March is Women’s History Month. And Safe Harbor is proud to honor women this month and always. We honor the female survivors we serve. We honor the female staff who rebuild the lives of their clients. We also honor the brave women in American history who dedicated themselves to expanding the rights of women from winning women the right to vote to winning Title 9 protections in our schools.
The observance of Women’s History Month started in the school district of Sonoma, California in 1978 as Women’s History Week. It was not until 1987, that Congress, after petitioning from the National Women’s Project, extended the observing period to a month. Today, Women’s History Month has evolved from simply remembering the accomplishments of women, to recognizing the struggles of all women. It is a time to celebrate being a woman, regardless of race, ethnicity, body type, sexuality, or expression.
Women’s History Month is also an opportunity for us, as a community, to recognize the hardships that all women face and to take steps to improve the lives of women everywhere. For over 20 years, Safe Harbor has provided a full range of services to survivors of domestic and sexual violence. We were the first organization in the greater Richmond area to open a comprehensive recovery program for women who have been trafficked. Our counselors and case managers work with women on life skills including continuing their education, accessing resources, and supporting and encouraging career readiness.
Significantly, 1 in 3 women have experienced physical or sexual violence. Less than 40% of women seek help, and less than 10% go to the local authorities. This means, if you know at least one woman, there is a high chance she has experienced a violent act from a partner or family member and has chosen not to report it. There are different reasons for this silence. But shame and judgment are usually a leading factor in women not speaking up about their trauma. Safe Harbor continues to have important conversations in our community to end the stigma of intimate partner violence. Our mission includes a broad outreach program to inform the public of the services we provide and to help young women and men foster healthy relationships.
During this month, Safe Harbor will continue to educate others on woman-specific issues. You can help Safe Harbor start these discussions by inviting us to speak at your business, place of worship, middle/high school, or networking group. Help us have these conversations. You never know who you might help. Safe Harbor remembers all the women and men who worked to enlarge the voice of women in American society. But let it never be forgotten that Safe Harbor’s best legacy in honoring women is the work we do to transform the lives of female clients who have experienced domestic violence, sexual assault, or human trafficking.
For more information about our education and outreach activities, please contact Lorin Cahow, Education & Outreach Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org.