I am founder and director of the Women-of-Means Escape Network, Silicon Valley (WomenSV), a nonprofit Los Altos Community Foundation program that serves victims of affluent abusers. I want to thank the Town Crier and our local community for their incredible support of the recent “Women Rising” event at Main Street Cafe.
Feb. 14 marked One Billion Rising Day, which acknowledges the grim statistic that one in three women in the world will be beaten or raped during her lifetime. Because it was also Valentine’s Day, we wanted to keep the focus positive, so we invited our community to bring in poems, songs and stories to highlight what healthy love, true love means to them. It was a smashing success! And we owe a big part of that success to the Town Crier.
From start to finish, the Town Crier supported us every step of the way. Thanks to the notices in the paper, we filled the Main Street Cafe.
More than 20 local sponsors generously donated gifts to give away. And we had more than $1,000 in prizes. Thanks to you all for making this special day that celebrates women and healthy relationships even more special.
And thanks to all of you who donated funds to help our clients buy disposable phones, pay for attorney consultations and seek counseling for themselves and their children to deal with the trauma. Many of our clients are experiencing financial abuse with no access to funds of their own, so your generous donations will help them get the services they need.
One of the highlights of Women Rising: Judge Len Edwards came to our event. Edwards is one of our local luminaries – he received the William H. Rehnquist Award for Judicial Excellence, presented by the Santa Clara County Domestic Violence Council, and was 2011 Town Crier Los Altan of the Year. Edwards contributed to the program by addressing the importance of protecting children from witnessing domestic violence.
Steve Baron, former director of Family Court Services, discussed the impact of domestic violence on children. So often domestic violence is viewed as a women’s issue, but its impact on children in terms of physical, emotional and behavioral problems is toxic and lasting.
Former District Attorney Todd Emanuel of Redwood City highlighted the work he does to protect women from affluent abusers.
Nancy Wesson, licensed clinical psychologist and president-elect of the Santa Clara County Psychological Association, shared how WomenSV has taught her more about domestic violence and helped her become more attuned to it in her clients.
Half a dozen of my clients attended the event as well, with two revealing how WomenSV has helped them.
More than a dozen people shared stories and poems about what healthy love looks like. What was particularly striking and wonderful was the equal participation of men and women in the event.
A big, heartfelt thank you to all the staff at the Town Crier for being the voice of our community, for being so very supportive of local programs like WomenSV and for helping to bring us all closer together.