Help Beautify the Alliance

The Action Alliance is moving to a new location and you can help us create a welcoming space, stay environmentally healthy, display the Art of Surviving permanently, and keep the O2 flowing…

Click here to support our new environment:  Move the Alliance!!!

1. The Art of Surviving is a favorite exhibit and we want to be able to install it permanently in the office. We need some help with funding the installation. An $1000 gift creates a beautiful gallery in our new site of survivor art.

582ddd86e7457_1024x1024

picture: IdealKIt

 

2. Keeping It Cool: The Alliance needs a new fridge, with the increase in hotline staff and 24 hour services we will have more people serving our members. We are seeking to raise $800 for a large size fridge.

3. Welcoming You: We will have an entryway to welcome folks and need to furnish it. Comfy chairs, a table, and some greenery should do it. With a $500 donation, you can help us decorate!

 

4. Let’s Meet in Style:  We will have a separate library and meeting room now, so when you visit to attend meetings or to browse our library you can meet or read in comfort. $100 purchases one chair and we need 12 of them!

download

5. Blinded by the Light: The Hotline will have more windows in our new spot and need blinds to help with privacy. $50 donations will be added together to bring privacy to our hotline team.

6. Gold for Green, Help us be green in our cleaning!  You can donate $25 a month to help with cleaning products. The Action Alliance staff is stepping up to do the cleaning themselves and we want to be green while doing it!

 

 

_________________________________________________________________

Joining the Action Alliance adds your voice to making change in Virginia. Start your membership today or call 804.377.0335. 

To inquire about submissions for blog, please check the submissions page for requirements or email kmccord@vsdvalliance.org

Statewide Hotline Launch

Sexual and intimate partner violence are serious public health and safety issues. While huge strides have been made in our response to sexual and intimate partner violence in the past 30 years, many victims suffered decades of silence, fear, and isolation in a society that failed to acknowledge the seriousness of violence against women. With limited social support and little resources, survivors had few options for safety and support. Confidentiality and privacy are an essential element to providing safety and respectful advocacy services. Rape crisis and domestic violence hotlines quickly became a vital, confidential resource for survivors to share their stories, seek help, and organize for change. Hotlines continue to be a vital service for breaking through the silence and isolation and connecting individuals to resources and essential services.

We are celebrating the re-branding and expansion of our Statewide Hotline. The Statewide Hotline provides direct access 24/7/365 to experts with specialized training in sexual and domestic violence who provide lifesaving, trauma-informed services and practical tools for safety and healing.

image004

Within our Statewide Hotline, we host the LGBTQ Helpline in collaboration with the Virginia Anti-Violence Project, the PREA hotline in collaboration with the Department of Corrections, and serve our 64 member Rape Crisis Centers and Domestic Violence Shelters to host or back up their hotlines.

Virginia Family Violence and Sexual Assault Hotline – 1 (800) 838-8238 | 24/7
Confidential chat  … Text (804) 793-9999
LGBTQ+ Partner Abuse & Sexual Assault Helpline – 1 (866) 356-6998

_________________________________________________________________

Joining the Action Alliance adds your voice to making change in Virginia. Start your membership today or call.

To inquire about submissions for blog, please check the submissions page for requirements or email colson@vsdvalliance.org

 

Meet Mariah Leonard

Why do you do this Anti-Violence work?
Everybody deserves to feel safe and I want to help ensure that. So many survivors are silenced or feel they do not have a voice. This needs to change. I am so grateful that I have been given the opportunity to be in this position where I am the one to pick up the phone and talk with people who just need a listening ear and someone who cares. I could not ask for a better position to be in for myself.

What would you like to learn your first year on your new job? 
I want to learn various ways to assist survivors and how to better help them by educating myself about other agencies and get involved. I would like to take more training on different topics and learn everything I can. I feel like this job will give me so much that I can hold onto for life.

If you were a vegetable what would you be? Why?
A pumpkin because it is used in so many things and is loved by just about everyone. Pumpkin bread with a pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks is the perfect combination on a fall day.

What is the latest book you have read and would you recommend it?
Left to Tell. I would highly recommend this book. It is written by a woman describing how she survived and somehow kept her strength while in hiding during the genocide in Rwanda.

What are the 3 things you love about Virginia?
1) There are some pretty great restaurants here. Shyndigz for one has the best dessert, specifically their chocolate peanut butter cake!
2) I am close to the mountains and the beach.
3) I love history and Virginia is full of it.

What would be the title of your autobiography?
“How Did that Happen?: Trying to Figure Out How I Got Where I Am”

185620_10150161686131495_6825047_nWhat is the most incredible view you’ve ever seen?
Standing on a mountain top overlooking Syria is the most beautiful and treasured view I have. I have seen many things, but it is definitely my favorite.

Lastly, what excites you most about your new job at the Action Alliance? 
The people here are fantastic and supportive, the environment is welcoming, and I get to spend my time listening to people who are taking a huge step and reaching out for help. I think I have the best job.

Mariah Lenoard is Crisis Hotline Specialist at the Statewide Hotline through the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance. They work part time with Goochland Parks and Recreation and volunteers with Comfort Zone Camp and Goochland Free Clinic and Family Services. Mariah loves to read, watch Netflix, and workout. 

Virginia Family Violence and Sexual Assault Hotline – 1 (800) 838-8238 | 24/7
Confidential chat  … Text (804) 793-9999
LGBTQ+ Partner Abuse & Sexual Assault Helpline – 1 (866) 356-6998
_________________________________________________________________

Joining the Action Alliance adds your voice to making change in Virginia. Start your membership today or call 804.377.0335. 

To inquire about submissions for blog, please check the submissions page for requirements or email colson@vsdvalliance.org

 

 

Meet Emily Robinson

Why do you do this Anti-Violence work?

In a world that often silences and disbelieves survivors, supporting those who are experiencing the effects of violence feels like the most important, urgently-needed work I could be doing. I am so happy and honored that I am able to be there for people experiencing trauma; to hear their stories and to validate their humanity and their feelings.

What would you like to learn your first year on your new job?

I want to learn more about the various programs across Virginia, the communities they serve and the different types of help they offer. I hope to always be improving my advocacy skills so I can give folks who call the hotline the best possible support.

What is the latest book you have read and would you recommend it?

I just finished a book called The Medieval Home Companion, written by a Frenchman as a guide for his young wife in the 14th century. I would not recommend to folks who are not already interested in medieval domestic life. Though, if you have been searching for an inscrutable recipe for linen-stamping ink made from oak galls and axle grease, definitely hit it up.

 

4ed064dcd2dc719dfed8756e62778cb5

pinterest.com/Guinea Pig Cages

If you were a vegetable what would you be? Why?

This is the most challenging question in this interview. A bell pepper, maybe? They’re super versatile and guinea pigs love them.

 

 

Describe the magazines on your coffee table?

There are always a lot of 90s-early 2000s zines on my coffee table, and I have a huge collection of old Maximum Rock and Roll magazines from that era, so those are always around. I usually read Terrorizer and Decibel (metal magazines), and have a subscription to TapeOp, a magazine about home recording. I love corny/trashy history magazines, too – the kind that treat Richard III like a teen heartthrob.

What are the 3 things you love about Virginia?

  • Richmond is one of the great American metal cities. So many of the best metal bands in the world right now are from right here (Inter Arma, Cough, Windhand, Prisoner…).
  • I am proud to live in a city where so much great community organizing, anti-violence work and resistance is happening.
  • I am from Tennessee, but a lot of my ancestors came to America from England via Virginia in the 17th century. I like being able to research that piece of my family’s history at places like the Library of Virginia.
  • It is wonderful to live somewhere with a truly great, free art museum like the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.

 

What is the most incredible view you have ever seen?

It’s maybe not the most “incredible” –- it’s not from a great height or across a vast expanse, etc. —  but my favorite view is Primrose Hill in London.

Lastly, what excites you most about your new job at the Action Alliance? 

I love how the staff here looks out for, cares about, and celebrates one another in very sincere ways.

Emily is a Hotline Crisis Services Specialist at the Action Alliance. She volunteers with Girls Rock! RVA and Knoxville Girls Rock Camp, and is a board member of the international Girls Rock Camp Alliance. She is a musician, knitter and armchair medievalist.

_________________________________________________________________

Joining the Action Alliance adds your voice to making change in Virginia. Start your membership today or call 804.377.0335. 

To inquire about submissions for blog, please check the submissions page for requirements or email colson@vsdvalliance.org

Meet Mishawn Glover

Why do you do this Anti-Violence work?
I feel it was what I was born to do.  It is something I enjoy and I know by helping others, I will reap many blessings and good fortune.

What would you like to learn your first year on your new job? 
I would like to learn more about new trends, prevention, and intervention work around issues of family violence and sexual assault.

What would be the title of your autobiography?mishawn cup
This Is Me: The life-ism of Queen Shawnee G

If you were a vegetable what would you be? 
A Vidalia onion, I am a southern favorite, yet only for acquired taste. Like an onion, peeling back the layers may be tough at first but when prepared I offer sweet and savory flair to life!

 

What is the latest book you have read and would you recommend it?
The Purpose Driven Life: What On Earth Am I Here For? By Rick Warren.  I would recommend this book to anyone of Christian faith who is having difficulty understanding and finding their purpose here on earth.

What are the 3 things you love about Virginia?

  • Almost 27 beautiful years of my life were established here.
  • My alma mater is here.
  • My friends and family are here.

If you had one box for all your stuff, what would you put in it?
I would keep in my box, my phone and charger, my kindle, a notebook/journal, my favorite ink pen, coffee and cake.

Lastly, what excites you most about your new job at the Action Alliance? 
Everything! I love to learn and experience new things. I work on the hotline crisis team and although the work is challenging and requires you to be emotional available to people you do not know or have never seen. Knowing that I possibly made a difference in their life makes it all worth while.

inspirational-hope-quotes (002)

quotesblog.net

 

Mishawn Glover is a Hotline Specialist for the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance. She brings a wealth of knowledge and experience of crisis intervention and trauma-informed care to the hotline team. During her spare time she enjoys volunteering, trying new foods, learning, and living life to it’s fullest potential.

_________________________________________________________________

Joining the Action Alliance adds your voice to making change in Virginia. Start your membership today or call.

To inquire about submissions for blog, please check the submissions page for requirements or email colson@vsdvalliance.org

Crisis Hotline Response: The Intersection of DV and Suicide

“How do you prepare yourself for a job like that?”

When you are introducing yourself to a new person, it is not long before you are asked “Where do you work?” When I tell them I work as a hotline crisis services specialist, the next question is invariably, “How do you prepare yourself for a job like that?”  The answer is training and very specific training.

As a hotline crisis services specialist at the Action Alliance we provide a 24-hour toll-free system of crisis intervention, support, information and referrals for the entire Commonwealth of Virginia via phone (1.800.838.8238 (v/tty), chat  or text (804-793-9999). We provide a wide variety of information as well as emotional support and need to be prepared for almost any question.

A lot of training happens before anyone takes a call solo. While development is an ongoing process, in addition to sexual assault and domestic violence, we cover broad topics like anti-racism, homelessness, human trafficking; and underserved populations, such as folks who are LGBTQ+ identified or folk who are incarcerated.

Suicide  is one of the many important issues we respond to on the hotline, and today I want to talk more about that issue. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) reports that “suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S., the 3rd leading cause of death for people aged 10–24, and the 2nd leading cause of death for people aged 15–24.” When dealing with the trauma of intimate partner violence or sexual assault, a person’s mental health is impacted and a survivor may contemplate suicide. The ABA Commission on Domestic & Sexual Violence cites research saying twenty-nine percent of all women who attempt suicide survived physical assault by their partners. In their white paper, The Psychological Consequences of Sexual Trauma; Yuan, Koss and Stone find that “childhood sexual abuse was associated with an increased risk of a serious suicide even after accounting for the effects of previous psychological problems and a twin’s history of suicidal behaviors (Stratham et al., 1998).” What do these statistics mean for hotlines? It means we get callers who survived violence and are now suffering from suicidal thoughts. It means hotline crisis services responders need to be trained in more than advocacy; we need to be trained in suicide first aid practices.

Several of our hotline staff and an Action Alliance intern had the opportunity to attend Living Works Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) hosted by Richmond Behavior Health Authority.

DSCN0013

Steve Alexander and Kristen Vamenta in ASIST training.

Living Works encompases the core belief that suicide is an issue for the entire community and that as a universal human problem, suicide should not be the domain of any one discipline or viewpoint. Living Works holds the belief that everyone, working together, can help to prevent suicide in the community.

ASIST is for everyone 16 or older—regardless of prior experience—who wants to be able to provide suicide first aid. By the end of the training, we were better able to understand the ways attitudes affect views on suicide interventions and provide individualized guidance and suicide first-aid to a person at risk. These skills translate beyond the workplace, beyond the hotline and into our everyday lives.

As we go about our work with survivors and in our personal lives as community members, I keep coming back to an often shared quote attributed to multiple sources such as Plato, Philo of Alexandria, Ian MacLaren, John Watson:

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”

The Hotline Crisis Services Team is comprised of an awesome team of trained staff who work 24/7. The hotline staff is:

Reed Bohn, Erin Cave, Charmaine Francois, Jennifer Gallienne, Mishawn Glover, Jennifer Harrison, Shirnell Lewis, Emily Robinson, Kristin Vamenta, and Carmen Williams

_________________________________________________________________

Joining the Action Alliance adds your voice to making change in Virginia. Start your membership today or call804.377.0335.

To inquire about submissions for blog, please check the submissions page for requirements or email colson@vsdvalliance.org