This entry was written by Eva Chacon, Social Worker at Fundación Calicanto in Panama, and a member of SIF’s 2012 Central American Women’s Delegation to End Gender-Based Violence. Eva describes her experience in Seattle and reflects on positive take-aways including the tools and examples of collaboration to address gender-based violence.
The 2012 Central American Women’s Delegation to End Gender-Based Violence program organized by the U.S. Department of State was divided into two parts: the first in Seattle, Washington and the second in Washington DC. In this case, I want to share my experience during our time in King County (Seattle); a hub that serves as a nationwide model for laws, intervention, management, treatment, and prevention of violence. King County also serves as a model in addressing the issue of “security,” in that it is seen as a problem which violates “individual human rights.”
It was painful to learn that domestic violence victims were killed in court by their abusers and that there are police officers who have killed their wives. These specific occurrences caught the attention of civil society, which is well organized and has 30 years of experience fighting for laws that meet the needs of its citizens.
The agenda included various components, such as: Technology, Emergency Care centers, Shelters, and Law Enforcement. During our stay we saw 20 organizations. In visiting PATH, we participated in a workshop called “Walking in Her Shoes,” which allowed us to put ourselves in the place of a women victim experiencing domestic violence and helped us to recognize our own vulnerability to violence and bad decisions. This is a useful tool for groups and communities. PATH then gave us a tour of their facilities, presenting their new technological developments, which are aimed to help the most vulnerable populations. We learned about HIV and STD tests that can be done through urine samples and will be available in 2015, food that has been mixed with vitamins and other nutritional supplements, female condoms that will be sold at low cost to increase accessibility, as well as other technological inventions. Read the rest of this entry »