We often find that it is easier to not talk about things that make us uncomfortable. Sometimes, silence is not the answer.
In 2015, 194,872 domestic violence incidents were reported in El Paso. One organization is standing up and putting a stop to the silencing of a topic that needs more educating.
El Paso Community College is one of many partners with Wise Latina International, in the fight to stop domestic violence and abuse.
This year, the WLI hosted a summit entitled “Enough is Enough! Ya Basta!” to raise awareness of stopping sexual harassment, assault, and domestic violence against women.
Liz Chavez, President and founder of the WLI, says that is is time to “empower women.” “With all that’s going on in the world today, women are silenced and they are afraid.” Chavez speaks out.
While Chavez acknowledges that men are faced with this heartbreaking situation as well, women are often shut down and are unable to voice their struggles.
“We want to make women feel comfortable, and become educated about domestic violence.” Chavez says, addressing the resources offered to over 200 women that the summit welcomed.
To make sure no one is left out, the summit had 20 groups of 10 women; these groups had different topics to learn and engage in discussion about.
The summit had very special guests that expressed their experiences to raise awareness. Karina Yapor is Univision anchor who is a survivor of assault and domestic abuse.
She is an advocate who reaches out to women who are in the same situation she was once in. Yapor advocates in hopes of teaching other victims how to get out of abusive relationships.
Another featured keynote of the summit was Denise Chavez, who is the author of the book “Street of Too Many Stories.”
She read an excerpt of her book which featured family dysfunction, alcoholism, neglect, and abuse.
El Paso County Attorney, Jo Anne Bernal, and El Paso Assistant Attorney, Patricia C. Baca, were also present at the summit.“We wanted to provide legal help, to educate the women on restraining and protective orders.” Chavez says.
Counselors were also available to any woman who needed to talk to a professional about their struggles of abuse. In the end, Ms. Chavez wanted her summit to end on a positive note.
“We understand this is a difficult issue to talk about, but we are happy to be able to reach out to women in need and to empower them,” Chavez says, “We wanted to end on a positive note.”
After ending with positive energy, Chavez believes talking to each other helped the women understand the topic of domestic violence more clearly.
October is Domestic Violence Month and it is advised to reach out for help. More than 60% of domestic violence incidents happen at home.
Domestic Violence can happen to anyone regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, income or other factors. Men and women can be victims. You are not alone.
For help, please call 1-800-799-7233 (National Domestic Violence Hotline).
Visit www.wiselatinas.org to find out about future events, projects, and information about the membership of Wise Latinas International.