Domestic violence, sexual violence and stalking happen everywhere, including the Upper Valley. WISE advocates are here to listen and support you. We know that you can make your own decisions when you have information and support. You are the expert in your life.
WISE Survivor Centered Advocacy
- 24-Hour Crisis Line (866) 348-WISE
- Healthcare Advocacy
- Forensic Interview Support
- Court & Legal Advocacy
- Social Service Advocacy
- Safe Home and Emergency Shelter
- Information & Referral
- Survivor Groups and Workshops
- Financial Advocacy
- Family Violence Prevention Specialist Program
- Safety Planning
- College Campus Advocacy
Growing Up With Violence
While it is not uncommon to experience or be exposed to domestic and sexual violence, the violent behaviors you grew up with were not OK. The impacts of domestic and sexual violence are vast and varied. It can be especially challenging for people who grew up with the threat of violence and never felt safe to talk about the abuse. What happened to you when you were young was not your fault. You deserve the space to process your experiences and the opportunity to live a life free from violence.
The individual is not the cause of his or her problem. With information and support, the individual can make the best decisions for generating a solution.
The process of empowerment enables one to gain power, authority and influence over oneself, within institutions or society. Empowerment can be the totality of the following or similar capabilities:
● Having decision-making power
● Having access to information and resources to make decisions aligned with personal goals and outcomes
● Having a range of options to make choices (not just yes/no, either/or)
● Having the ability to exercise assertiveness in collective decision making
● Trusting one’s ability to affect change for oneself and in the world
● Having the ability to build skills for improving one’s personal or group power
● Bei ng active in a growth process and self-evolution that is never ending and self-initiated
● Increasing one’s positive sense of self and overcoming stigma
● Increasing one’s ability to identify things that are comfortable and those which violate a sense of self or boundaries
Empowerment is a multi-dimensional, social process of increasing the capacity of individuals or groups to make choices and to transform those choices into desired actions and outcomes. The process creates power to use those choices in oneﾕs own life, community and society, with individuals acting on issues that they define as important.
WISE works from the perspective that domestic and sexual violence is embedded within a social and historical context of oppression, and must be addressed comprehensively through education, advocacy, and empowerment. The services offered by WISE are designed to support empowerment by providing information, tools, resources, and opportunities, based on the goals and objectives defined by each survivor. WISE recognizes that the systems victims are involved in are often confusing and perpetuate social imbalances of power. The organizational mission and services of WISE are rooted in the principles of the empowerment model.
History of Empowerment Model
The empowerment model arose from the feminist movement of the 1970s, which understands domestic and sexual violence within a social, cultural and historical framework of inequality between the sexes. Domestic or sexual violence perpetrated by men against women, children or other men is a result of this systemic power imbalance that serves to keep men in power. Empowerment is based on the belief that everything possible should be done to restore power to victims through validation, community and celebration of their strengths. Other interventions may consider the victim disordered, as if she were maladaptive or contributing to the violence perpetrated on her. The empowerment model instead works to identify and challenge the external conditions of the individual’s life, to promote resilience in the face of adversity, and to make the victim the primary player in discussions and decisions about her future. This is based in a social justice mission to work with an individual around her unique situation, and simultaneously dismantle the circumstances which allow for violence to happen.
Because domestic and sexual violence often remove one’s ability to exercise control over one’s life, the first goals of crisis intervention in the empowerment model is to validate what has happened to the individual and make obvious the innate power, and survival strategies that the individual has developed to stay alive. The empowerment model recognizes that violence is never the fault of the victim, and WISE works with people to exercise the individual’s power by providing a safe, supportive space to brainstorm, experiment, and gather information without judgment. The empowerment model aligns with the desires and expectations from Feder’s meta-analysis. It has also been consistently validated by evaluations conducted with survivors using WISE services. Because the empowerment model directly responds to the root cause of violence being perpetrated as a social system in addition to the immediate needs and long term goals of survivors, it is the most effective model for our work.
We are pleased to announce that Welcoming All Nationalities Network (WANN) is now an official program of WISE.
Since 2011, WISE has been the fiscal sponsor of WANN. The fiscal sponsorship provided WANN the capacity to provide essential legal services to humanitarian immigrants in New Hampshire and Vermont, all of whom are victims of gender-based violence. In turn, WANN’s support for many of WISE’s immigrant clients strengthened the impact of WISE’s already powerful work. Over the last 7 years working together, we recognized an increasing need for sustainable support for immigrant survivors of gender-based violence in the Upper Valley. By incorporating WANN as a WISE program, we ensure that these humanitarian immigrants are supported.
Alongside WISE’s Crisis and Advocacy Program, Emergency Shelter and Supportive Housing Program, and Prevention and Education Program, WANN will continue to provide comprehensive services that offer immigrant survivors of gender-based violence an opportunity to improve their lives and the lives of those they love. We firmly believe that this migration of WANN to WISE empowers both organizations to live more fully into our shared vision to create a world of freedom, justice, equality, and dignity where all can thrive.