The A-List: Resources for Fil-Am domestic violence victims
CALIFORNIA, USA – Immigrant families in need can always call a service agency to ask for help but are often discouraged by the absence of a provider able to speak their language or is familiar with their culture.
An all-volunteer team of community educators wants to spare families in trouble the added stress of dealing with unprepared responders.
Last week, ALLICE Alliance for Community Empowerment Kumares and Kumpares formally launched their free resource guide, the first of its kind specifically for family members seeking assistance for domestic violence.
"Education is the first step toward empowerment," said San Mateo County public health nurse Jeannette Trajano, ALLICE 2014 vice president and chair of its Resource Provider committee.
Trajano added: "Survivors of dating and domestic violence stay in their abusive relations often out of fear of their perpetrators and not knowing where to go for help. In fact information and service agencies operate in and beyond the San Francisco Bay Area expressly to prevent and offer intervention options for families experiencing abuse. Our goal is to help clients make informed decisions before reaching out."
What distinguishes the "A-List" from other directories is the information therein stating capacity to serve Filipinos.
Trajano and committee vice chair Malou Aclan, a registered nurse with Kaiser Permanente, researched, interviewed, and listed pertinent area agencies that agreed to be included in the guide. The Kaiser Permanente Filipino Association underwrote printing of the 50-page booklet that lists 50 agencies.
"We dedicate this debut A-List to those suffering in silence and send the message that they are not alone. Together, we are allies in preventing abuse in our relationships, families, and communities," said Aclan.
Most of the agencies on the list offer free services or sliding-scale fees for services such as counseling, legal help, education or training on domestic violence or collaborate with other community agencies to assist in addressing the victims' needs.
The guide defines dating or domestic violence as a "pattern of behavior where one partner asserts power and control over the other through coercion, fear and intimidation, often including the threat or use of violence." It emphasizes that "attacks may be emotional, psychological, economic, sexual as well as the obvious and visible – physical."
"Domestic violence can affect anyone, regardless of age, income, race, ethnicity or nationality, education, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion or immigration status," said 2014 ALLICE president Jose Antonio, a vice president with Union Bank. "It is a community issue and not a private matter. With the resource guide, we hope to bring the community closer together."
The all-volunteer team embarked on the directory project after hearing from attendees of the twice-yearly education-provider fairs they have been staging since 2005.
"Survivors come up to us to thank us and say that had they known about services they would not have suffered as long as they have," said Bettina Santos Yap, ALLICE founding president and a senior manager with Genesys.
Yap added: "Our A-List guides survivors toward the agencies equipped with resources to help them, such as a counselor who speaks one of the many Philippine languages besides the national language, Filipino. That makes a big difference, especially for someone who feels lost in a new country."
In turn, said Yap, ALLICE hopes to encourage agencies to recruit personnel proficient in Philippine languages or train staff on the Philippine and Filipino American culture."
"Empathy follows education," added Yap, who designed the guide. "Understanding a client's reluctance to leave a partner who abuses because of religious beliefs or cultural values will go a long way in helping a counselor find other ways to win that client's confidence."
The list will be monitored for accuracy, said Trajano. It will be updated as needed.
The same list may be viewed on www.allicekumares.com to give access to those who need it. Hard copies are available on request from the Philippine consulate and ALLICE Kumares and Kumpares.
Distribution of the A-List culminated ALLICE's 10th annual Free from Violence, a gathering to promote safe and healthy relationships, homes and communities.
The event commemorated in October both Domestic Violence Awareness Month and Filipino American History Month.
ALLICE collaborated with Lucky Group of Companies, Yashi Okita Design, Union Bank, and the Philippine Consulate General to stage the two-hour of Philippine and US public officials, advocates and survivors of domestic violence in the movement against domestic violence.
Attendees consulted with representatives of API Legal Outreach, Asian Women’s Shelter, Building Futures with Women and Children, Catholic Charities, Center for Domestic Peace, Community Overcoming Relationship Abuse, Community United Against Violence, Cooperative Restraining Order Clinic, Filipino Mental Health Initiative, Futures Without Violence, Filipino-American Law Enforcement Officers Association, Peninsula Family Service, and West Bay Pilipino Multi-Service Center.
Lucky Chances, Moonstar, Hapag Filipino, and Starbucks Coffee Company served refreshments. San Mateo County Behavioral Health and Recovery Services, Philippine Association of University Women, Filipino Bar Association of Northern California and Guy Guerrero donated raffle prizes. Philippine News, Philippines Today, FilAm Star and The Filipino Channel provided media outreach. – Rappler.com
For more information visit www.allicekumares.com. To contact the consulate call 415-433-6666. To reach Assembly Member Bonta visit http://asmdc.org/members/a18/. For more information on Giovannie Espiritu visit sfactorsworkshop.com.
This story was republished with permission from Philippine News
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