YWCA is on a mission to eliminate racism, empower women, stand up for social justice, help families and strengthen communities. For more than 20 years, we have set aside one week in October as a Week Without Violence – a week to raise awareness and engage action to end the broad spectrum of violence – as part of a global movement with World YWCA to end violence against women and girls.
At YWCA, we know that not all violence is acknowledged or responded to equally and that some victims go unrecognized altogether. That’s why we focus on ending gender-based violence, including domestic violence, intimate partner violence, sexual assault, trafficking and harassment.
This year, we encourage you to move beyond resilience, helping lead women and girls from surviving to thriving. We recognize the limits and honor the significance of resilience in surviving violence but aim to collectively work towards healing and building thriving futures for survivors which also includes replenishment, rest and recovery.
For survivors, resilience is central to weathering the mental, physical, and emotional harm of gender-based violence and racism. Due to the immediate and long-term health impacts of surviving violence, true resilience requires replenishment, rest, and recovery.
Too often, survivors of domestic and gender-based violence are burdened by a focus on individual endurance through multiple and overwhelming sources of adversity. This normalizes their pain and exhaustion, putting the sole responsibility of healing on survivors who are trying to remain resilient through the burden of trauma. However, the unrealistic expectation that survivors must overcome adversity alone continues to stand in the way of individual and communal healing.
Communities of color are also expected to endure the compounding trauma of police violence, racism in public health, as well as the shadow pandemic of gender-based violence, which was exacerbated by the COVID-19 crisis.
But the pandemic has also shown that endurance has limitations without replenishment, rest, and recovery; and resilience through trauma is no exception. Resilience should not be the only, nor primary, option for those facing the intersecting traumas of racism, domestic violence, and sexual assault.
During this year’s campaign, we intend to flip this script by moving the conversation about gender-based violence past an exclusive focus on survivor’s endurance, and instead towards centering healing, and renewing our collective commitment to addressing domestic and systemic violence as well as the root causes of trauma that feed into the cycle of harm.
Join us during our annual Week Without Violence as we do the work to raise awareness and advocate for the accessible, effective, and consistent resources that survivors and communities need to build the flourishing futures they deserve.
Together we can build a world where women, girls, and communities of color are empowered and supported to move beyond resilience, from surviving to thriving.
You can make a difference locally by donating to Power of the Purse Team Purple.