24 Jun Reaching Between the Margins: Expanding services to support all survivors
A young, undocumented woman continues to live with her trafficker because she fears deportation and has no financial or legal resources to leave…
A black trans woman normalizes the physically abusive behavior of her partner because her entire existence survives in a system where she is disproportionately affected by violence…
A veteran with PTSD who experienced trauma across the world and throughout his youth sees the cycle continuing in his marriage but can’t find the help he needs to break free…
An elderly woman who uses a wheelchair fears leaving her financially and emotionally abusive caregiver because she worries there won’t be space or adequate care for her at a shelter…
How do we refer to the communities and individuals who have not walked through our doors and have not called our helpline in the middle of the night?
On paper, they are underserved, marginalized.
How do we ensure they are not forgotten?
We so often envision the “perfect” survivor. The perfect survivors will seek our help with no hesitation, receive our services with open arms, and leave our program feeling an enlightened sense of self-worth and confidence to take on the next phase of their life.
But healing and recovery are not always, if ever, so simple. If a person’s struggle to safely heal is not already compounded by the inevitable intersections of their identity, the accessibility of services and the barriers that exist to finding help will almost always intervene.
As advocates who support all survivors and seek to encourage all individuals to empower themselves, we must also be accountable for who we are leaving out on the path to empowerment. How do we reconsider the way we promote our services when we are caught up in the day-to-day of those survivors who have already found us?
We think critically about the ways we speak, the words we use, and the ways we engage. We mobilize to reach individuals who may be unable to transport themselves to their appointments. We stay open late to provide support to those coming from their second shift. We build ramps, use technology, and find ways to connect and relate to someone who just doesn’t trust us yet because we may not necessarily fully understand them.
There is plenty of data to confirm all of the populations that are being left out. There is plenty of work to do to guarantee that we reach the communities that need our services most.
Join us in our effort to reach all survivors. Get involved at wtlc.org/get-involved.