Wednesday, October 17, 2012



Imagine a week without violence! Imagine women walking the streets at night without fear. Imagine police officers without guns. Imagine female genital mutilation, domestic violence and rape as faded memories of a long gone era. This is the vision of the movement of the YWCA of Greater Los Angeles (YWCAGLA). This is what the YWCA Week Without Violence works to achieve. Week Without violence is a nationwide and international effort, against the violence that exists in our communities. The YWCAGLA Week without Violence encourages individuals and communities to identify realistic and sustainable alternatives to violence. Violence in all its forms undermines our quality of life. We organize the Week Without violence so that people are reminded that there are ways through and out of violence.

Imagine a second…a minute…an hour…a WEEK WITHOUT VIOLENCE in our world!  Everyone is welcome to join the YWCA in our campaign to stop VIOLENCE!

Week Without Violence is observed every third week in October, each day of the week includes a theme in the campaign to promote a week without violence.

The weeklong education campaign addresses different types of violence by exploring the following themes: 

Day of Remembrance – October 14, 2012
The Day of Remembrance provides a platform for the community, speaking about violence can help to identify feeling of loss and anger, and to heal from them. This day serves as a reminder that messages of peace and harmony can encourage people to work together to eliminate violence in our society. Transform sorrow and grief into hope and action.

Suggested Activities:

  • Acknowledge and Rebuild – Hearing from others about their experiences of violence and loss reminds us that we are not alone.  Support and help is available in many forms, through many different channels – join a support group, contact a family service center YWCA or your local church.
  • Contemplate and Meditate – Arrange a gathering to focus on meditative arts like Tai Chi or Yoga.
  • Explore Your Sensitivity 
  • Attend a Remembrance or Memorial Service 

Protect our Children – October 15, 2012
Children are most likely to encounter violence in their own home. Living in a violent home hurts children even if they aren’t being directly abused. Often they have difficulty concentrating in school. They can seem aggressive or withdrawn and can have difficulty making friends.  Children from families that are living in poverty, poor housing, experiencing unemployment, substance abuse and family violence are more likely to become involved in youth delinquency and adult criminal activity according to the National Crime Prevention Council. Activities on this day provide youth and their family with alternative to violence and promote available resources in the community.

Community investment in family support programs and accessible recreational facilities promote healthy family relationships and positive child development. These programs can help families and children build healthier relationships at home and at school.
We all know that child-rearing is not an easy task, but hurting a child is never the solution.  Child abuse affects the whole community, not just the child and family involved.  An abusive childhood can leave a lifetime of physical and emotional scars.  Consider these anger management ideas:
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for, or offer, help
  • Give yourself a break & put some distance between you and your child – stop, take time out, go for a walk
  • Take ten deep breaths or splash cold water on your face
  • Phone a friend to let off steam
  • Consider why you are angry in the first place
  • Practice calmer ways of getting your message across
  • Join an anger management class, and/or support group

Making our Schools Safer – October 16, 2012
Experience has shown the YWCAGLA that young people are interested in learning how to be non-violent. We also know that young people are very involved in affecting change in their communities and have lots to contribute. If we can reach young people with messages by other young people that help them deal with the issues they are struggling with without causing damage to themselves or others, we all win. The YWCAGLA works with teachers, principles and parents to work towards understanding school-based violence and finding solution to prevent violence in schools.

Bullying has been recognized as an issue in schools and many schools and community agencies. The fact that multiple forms of violence exist in intimate relationships, even in the dating relationships of very young adolescents, means that girls and boys are struggling with issues around power and control at a young age.

Suggested Activities:
  • Random Acts of Kindness Challenge
  • Essay, Drawing, Poetry and Photography Contest to express different feelings about violence.
  • Play Out Violence – create plays or vignettes that explore healthy expressions of conflict and alternatives to violence.

Confronting Violence against Women – October 17, 2012
The California Bureau of Statistics reports that one in four women have experienced at least one incident of physical or sexual violence as defined under the Criminal Code, since the age of 16. The YWCAGLA understands the grim reality of violence against women; girls and women tend to internalize violence and discrimination against them. Girls and women often try to mask their pain through eating disorders, substance abuse, self-harm and attempts at suicide. During this week the YWCAGLA inform the community of resources such as shelters, parenting classes and workshops on healthy relationships and self esteem that are available to help them deal with violence in their lives. The YWCAGLA believes in empowering women’s self-esteem and promoting economic independence that can help women speak out against violence.

Suggested Activities:
  • Healthy Relationships Workshop
  • Anger Focus Workshop
  • The Clothesline Project
  • The Hands Project

Facing Violence Among Men – October 18, 2012
The YWCA/GLA believes men can help stop violence by acting as positive role models. By demonstrating positive and healthy interactions between each other and women they can teach other men and boys alternatives to relationships that rely on domination and control. Increasing numbers of men are realizing that they need to take responsibility for what they do. Many are asking for help to change the way they act. The YWCAGLA supports violence prevention education by producing educational materials, and facilitating workshops.

Suggested Activities:
  • Organize a seminar on Dating Relationships and Aggression
  • Host a Boys and Men Sporting Event to emphasize that, win or lose, boys and men can learn from their mistakes without feeling ashamed, and that praise feels a lot better than put-downs.

Eliminating Discrimination and Hate Crimes – October 19, 2012
Discrimination is often a “hidden thing” in the workplace, in schools and in the media. By acknowledging that forms of bigotry such as sexism, and racism and homophobia exists and communities can work toward change. The YWCAGLA eliminates racism and discrimination by providing ways to understand that hate and discrimination are supported by our society.  The YWCAGLA encourages the community to recognize and challenge the beliefs, values and assumptions that sustain negative stereotypes.

Suggested Activities – 10 Simple ideas to eliminate racism:
  • Don’t laugh at racist, sexist, ageist, homophobic and other stereotypical jokes or assumptions.
  • Make an effort to get to know people different than you.
  • Learn about other people and their culture.
  • Think before you speak.
  • Be a role model.
  • Don’t make assumptions.
  • Explore the unfamiliar.
  • Work on projects with members of groups different from your own.
  • Be a proactive parent.
  • Support anti-prejudice and anti-racist organizations.

Promoting Wellness:  Healthy and Creative Alternatives to Violence – October 20, 2012
The YWCAGLA believes it is important to take care of our physical, emotional and spiritual well being all year round. Fitness training and physical activity promote good physical health and can help develop self-esteem, confidence and leadership skills. Accessible and holistic programs and services, encourages active living, creative expression and personal well being for women, children and men. Physical activity and creative projects can help channel negative feelings into positive energy. When people feel good about themselves, they feel good about others as well.

Suggested Activities:
  • Self-Defense classes
  • Create alternatives to violence
  • A Real Sport – Playing a sport, coaching, trying a new sport.  “Walk/Roll-a-thon”, a “Bike Ride to Put the Brakes on Violence” or “Swim Against the Tide of Violence.”