To become a volunteer for the program please apply here: http://bawar.org/volunteer-for-programa-latinx
Welcome to VIVA! (Viva Comunidad, Viva Sobrevivientes) We are dedicated to being an advocate for survivors and their families who have experienced sexual violence. We work hand in hand to provide the necessary support to our community, to move forward and let them know that they are not alone during this process.
BAWAR is committed to providing Alameda County’s growing and vital Latinx community with the same level and quality of service provided to English-speakers. BAWAR is the first rape crisis center in Northern California to provide a fully staffed (40+ counselors) 24-hour rape crisis line in Spanish. The program provides linguistically-appropriate and culturally-sensitive individual counseling, support groups, healing retreats, hospital, police, and court accompaniments, advocacy, referrals, volunteer training, and community outreach.
The VIVA program provides the following services, in Spanish, to survivors of sexual violence and their communities:
Individual Peer Counseling
Healing Retreats for children and families
Hospital, Police Station, and Courtroom Accompaniments
Find more information about these services below:
BAWAR’s Spanish 24-hour Hotline is intended is to provide crisis intervention to all primary and secondary survivors of sexual violence. The hotline’s mission is to reduce the immediate impact of assault and enhance survivors and their significant-others capacity to cope with the crisis. The hotline is a best practice because of its strong standards of confidentiality and effectiveness in dealing with callers suffering from acute crises.
INDIVIDUAL PEER COUNSELING
BAWAR provides 10 free sessions of individual peer counseling in Spanish to survivors of sexual abuse. BAWAR’s counseling sessions focus on philosophies of feminism, self-help, and empowerment. In sessions, there is mutual respect and equality between survivor and counselor. During sessions, counselors encourage the expression of feelings, support the survivor in taking steps to increase her/his/their feeling of safety, provide education about the consequences of sexual assault, mobilize social support, help survivors return to pre-trauma levels of functioning, reduce emotional distress, develop and enhance positive coping mechanisms, and reinforce self-care plans. BAWAR’s counseling sessions are extremely successful in improving mental health among survivors of sexual abuse. 99% of Latinx survivors served agreed that counseling intervention improved their mental health, helped them reinforce self-care, and aided them in developing positive coping mechanisms. In addition, 99% of participants saw a reduction in their stress levels, slept and ate better, and increased social confidence. Finally, 100% agreed that peer counseling helped them deal effectively with triggers.
Every year BAWAR takes children that have been sexually abused and immerse them in a 4-5 day healing camping trip. The scope of the camp is to help surviving youth with their non-offending parents build family unity after incest.
BAWAR’s VIVA program provides accompaniments to the hospital, police station, and courtroom. Many survivors report difficulty in their interactions with police and the legal system after choosing to report an assault. Survivors are often asked to provide detailed accounts of the traumatic experience to multiple parties in multiple venues, including medical staff, police, prosecutors, defense attorneys, and in the courtroom. Our advocates’ goal is to help survivors manage their stress during these interactions, help them return to pre-assault levels of functioning, minimize re-traumatization, and provide information about legal policies and procedures that will enable survivors to make decisions in their best interest. BAWAR provided 92 hours of accompaniment to Latinx survivors of sexual abuse in Alameda County. 100% of surveyed survivors who received accompaniment services in South County agreed that having an advocate by their side helped them to feel less stressed, less anxious, less triggered, empowered, eliminated re-traumatization, and felt more confident with the criminal justice process.
Our approach to advocacy ensures that survivors’ interests are represented and their rights upheld. The presence of an advocate helps ensure that marginalized and underserved Latinx survivors receive the care and services that they need, and makes sure their voices be heard. Advocacy in rape crisis centers has proven to reduce secondary victimization and Rape Trauma Syndrome (RTS). 100% of survivors who requested advocacy services at BAWAR and were surveyed agreed that having an advocate present reduced RTS and triggers, and improved their mental health, while 98% agreed that advocacy from BAWAR lowered stress, and empowered them.
BAWAR’s VIVA program has established partnerships and protocols with many government, private, and public community organizations that help Spanish-speaking sexual abuse survivors navigate the criminal justice system after.
Every year BAWAR’s VIVA program recruits and trains 25 community members as California State Certified Rape Crisis Counselors. The 66-hour course teaches participants advocacy and counseling skills necessary to provide effective crisis intervention and resources to survivors of sexual abuse in Alameda County.
The VIVA program launches an outreach campaign in the Latinx communities of Alameda County every fiscal year. BAWAR’s Spanish outreach campaign successfully educates adults and children in the county about the importance of breaking the silence of sexual abuse. BAWAR’s Spanish campaign reaches over 100,000 individuals through presentations, tabling, live radio shows, and posters.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the VIVA Program at 510-430-1298 ext. 302.