Week Without Violence is part of a more than twenty-year-old global movement with YWCAs across the country and around the world to end violence against women and girls. In this year’s Week Without Violence, we focused on engaging the community by providing education on lived realities, policies, and local resources. Violence continues to pervade our society. As this year of lockdowns and stay-at-home orders continues, we know that violence is on the rise, and reporting of these cases has declined. It is important to lift and support survivors by listening, validating, and utilizing our resources for action. One such survivor is Joy, a mother whose path to empowerment began at the YWCA, where she utilized our Empowerment Child Care (ECC) program.
Before coming to the YWCA Joy was walking around Asheville with her three kids in tow with the immediate need of trying to secure shelter, and fleeing a violent situation. She shared with Alesia (ECC Coordinator) the following. “It’s a very humbling experience to be a woman who is used to being self-reliant to have to be dirty and homeless and walk around with a stroller filled with bags and small children while people stare and assume I’m a horrible mother.”
Child care is an often-overlooked barrier for women fleeing abusive situations.
ECC is a program that provides free, high-quality child care for parents fleeing violent situations, seeking vital social services, pursuing education, or attending job training. Over the next several months, Joy worked with Alesia towards her goal of beginning a new, violence-free life. While Joy applied for housing, enrolled in school, and worked hard to keep her family together, her children were cared for in the Empowerment Child Care Program. Nine months later Joy is working on her Bachelor’s degree, has a safe home for her and her children with video surveillance, a car, but most importantly, a sense of self-worth. Joy’s journey of empowerment and growth started with the child care, nurturing, and support that she and her family received at the YWCA. She found her power again.
Although we set aside this week in October to raise awareness to end violence against women and girls, the work is ongoing.
The YWCA stands with survivors year-round.
Click here for more information on this year’s Week Without Violence.
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