Our role in the community
From its beginnings in 1971, BAWAR has worked to address the problem of sexual assault with two basic goals: 1) to establish a place where rape and incest survivors could receive the quality counseling and advocacy they need, and 2) to provide community education regarding sexual assault issues.
For persons in Alameda County who are dealing with the trauma of a recent sexual assault, and the countless others who are only now beginning to deal with the aftermath of an past assault, we offer the services they need the most: experienced counseling and advocacy 24-hours per day. For the survivor, we have a listener who will not judge, criticize, or be easily shocked. We then begin to form a partnership with survivors and work to help them regain a sense of control in their lives; to begin to heal. In-person counseling for incest survivors, rape survivors, and sexual assault survivors enable us to address special and continuing needs. Accompaniment, advocacy, and support during the medical and judicial processes complete our response to the needs of the sexual assault survivor.
Because we know that the person who is dealing with sexual assault has loved ones that are also affected, we provide for their needs as well. For the survivor’s family and support persons, we offer a chance for them to discuss their own fears and to ask questions about how they can help.
Our diverse educational programs include presentations specifically designed for youth from middle school through college. We respond to community requests for speakers on a wide variety of related topics. In addition, we provide educational programs for men currently incarcerated for violent offenses. BAWAR also conducts professional training’s for emergency room staff, therapists, clergy, educators, police officers, and more.
Measuring the effectiveness of our awareness programs is difficult. Since our approach is educational, we can never measure or count the number of sexual assaults that we have prevented. We can, however, see the looks of confidence when we tell children that they can say “No” to unwanted touches, even when it is a trusted adult. We notice the nods of affirmation when we tell a group of high-school students that coercion and power are components of rape, not sex. And when we speak to adult groups about society’s commonly held misconceptions about the assailant and the “victim,” and then offer some self-awareness techniques, we know we are impacting attitudes that may reduce the incidence of sexual assault.
By providing both program components (counseling and education), BAWAR continues to work toward the day when we can achieve our ultimate goal; to be able to finally close our doors for lack of business.
Bay Area Women Against Rape does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, disability, genetic information, veteran status, marital status or age in its employment, volunteer program, client services and provides equal access to all.