  • “A better paying job. :( “
  • “Educate victims regarding housing services available for them.”
  • “There are many non-profit organizations already helping women in providing housing needs when they have no place of their own. But there are times when we move from one state to another, and getting help from a new organization becomes challenging.”
  • “The My Sisters House Program and keep pushing forward.”—Jessica Brown
  • “Successfully prosecuting him for multiple crimes, which sent him to prison and offered me the ability to use the services offered: shelter, housing assistance, and job training to free myself from that town and that life.”
  •  ”Access to housing services, funds to help me pay for housing. Access to education so I can obtain skills that will enable me to be self-sufficient over the long term.”
  • “I hope that our law makers and the government in general take a closer look into this problem, and make budgets for shelters and victims.”—Rose 
  • “Stable employment helps.”—Vandana Kapoor 
  • “Community and reasonably priced rental property (no 1-year contract and no increase in rent).”
  • “Tener trabajo.” | “A Job.”
  • “To make sure that information is made accessible, and the process to access is not complicated or if it has to be complicated, then provide people or offices that can provide the necessary support. To provide culturally-sensitive materials or services.”
  • “I am privileged in having stable, professional work and a second income.”
  • “I would say that establishing affordable housing for single parents of domestic abuse, and getting the word out that it exists. I never thought to ask for help, because I was so wrapped up in day to day survival.”
  • “I lived in MN but because of CA precedent, I was not afforded safety under the law to live in my home.  The abuser was allowed to live in his home.”
  • “Me! Seriously, I worked my ass off to ensure mine and my children’s safety, including buying a home so we couldn’t be evicted due to the actions of others.”
  • “I was lucky to be able to move back in with my parents. Otherwise, I’d have needed other support to find affordable housing for my situation.”—Diana McAnulty
  • “This is a difficult issue due to financial abuse prior to having to seek shelter elsewhere. I have had a stable living situation, but I am about to run out of money due to the low wage at my part time job and the price of housing in my new location.”—Loren Denker
  • “Employment opportunities with decent pay. It’s insulting that he has a record, no formal education, and double the salary. Not only does he have a home, he has houses, because his credit is great with his high salary.”—Tina Rodriguez
  • “He should have to buy me a new home where ever I choose to live. He took mine away. Has more than enough resources to buy 5 homes.”—Rhonda Reyna
  • “My significant other is a white male in America.”—Ana B.
  • “I work three jobs.”—Julie Schwarz
  • “Understanding and compassion from social workers and CPS. They do nothing to help the abused, they make it harder because of the incentives. They are dehumanizing and make you feel ashamed.”—Patricia Skeggs
  • “Availability of affordable housing that does not intentionally screen survivors out. More property owners need to know that survivors can be responsible, once we find safe housing.”—Tina Rodriguez
  • “For me, I had to reapply for everything because I gave up everything to live with him. I was met with compassion but it was a struggle to explain everything again, and lengthy. I was fortunate to gain everything back. I do struggle to meet ends meet.”
  • ”Being able to come to My Sisters House.”
  • “We need financial help for housing for at least six months or so. Because of DV I lost my job and left my house with nothing but my children. It’s hard to find a job that fits my schedule since I’m sole custody.
  • Also, we need help with jobs.”
  • “Having a job.”
  • “I just don’t know where it/they are if I need to run to a safe haven. And if I do know where it/they are, I want to know that I’m safe and don’t have to go back to abuse.”
  • “Community collaboration.”—Mai H.

Racial Justice/Decolonization: Answered by Native and immigrant survivors, as well as survivors of color – How do support systems need to be improved to meet your needs?

  • “The fact that I didn’t speak English at that time was a difficult issue for me. Bilingual advocates are a tremendous source of support.”
  • “Más gente bilingues mas clases en el mismo idioma , más programas para information de como poder superarse despued de VD y tanto baja estima muchas no sabemos como salir adelante por si solas y eso es muy atemorizador en un pais extrano.” | “More bilingual people, more classes in one’s language, more programs with information on how to move forward after DV and so much low esteem. Many of us don’t know how to get by on our own, and that is very scary in a foreign country.”
  • “I don’t know. I don’t think they have enough empathy for those in their shelter. Like they need to get a job at once to continue in the program. What if nobody’s hiring them? maybe they can just continue with direct selling.”
  • “I believe that there is a stigma associated with women of color who are also single mothers, and even further compounding that is when you are a younger woman of color who is a single mom. Understanding the bias is the first step, but actions are needed.”—Sara Fusenig 
  • “Hay muchas maneras, porque al ser inmigrante como que uno siempre esta en medio de una situacion dificil, especialmente los procesos migratorios son muy lentos, y es dificil encontrar trabajo al principio, es muy dura esa situacion.”—Claudia Gonzalez | “There are many ways, because when you’re an immigrant you’re always stuck in the middle of a difficult situation. Especially immigration processes, which are very slow, and at first it is difficult to find work. It’s a very difficult situation.”—Claudia Gonzalez
  • “To do research on why victims stay. The most painful question is, ‘why did you stay?’ I stayed because I didn’t realize it was abusive. I was also in denial that the person I loved most would want to hurt me until one final incident broke my denial.”
  • “Getting referrals to organizations in a different state could be smoother and quicker. Also, legal/immigration assistance could be improved for victims who are in status and have a job/income but are about to lose their job/income soon.” 
  • “White Male Privilege is a tough issue to crack. Take the money out of Family Law. It’s criminal what lawyers are charging and doing to “victims’. Family Law attorneys should be on a fixed income. That will level the field and seek ethical solutions.”—Rhonda Reyna
  • “Great programs.”—Jessica Brown
  • “Have more services that are more culturally sensitive. Have more language and culture interpreters who can help me properly communicate with the staff about my needs.”
  • “Unconditional listening helps most of the time. So if we are able to share ourselves with ongoing challenges and get encouragement on our small increment steps, it helps.”—Vandana Kapoor
  • “Provide more immigration attorneys who can tackle complicated issues such as family law and employment-related laws. Also, it would be very helpful if there a library of DV materials, immigration, family law and community services in one place.”
  • “Always accept every race and any gender.”
  • “Society/community leaders as well as public administrators looking past the person’s color and status in this country.”
  • “Making shelters a safe haven. DV victims are not eligible for public housing.”—Julie Schwarz
  • “DV trainings which include DV identification and solutions to cultural barriers. These trainings should be at Family Justice Centers, schools and human assistance offices to protect victims from abusers’ knowledge of attendance.”—Alice Connors
  • “These systems need to be diverse (healthcare, education, law enforcement). Diversity needs to be at all levels, especially management. The barriers, and gaps in services that we experience are not listed in the grants operated by mainstream agencies.”—Tina Rodriguez
  • “They are pretty good, maybe the amount of time it takes to process the Safe at Home Program.”—Shanae Cook
  • “The support system needs to improve by providing legal help so as family advocate.”

Racial Justice/Decolonization: Answered by Native and immigrant survivors, as well as survivors of color – What policies would enhance/would have enhanced your safety?

  • “I did find support and felt safe under the guidelines of the advocates from the Sexual Assault Center in Woodland. However, not everyone has an advocate and there is a code of silence around domestic violence.”
  • “Saber q no importa de donde vengas o como lleguaste el saber que alguien te puede ayudar sin importar tu estatus, el no tener el temor de q seria peor si buscas ayuda.” | “Knowing that it doesn’t matter where you come from or how you got here. Knowing that someone can help you regardless of your status. Not being afraid that it might be worse if you seek help.”
  • “For service providers, I think asking if survivors feel that they are being served is important. We may face different struggles in getting jobs, and in how we are treated in general.”—Sara Fusenig 
  • “Que pudieran dar una oportunidad directa para prepararse para estudiar. Aunque sea a nuestros hijos, porque muchas veces ellos no pueden continuar con sus estudios. Poder tener un lugar en donde trabajar casi inmediatamente. Solo queremos superarnos.”—Claudia Gonzalez | “Direct opportunities could be provided to help with education. Even if it’s just for our children, because many times they cannot continue with their studies. Being able to get a job right away. We just want to get ahead.”
  • “Gun control. My abuser used gun violence—he never hunted and had guns in almost every room of our home. They were a message to me.”
  • “A policy that ensures security for DV victims not to be deported by authorities when an abuser reports to the cops or ICE.”
  • “That VAWA approved victims be granted expedited services such as green card issuance.” 
  • “Early assistance in legal matters and organizations allowing more victims to participate in their intake program could have enhanced safety faster and made the process easier for victims and their families. But, most of the organizations do help.”
  • “I like the combination of services offered at the shelter, where I not only received housing/food services but legal, counseling, and job training. The combination of services enabled me to believe in myself and provide practical ways for me to start over.”
  • “Existing policies are good, but no matter how many policies are made, some people become adept in playing with the system and use it for their selfish motives.”—Vandana Kapoor
  • “Just having more people trained to refer to tribal specific services or agencies that serve Native people.”
  • “Having access to grants and housing so that we aren’t left with nothing.”—Julie Schwarz
  • “DV subject matter experts respond with ALL 911 calls for DV cases. DV databases that capture longevity of restraining orders against an abuser. Victim’s cell phone and internet registered under the Secretary of State’s Safe at Home Program so DAs can prosecute stalkers.”—Alice Connors
  • “SB 375, which would increase the time limit that survivors can apply for victim compensation from 3 years to 10. This is important because it takes us numerous times to report before an actual response occurs.”—Tina Rodriguez
  • “Have available translators for all languages and employed survivors so they can relate to clients’ situations.”—Mai H.
  • “That when a mother is abused, so is the child. Don’t give abusers the opportunity to continue abusing the mother through the child by allowing the perpetrator to have custody.”—Mai H.

Disability Justice: Answered by survivors who are disabled: How do support systems need to be improved to meet your needs?

  • “Access to disability funds needs to be simplified and streamlined in a big way. Disability applicants should not be treated like liars and criminals, trying to scam the system. Greater protection and support needs to exist for survivors.”—Maya David 
  • “More education regarding rights and available services. Give more funding to non profit organizations helping DV victims to better cater to them and their family needs. Make legal assistance accessible and victim-friendly.” 
  • “Don’t discriminate.”—Jessica Brown
  • “I wish there are more interpreters to help me to communicate with attorneys, counselors, and educational classes.”
  • “Ofreciendo talleres con mas información.” | “Offer more training and workshops.”
  • “Better understanding of the mental health needs of clients.”
  • “I ended up homeless, because we could not afford to stay in our home. Housing, grants, work opportunities, the means to start over.”—Julie Schwarz
  • “More DV identification, awareness and resources for blind and disabled people.”—Alice Connors
  • “That our scars are real, so help instead of judging and have more community programs that assist survivors to self-sufficiency.”—Mai H.

​Gender Justice: Given that one of the root causes of DV is rigid gender roles, what changes in your community would enhance the feeling of being accepted for who you are? We encouraged survivors of all genders to respond, including people who identify as gender fluid, trans, Two Spirit, and nonbinary.

  • “Elimination of the attitude that since I stayed, it must not have been that bad and elimination of judgment for not leaving sooner.”—Robyn Moore Hubbard  
  • “Education that girls and women can lead households and that there is nothing emasculating about that.”—Sara Fusenig 
  • “When completing official forms for benefits and housing, there needs to be options reflective of non-binary and transgender persons. Currently, it’s not consistent at all on official documents, survivors are forced to deadname, and be misgendered.”—Maya David 
  • “What I know is that I have neurofibromatosis, a genetic skin condition. Most people treat me like I’m dumb or disable. They try to run my life or make decision for me. It would be nice if most people treat me like I’m able to do things on my own.”
  • “There should be a campaign to stop minimizing abuse. DV culture competency. Safe spaces at stores, etc. where victims can call for help without using their phones. Cellphone addresses should be under Safe at Home/the DA so cyberstalking can be tracked and prosecuted.”—Alice Connors
  • “There would be more education and awareness about how socialization of gender creates stereotypes and prejudice…more empowerment on what we are capable of…mind-body-spirit practice and education.”
  • “Los sobrevivientes tenemos problemas con ansiedad, depression, y nerviosa ademas de otras enfermedades fisicas, nesecitamos comprension, aceptacion y apoyo.” | “Survivors have problems with anxiety, depression, living on the edge in addition to other physical illnesses. We need understanding, acceptance, and support.”
  • “Giving women’s voice merit and weight.”
  • “Educate the community regarding gender disparities and hold dialogues for information.”
  • “Family, friends and communities shall support women to make their own decisions, be financially independent and not totally depend on her husband. Women should also feel safe and secure and come out of cultural restrictions to report domestic violence.” 
  • “It being widely known that everyone is accepted.”—Jessica Brown
  • “More education and outreach to the communities.”
  • “His way of life reinforced that as a wife, I was to accept his anger so he could function in the world. No matter how sick his world was.”
  • “I think if we are financially independent, the gender roles take back seat. And we are able to do everything other gender can do.”—Vandana Kapoor
  • “Ser como es uno.” | “To be who you are.”
  • “I think my community is very inclusive and accepting of all genders and races.”
  • “You cannot force attorneys to investigate a potential client for truth. My abuser convinced his attorney that I was the perpetrator despite two (2) restraining orders to protect me.”
  • “Not titling anybody for who they are and where they come from.”
  • “I’m not so sure. I have nuerofibromatosis, a genetic mutation.”
  • “My perpetrator was a male immigrant who had a rigid view of women’s roles. Cultural education along with language studies might help.”*—Diana McAnulty
    *We understand that regardless of immigration status, beliefs on rigid gender roles are held throughout the world.
  • “The county in which I now live seems to be more progressive than Los Angeles on these issues.”—Loren Denker
  • “More education on the role gender assignment pays in increasing violence.”—Tina Rodriguez
  • “A higher value needs to be placed on stay at home mothers. This IS the most important job a woman can have. Telling her to go get a job that pays nothing and have her kids raised by nannies is insane! He should have to pay her mom wage.”—Rhonda Reyna
  • “Not turning a blind eye to abuse and knowing that leaving is not necessarily a black and white decision.”—Julie Schwarz
  • “Stop judging so harshly, treating us as victims and having judges say we are broken now! I begged for 12 years for help and the system just ignored me or looked down on me. I got no help until he overdosed and died 2 years ago.”—Patricia Skeggs
  • “School and community presentations where the roles are reversed. People need to experience what it feels like to be a girl and a transgender individual. Theatre performances on DV like the Women of Juarez. Infomercials on what is abuse/dv. Bus ads.”—Alice Connors

Embracing Sexual Orientation: Answered by survivors who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, pansexual, or asexual - How can schools, workplaces religious institutions, etc. create welcoming environments for lesbian, gay, bisexual, pansexual, and asexual survivors, and how would this work to prevent abusive tactics?

  • “There needs to be more recognition and acceptance for asexual people, and not feeling forced to associate trauma with sexuality AND gender identity. This is invalidating.”—Maya David 
  • “They should be polite as possible.”—Jessica Brown
  • “More education and training to encourage more open-mindedness and put love and caring first before judgement.”
  • “More awareness campaigns in schools, workplaces and religious institutions helps. Non-profit organizations make a difference by giving confidence to victims, providing comfort and resources as well as creating more acceptance in the community.”—Vandana Kapoor
  • “Just knowing and sharing the signs of being in an abusive relationship.”—Julie Schwarz
  • “By identifying the attributes of DV, awareness on how people become victims and abusers.  An environment of understanding creates less judgments and a place for prevention, change, growth and unity. Teach walking in their shoes (the daily life of).”—Alice Connors
  • “Conduct trainings to staff, parents, and students on the LGBTQ community and the violence experienced. Offer a campus club and a hotline for those being bullied.”—Tina Rodriguez

Faith-Based Support: How can faith-based institutions support and care for individuals and families experiencing abuse?

  • “Faith based institutions need to understand the problem and educate their congregations.”
  • “El ser mas comprensibles y no ser tan incredulos a lo que pasa y puede pasar, mas educación para ellos sobre violencia domestica quiza ayude un poco.” | “Being more understanding and not being so skeptical about what is happening and might happen. More education for them about domestic violence might help a little.”
  • “The Catholic church and Christian faith are very much into forgiveness. They keep teaching that Jesus will be able to change the person if you just believe. It did not happen. I kept praying for 16 years.”
  • “Elimination of the attitude that since I stayed, it must not have been that bad and elimination of judgment for not leaving sooner.”—Robyn Moore Hubbard  
  • “I think listening is important. Maybe offer counseling.”
  • “Not discriminating, including erasing or misgendering LGBTQIA people, based on religious dogmas. Faith based organizations should be inclusive, safe and non-judgmental of all survivors, including LGBTQIA.”—Maya David 
  • “If the abuse is extreme and severe, please help guide them in an escape plan to get out.” (For those expressing the need to leave)
  • “Deberian de tener un seguimiento real de la situacion, en demasiadas iglesias muchas veces se forza a las mujeres a permanecer junto a su agresor, porque piensan que la integracion familiar es muy importante, y dificilmente hay mujeres que expresan.”—Claudia Gonzalez | “They should have a real follow-up on the situation. Too many churches pressure women to stay with their aggressor, because they think that it is very important to keep the family together, and there are hardly any women who speak up.”—Claudia Gonzalez
  • “Provide a safe space where women can come during service to seek help. They can meet with a counselor during service time to gain resources to leave. Logs should be kept with the DV therapist documenting the abuse in case something happens to her.”—Alice Connors
  • “Less indoctrination and more speaking on matters of the heart…compassionate education..”
  • “Stop shaming and patronizing. I recommend reading up on ‘psychopath free’ about how to teach people to love themselves through self care and what it means to victim blame accidentally.”
  • “Faith-based institutions should establish accessible support services where victims can anonymously go to get immediate support. Have committees to take care of abused family members, like temporary shelter, family counseling, child care, etc.” 
  • “Don’t discriminate based on faith.”—Jessica Brown
  • “I was extremely fortunate to have a pastor who preached that abuse was not to be tolerated and for the abuser to seek help, emotionally and spiritually.”
  • “More education and discussions about abuse, and warmly support and help victims of abuse. Open doors and opportunities for victims and make them feel welcome and not ashamed.”
  • “Faith based -support and care for victims gives them hope and inspiration. Believing that there is a God who loves you unconditionally gives you motivation to live…and not quit life.”—Rose
  • “Faith based institutions can play a big role in acceptance, and if people go once a week there, and get the acceptance, it can change their lives, in feeling good about themselves and help in retaining their self esteem.”—Vandana Kapoor
  • “Con talleres.” | “With workshops”
  • “People have different faiths and beliefs. If a person is religious and an institution matches with their beliefs, I think that’s really nice. Otherwise ‘faith-based support’ could be undesired.”
  • “Inform faithful people about the prevalence of DV issues. Create communities where DV victims can run to for support. Have family counselors. Make priests available even beyond office hours when the need/emergency arises.” 
  • “Establish internal controls or policies and procedures in addressing abuse. Survivors have been silenced through systematic means – a systematic approach is required to address this epidemic.”
  • “Present yourself as an ally. Always. Show us that you are a trustworthy institution by keeping information confidential. Follow through with resources, and take preventative measures (i.e. posters, classes, etc.). We need someone to open up to for help.”
  • “My church was very supportive of me in many ways.  Mostly, they did not blame me or tell me to go back.”
  • “Many times faith-based institutions can judge people. They might help in one way, but they do judge on the gender?”
  • “No answer -  I distrust faith based organizations, there has been way too much evil committed against indigenous people in the name of religion/faith.”
  • “Being properly educated and made aware of options that survivors may need/want. Having a relationship with local DV/SA agencies.”
  • “There is terrible bias within the Jewish community, even where I have moved to. I asked the executive director where I work (a Jewish organization) to put something simple on the Family Services portion of our web page re: hotlines – she refused.”—Loren Denker
  • “Be open to outside agencies being part of the response to violence. Relying solely on church staff will not bring resources on rights to those that need help.”—Tina Rodriguez
  • “My church was the only place I did not try. I wish I had because the police, crisis center, probation, social services, sheriff’s dept., CPS and our own families turned their backs on me and my daughter. No help!”—Patricia Skeggs
  • “Not insisting that our faith be a variable in them sheltering us.” —Julie Schwarz
  • “Recruit a survivor to be part of staff in the faith based community.”—Tina Rodriguez
  • “Stop telling an abused woman to keep praying when she comes to seek help. It’s possible she’s done all the praying she could and he hasn’t changed. Perhaps it’s God that brought her to you for help to seek refuge.”—Mai H.
  • “Allowing the woman to not be condemned if she decides to leave her husband or vice versa. It can be very difficult to leave when everyone is telling you to just work it out and pray. If the abuser is still abusive it can be difficult to reach out.”
  • “Always offer help and prayers”—Shanae Cook

Faith-Based Support: How can faith-based institutions change the social norms that contribute to domestic violence?

  • “Viendo la raleadada tal cual es q es de vida o muerte, el educarse y ser mas comprensibles al mundo de afuera.” | “Seeing the reality for what it is, that it’s a matter of life or death. Educating and being more understanding about the outside world.”
  • “They can also add mental health assessment in the marriage requirements.”
  • “Make such violations of harm, well being and safety carry harsher consequences in abusers’ lives.”—Robyn Moore Hubbard  
  • “Maybe have separate men and women groups. Talk to them about feelings.”
  • “Not compounding domestic rape as being accepted because the relationship was a choice. Not trying to force couples to stay together no matter what, even when there’s abuse. ALL abuse needs to be included too.”—Maya David 
  • “Stop saying God hates divorce. God hates abuse more.”
  • “Siendo consientes de que es un problema que se tiene que parar, y ayudar a las victimas, ya que puede ser mujer, adolescentes, niños, hombres, ancianos, pero muchas veces nos quedamos callados por temor.”—Claudia Gonzalez | “Being aware that it is a problem that has to be stopped, and helping the victims, since it might be a woman, teenagers, children, men, the elderly, but often we don’t say anything out of fear.”—Claudia Gonzalez
  • “Stop telling women they need to be subordinate to men. Women need to have similar roles in the FBI as men. I.E.: Pastors, not just the pretty wife. Abuse of women and children should not be tolerated and men who abuse should be held accountable.”—Alice Connors
  • “Stop teaching abstinence as the only answer…stop preaching and listen more. Practice what they preach.”
  • “Educando a los ministros y feligreses y evaluandolos por que muchos abusos ocurren en las Iglesias.” | “Educating ministers and parishioners and evaluating why so many abuses occur in churches.”
  • “Historically, institutions have been patriarchal and strive to keep marriages together over health safety. Use resources.”
  • “For Faith-based institutions to re-evaluate doctrines and dogmas which are not freeing and restrictive, such as sexual orientation, divorce and annulment. 
    Speed up the process in granting annulment when appropriate.” 
  • “Promoting non-violence.”—Jessica Brown
  • “No tolerance. For domestic abuse, child abuse, racial abuse, financial abuse… any and all harm to others should be recognized and fought against.”
  • “Telling more stories of victims of abuse, and making it clear that abuse is immoral and illegal. Challenge and change social norms.”
  • “Help educate the community.”—Rose
  • “Faith based institutions have a big role in convincing people that with time and place, things change and people need to adapt themselves positively to such changes. They can give interpretation of religious texts in a way that makes practical sense.”—Vandana Kapoor
  • “Dejando el machismo a un lado.” | “Letting go of machismo.”
  • “Educate people about what domestic violence is.” 
  • “This takes time and revamping of church teachings, which would come from higher-ups. But for DV to be addressed, beliefs or teachings that contribute to it must be changed, including teaching that men should be the head of the household by all means.”
  • “The DV movement has to find spaces for faith-based groups who do not identify or know how to be active in a secular, professional community.”
  • “Help change the common gender narrative. Preach that all sexes are allowed to open up and be sensitive. That expressing our emotions in healthy ways is extremely important to maintain productive relationships. Teach open communication.”
  • “I have more to say than can be written here.”
  • “Not judging and understanding that it is not easy to get out of a domestic violence relationship.”
  • “Speak about the wrongness of abuse and offering services or information to access services to assist both the victim and the person causing harm.”
  • “Not actively condone it would be a great start.”—Ana B.
  • “Stop perpetuating that staying together is the only solution, that the actual breaking up of the family is not the abused leaving but when the abuser is violent.”—Julie Schwarz
  • “Stop talking about women’s submission to men! Instead talk about our responsibility not to judge but to be our brothers/sisters keeper. Stop exonerating child abusers, not holding boys accountable and blaming/not believing girls!”—Alice Connors
  • “Be more open to the reality that domestic violence occurs within every population and hold yourself accountable to do something about it. Be honest about the role that faith has played with abusers justifying violence through faith.”—Tina Rodriguez
  • “Stop giving sermons that God hates divorce. Because He hates abuse too.”
  • “That abuse will not be tolerated and women will not be encouraged to pray and stay in an abusive marriage.”—Mai H.

The Future: How do we move toward a California free from domestic violence?

  • “Awareness of the problem and involvement of the different sectors of society. Psychological, emotional, educational support for the victims of domestic violence.”
  • “Practicando el ayudar unos a otros como el programa que hicieron donde uno puede ayudar al vecino o la persona que sufre VD anonimamente el no quedarse viendo y callado.” | “Practicing helping each other like the program they developed where you can help your neighbor or the person who is a victim of DV and alone. Not keeping quiet about what you see.”
  • “I think there really should be more information about mental health and that counseling fees won’t be that expensive, so people who need to work on their past hurts will be able to resolve them instead of putting them on another person.”
  • “Offer more beds to families who need access to temporary safe housing. Offer long term options for assisting survivors to get jobs and to get financially stable.”—Sara Fusenig 
  • “Start with our children and teach them that your partner is exactly that: a PARTNER, not your property. We should be able to talk to our partner without being afraid.”
  • “Give better support to those at risk, ie existing survivors of childhood & young adult abuse. Inform & support them with economic, emotional and housing justice, so they don’t fall into abusive partnerships as adults.”—Maya David 
  • “Bring in guest speakers to high schools on domestic violence. Chances are, there are students, like my children, who are going through it with their mom and they don’t know what it is that they’re going through.”
  • “Ofrecer programas de ayuda psicologica a las personas violentas, detras de ese comportamiento hay muchas cosas que estan escondidas, y si esos problemas no se tratan dificilmente podran salir de ese circulo. Respetandonos unos a otros.”—Claudia Gonzalez | “Offering psychological assistance programs for violent people. There are many things that are hidden behind that kind of behavior, and if those problems are not treated, it is hard for them to break out of that vicious circle. Respecting each other.”—Claudia Gonzalez
  • “Zero tolerance. Mandatory quality DV counseling for victims and abusers. So many families suffer from dysfunction. Mandatory classes will wean out some of the false claims in court and provide info on how to have a life without abuse.”—Alice Connors
  • “Become more self-aware. Educate. Empower.”
  • “Valorar y respetar a la mujer y los niños.” | “Value and respect women and children.”
  • “Through education and getting men involved in prevention.”
  • “Focus on values over ego and narcissism.”
  • “Teach people the value that any human being, regardless of anything, is worth respect and love. Live and let live, no matter where we come from, should be as everyone’s motto.”
  • “Creating awareness about how to report domestic violence incidents and whom to go for assistance. The victims should never fear to report DV incidents and once suspects understand the consequences of DV, such incidents would occur less often.”
  • “He’s having programs to help break the cycle.”—Jessica Brown
  • “Violence begins in the home. Education for the children, beginning in preschool. Just say no…to drugs, smoking and violence. It won’t change what they are learning in the home, but will give them choices of how they want to live.”
  • “Education, support services for victims, prosecutions of perpetrators.”
  • “In my humble opinion, education and culture plays a role in this problem, and victims are afraid tell anyone. I am one of those that are ashamed of what had happen to me. I never talk about it, and I even felt guilty as a victim.”—Rose
  • “The community has a big role in accepting domestic violence victims unconditionally and slowly bringing their self esteem back by giving them employment and other help needed. Also there is need to monitor people who take undue advantage of policies.”—Vandana Kapoor
  • “Educando a la comunidad. A las mujeres a reconocer las banderitas rojas en una relación. | “Educating the community. For women to recognize red flags.”
  • “Educate people! Domestic violence is not only physical, it’s also verbal and emotional.”
  • “Implement stricter laws and punishment so that perpetrators think twice before committing DV across all playing fields in the society.”
  • “It starts with ending the cycle; education and prevention.”
  • “Call abuse for what it is, no matter the relationship or kind of abuse.”
  • “By having more of a support system. It is not easy to change someone’s mind, but it is easy to have support and someone that will not judge on the decisions that others are making when trying to get out but yet still in. Always advise and hope for the best.”
  • “More funded prevention programs in the schools that address physical and sexual violence.”
  • “Education, awareness, and validation to both victims and people who have caused harm.”
  • “I think the best way to go forward is using a multi-pronged approach: Prevention & education/ Services for Survivors/ Legislative improvements/ And a real take down of the power structure involving men with lots of money & their nasty attorneys.”—Loren Denker
  • “Continue to evolve by assessing the needs from a culturally diverse lens. Acknowledge what hasn’t worked.”—Tina Rodriguez
  • “Move it to criminal court. Take it seriously. The judge threw my case over to family court. It does not belong there! My daughter and I were further abused by the whole system.”—Rhonda Reyna
  • “Teach and actively model what healthy relationships and consent look like. Engage others in the practice.”—Ana B.
  • “Stop trying to make money! Change laws and reforms giving incentives to greedy people. Do not separate the family, support us as one, a family—not as criminal, broken women, removing the children into foster care!”—Patricia Skeggs
  • “Plant the seeds. Teach Victims how to recognize DV like ME TOO, so people can get help, undo the damage and get healthy! > Awareness=Abuser Accountability. Mandatory DV Training for Victim, children & Abusers. All DVRO=mandatory DV training/therapy.”—Alice Connors
  • “We stand in front of policy makers and request policies that promote safety and amplify the rights of survivors. We work with families to dismantle the normalization of violence. We continuously evaluate the services we offer.”—Tina Rodriguez
  • “Help moms who have just separated, provide self-care activities for her. Teach her how to parent again, offer free counseling sessions for trauma, watch her children or point her in the right direction to get support once in a while. Help her with support.”
  • “We should educate schools and community centers about abuse and result of it. Make movies out of abuse and warn them.”
  • “Work together to end DV by having all races come together to talk about the difference between DV and Healthy Relationships.”—Mai H.
  • “I’m not sure. I don’t know if teaching it at school is a good thing.”

The Future: What is your hope for future generations?

  • “My hope is that every human being is taught that he, she, they, we have inherent worth and value. That abuse of any kind goes against the dignity that every person possess. I hope that we are taught to stand for the respectful treatment of everyone.”
  • “Información ante todo q la violencia no es normal y no hay pretexto alguno para estar con alguien que es violento no vale la pena y la familia sufre más si se quedan juntos q separados.” | “First of all, information indicating that violence is not normal and there is no reason to be with someone who is violent. It is not worth it, and the family goes through more suffering if they stay together.”
  • “I really wish all relationships will be healthy, just so full of love and understanding.”
  • “My hope is that my daughter never has to face domestic abuse and violence. I hope that she knows she can always come to me or someone else to get help if she needs it. I hope that society will stop blaming victims and start assisting them.”—Sara Fusenig 
  • “That our children grow up with more love and not so much anger.”
  • “That future generations remove stigmas of mental health and existing survivors’ issues. Remove homophobia and transphobia. Better human services for all. No more rape culture!”—Maya David 
  • “Abuse is not normal. It is not a phase. No one should have to suck it up and deal with it.”
  • “Que sean libres de expresion y de temores, que puedan ser libres de manipulaciones, que puedan escojer lo mejor para sus propias vidas, capaces de ayudar a otras personas. Que no tengan miedo de decir lo que les esta pasando.”—Claudia Gonzalez | “They should be free to speak up and free of fear. They shouldn’t be manipulated and should be able to choose what’s best for their own lives, being able to help other people. They should not be afraid to say what is happening to them.”—Claudia Gonzalez
  • “DV abusers and victims will gain the tools to have healthy relationships, which will be seeded into their children. This will produce future generations free from DV!”—Alice Connors
  • “My hope for future generations is that people everywhere feel safe to be who they are. With less violence, more people are able to access the innate intelligence within themselves and start creating with authenticity and love.”
  • “Esperemos que haiga mas conciencia.” | “We hope there will be greater awareness.”
  • “I hope that DV awareness and prevention will be taught in schools all over the World. That men start standing up against other men for the mistreatment of women. This is not a women’s issue.”
  • “Empathy.”
  • “That future generation will continue to work their very best to ensure that rates of domestic violence are lowered and/or nonexistent.” 
  • “Once everyone is educated about domestic violence and is aware about whom to report the incidents to and go for help, suspects being held accountable will fear to repeat the same with any other person in future. I hope to see zero tolerance for DV.”
  • “The cycle is broken and there is love without domestic violence in the world.”—Jessica Brown
  • “I hope for kindness and the strength to defend themselves and others from any type of violence. More services for the minor mentally/emotionally challenged. They are lost to homelessness and being abused or being an abuser to protect themselves.” 
  • “I hope our hard work today will result in a better future for the victims of abuse. I hope through education, reform the legal and social systems that we will have fewer victims and perpetrators.”
  • “That we are finally be able to see and take a closer look at this issue of domestic violence and stop sweeping it under a rug. That as a society , we will be able to help and support, and understand the victim, and not blame them.”—Rose
  • “I hope for a respectful and loving society with more acceptance, and more happy people contributing enthusiastically in community events and sharing goodness around.”—Vandana Kapoor
  • “People would be more aware of domestic violence. If they are aware, it’s avoidable.”
  • “I hope for future generations to exist in a place where my daughter is free to be her best but still accepted, respected and valued for her positive contributions to society without minding her gender, immigration status, and religious background.”
  • “I hope that our future generations have the opportunity to have hope for themselves. Things seem and feel very overwhelmingly dim right now.”
  • “To live in a society where mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of, and drug abuse is no longer a crime. To stop medicating our youth because it’s easier, and actually work to heal their trauma.
  • More emphasis on rehabilitation/prevention.”
  • “Treat each person with respect.  Respect our differences.”
  • “There is no such thing as generational trauma…”
  • “A world without violence.”
  • “Change in social and gender norms regarding violence and mental illnesses.”
  • “That no one lives in fear.”—Loren Denker
  • “I hope for a safe, loving world.”—Tina Rodriguez
  • “I have a lot of ideas for changing policies that will protect victims. I don’t want to see another child lose their childhood stuck in Family Court Hell.”—Rhonda Reyna
  • “Liberation. Clean air and water. Young black and brown children free from the cages to which our various systems relegate them.”—Ana B.
  • “That they will be raised healthy, stable and learn values and morals!  Not come out of foster care being abused, neglected, over-medicated, abandoned, scared and insecure.  Families first. We should be left alone to raise our kids.”—Patricia Skeggs
  • “Society will not tolerate child abusers, sex trafficking of minors, DV and bullying. Victims and abusers learn what has happened to them created their lives. They receive the tools to empower them to learn healthy behaviors and have peace.”—Alice Connors
  • “My hope is that that my children will know the difference between what they deserve and what society says is acceptable. My hope is that they will say no when they are treated badly. They have a voice and a right to be treated with respect.”
  • “I hope every family has no abuse by loved ones or at schools or workplaces.”
  • “That people are able to heal so that we don’t pass this on to our kids. California needs to pay for people’s healing and then support them to be connected to jobs and other things that don’t make people small.”
  • “God.”
  • “That my daughters will be free of DV.”—Mai H.
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