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Ujima to Host Listening Sessions to Support Survivors of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault

Ujima to host listening sessions on survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. (Source file photo)

The National Center on Violence Against Women in the Black Community, otherwise known as Ujima, will be hosting a series of listening sessions throughout the territory in April centered around the experiences of women who are survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.

Kalyn Fahie, the training and technical assistance manager at Ujima and the coordinator of this event, wants to gather community feedback in order to advocate for more accessible resources for women who have experienced domestic violence and sexual assault in the territory.

“The term “Ujima” is the Kwanza principle for collective work and responsibility. After the passage of hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017, the Virgin Islands saw a reduction in domestic violence resources. Additionally, the Virgin Islands Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Coalition (DVSAC) shuttered all of their offices and laid off their staff last year, adding to the strain. While the DVSAC continues to operate, they have had to reduce their services,” said Fahie.

Fahie hopes that these listening sessions provide an opportunity for stakeholders from multiple avenues to come together and offer their feedback, including the survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault, community leaders, police officers and first responders, hospital staff and nurses, government officials and staff, nonprofit organization leaders, and concerned community members.

“Ujima wants to offer support. We are not coming to these sessions to talk, we are coming to listen. We are hoping to gain an understanding of what the community needs in order to create more avenues of support for the survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. This can include programs, funding, resources and services. We want Virgin Islanders to lead this discussion”, said Fahie.

Ujima will be hosting six sessions throughout the territory this April. The first two sessions will be held on St. Croix on Tuesday, April 16, beginning at 12 p.m. and 6 p.m. at the RT Park. The next two sessions will be held on St. Thomas on Wednesday, April 17, beginning at 12 p.m. and 6 p.m. at Victor’s Hideout and the last two sessions will be held on St. John on Thursday, April 18, beginning at 12 p.m. and 6 p.m. at the Legislature of the Virgin Islands, St. John Annex and Shani’s Beauty Salon respectively.

To register, click here.

For additional information, contact Kalyn Fahie at 313-492-8069 or kfahie@ujimacommunity.org.

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