The holidays are a season of gift-giving, and one way to continue that spirit is by giving back to your community. At Women Against Crime, we have a lot of ideas on ways that we can give back and empower women, during the holidays and beyond.
Be a Volunteer Advocate for Survivors of Domestic Abuse
Advocates are trained to counsel survivors of domestic or sexual violence and help victims through crises. While many advocates are paid professional counselors, you can volunteer to become a trained advocate without having to go back to school. As a volunteer advocate, you can help during crisis situations by responding to phone calls on the hotline, developing safety plans, accompanying a victim to the hospital or the police, assisting with filing claims, or helping with intake and assessment at the shelter or rape crisis center.
It’s important to realize that this sort of volunteering isn’t for everyone, though. Being a victim advocate is a very big responsibility. You may be on call 24/7 and have to deal with very heavy emotional issues. But if you have the emotional bandwidth and the time to commit to this type of volunteering, you can make a big impact in your community for women and victims of abuse.
Support Your Local Women’s Shelter or Rape Crisis Center
Victim advocacy, while important, isn’t the only way to help survivors of domestic abuse. Your volunteer hours at local women’s shelters or rape crisis centers can make a big difference in helping women, even if you’re just helping to clean or stuffing envelopes. Make it a point to give a few hours of your time to any of the organizations locally that are helping women get their lives back.
If you don’t have time to volunteer right now, financial resources are also important for the organizations that help victims of domestic and sexual abuse. Especially over the holidays, your monetary donations go a long way to help victim advocacy and support. Many organizations also take in-kind donations, such as clothing or housewares, and your donations will most likely be tax deductible.
Visit any of the organizations listed on my resources page to learn about volunteer and donation opportunities that will make a difference for victims this year.
Empower Your Friends and Family Members to Take their Power Back
You may not realize this, but it’s likely many of your friends and family members don’t know basic self-defense. Women are often taught to be quiet and demure, and this can make them vulnerable to all kinds of attacks.
Take some time this holiday season to talk with the women in your life about their safety plans and basic ways they can take care of themselves. Whether it’s agreeing to keep track of each other during a night out, finding new ways to keep your homes secure, or being safe while dating online, be open with each other about how much you know and your plans to stay safe. Even if you just teach them to be aware of their surroundings and speak up for themselves, you can empower them to feel safer and be safer in public.
You can even organize a self-defense training class with me to ensure they know how to take their power back!
Speak Up for Abuse Victims All Year Long
One major way to give back to the women in your community this holiday season is to speak up for victims, even if they’re strangers. You can do this in a number of ways:
- If you see physical abuse taking place, call 911.
- If you see a woman being harassed, step in and help her to safety.
- Talk frankly to friends that you believe are in bad situations. Listen to your friends and believe them. Offer them support even if they aren’t ready to leave.
- Encourage friends to report abuse to the police and accompany them through tough decisions.
- Understand the cycle of violence and teach others in your social circle about it to spread awareness.
- Hold the men in your life to a higher standard. Let them know that you don’t support harassment or abuse, and that you expect them to do the same.
Commit to standing up against violence and sexual abuse for everyone, this holiday season and beyond.
Want to plan a self-defense training class for your friends and family for the holidays? Contact me today and we can set up a time to empower the women in your life!