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"I spoke out to put a face to the issue for the millions of women, men and children who suffer in silence and to say that you are not alone. Help is available." ~ Ayanna Pressley, Boston City Councilor (Photo by Christopher Mason)

Your money and Your life: Summit to Address Economic Security for Rural Survivors of Domestic and Sexual Violence


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  September 20, 2013


Toni Troop, Jane Doe Inc., 617-212-7571

Amy Waldman, DPH, (413) 586-7525 x3142



Western Massachusettseffort represents an innovative collaboration
between the anti-poverty and anti-violence communities.

NORTHAMPTON, Massachusetts:  On September 20, 2013, advocates, survivors, business leaders, and activists from across western Massachusetts will gather for a day-long summit on Advancing the Economic Security of Survivors of Domestic and Sexual Violence at the Smith College Conference Center, 9:00am-4:00pm. 

The summit represents a new approach to rural domestic and sexual violence response, one that addresses a reality that survivors of domestic and sexual violence and their advocates have long known– that economic security is necessary for survivor safety.  Abusers cut off victims’ access to money, education, and employment, making it harder for them to leave and leaving them few options when they do, a situation exacerbated in rural areas by isolation, lack of affordable transportation, and limited job opportunities.  In Massachusetts, where domestic violence is the leading cause of women’s homelessness, communities can no longer afford to treat violence and poverty as two separate problems.  The Economic Security Summit shows the way forward.

The Massachusetts Rural Domestic and Sexual Violence Project of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, which is sponsoring the summit along with Jane Doe Inc.,the Massachusetts Coalition Against Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence, identified that while the movement has learned over the years how to support survivors in healing from the physical and emotional trauma of abuse, there is much work to do individually and systemically to support survivors in achieving economic stability, a key factor in permanently ending the impact of abuse and trauma in their lives.

“We’re in consultation with national experts and taking the best practices from innovative programs in our region and from other parts of the state to infuse our work with an understanding of the systems at play that perpetuate violence and poverty.  Thinking broadly, but working toward specific, achievable goals.” said Amy Waldman, Project Director of the Massachusetts Rural Domestic and Sexual Violence Project.

The summit will feature keynote speakers, Dr. Loretta Pyles of  SUNY Albany, specializing in issues of economic and social justice and violence prevention and author of Progressive Community Organizing: Reflective Practice in a Globalizing World; and Sarah Bocinski of Wider Opportunities for Women in Washington, D.C. with national expertise in building the economic security of survivors of domestic and sexual violence and author of the recent policy brief: “Economic Security and Rural Survivors.”

Mary R. Lauby, Executive Director of Jane Doe Inc., said, “The unique needs of sexual and domestic violence survivors and victims in rural communities require a focused analysis and response.  Local programs are developing effective models to increase financial literacy and economic opportunities for survivors.  Meanwhile, JDI and our members have been working with corporations such as Verizon and The Allstate Foundation to improve opportunities for survivors to gain financial independence. This summit is a wonderful chance for us to learn from one another and help strengthen our efforts to further the safety, dignity and liberty of all survivors.”



The Massachusetts Rural Domestic and Sexual Violence Projectis a federally funded program of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health that supports comprehensiveservices and advocacy for adult and adolescent survivors of domestic and sexual violence in 84 rural communities in Berkshire, Franklin, Hampshire, Hampden and Worcester Counties. MRDSVP is a partnership program between the New England Learning Center for Women in Transition (NELCWIT), the Center for Women and Community of the University of Massachusetts, the Elizabeth Freeman Center, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and Jane Doe Inc. (the state’s domestic and sexual violence coalition). Additional partners include the Northwestern District Attorney’s Office, the Berkshire County District Attorney’s Office, the Franklin County Community Health Center and the Governor’s Council Addressing Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence. The partnership fosters comprehensive community education and violence prevention initiatives to professionals, community leaders and abuse survivors in order to increase community collaboration and awareness and to engage communities in addressing the problem.

Jane Doe Inc. (JDI) is the statewide advocacy membership coalition in Massachusetts working to ensure the safety, liberty and dignity of survivors of sexual and domestic violence.   JDI advocates for responsive public policy, promotes collaboration, raises public awareness, and supports our member programs to provide comprehensive prevention and intervention services

For more information please contact Becca Bradburd at becca.bradburd.ruralproject@gmail.com.

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