Los Altos-based WomenSV earned two national awards Sept. 15 from DomesticShelters.org.

The nonprofit won Program/Shelter of the Year honors at DomesticShelters.org’s 2021 Purple Ribbon Winner Awards Celebration. WomenSV founder and executive director Ruthven Darlene won National Program/Shelter Executive of the Year.

The honors were the latest in a series of successes for Darlene and WomenSV in 2021. Earlier this year, Darlene won a Midpeninsula Media Center Local Hero award and WomenSV secured a $250,000 grant from Santa Clara County for work with victims of domestic abuse.

Darlene’s agency helps women in the throes of an abusive relationship and brings awareness of covert abuse and coercive control by training police officers, therapists, physicians, legal counsel and others within the judicial system.

Along with the emphasis on training and education, WomenSV assists women facing forms of abuse beyond physical and sexual violence, including financial, legal, emotional and technological abuse, and other ways that  abuse can control, coerce and isolate a partner.

WomenSV advocates have counseled women whose partners have threatened to take away their children, render them homeless and ruin their careers. The survivors of “hidden” abuse are in every socioeconomic demographic of the Bay Area, Darlene said.

“The abusers are often smart, charming and calculating, have a very positive public image, which makes it easier to hide their abusive behavior behind closed doors,” she said.

The recent passage of State Senate Bill 1141 incorporates “coercive control” into the definition of “domestic violence.” Darlene said the law will help promote the right of every woman and child to live in peace and safety in their own home.

WomenSV has helped more than 1,000 women since its inception in 2011.

For more information, call (833) 966-3678 or email info@womensv.org.