Empowering women

10 Jan

Our most recent visit was to the women’s domestic violence center named Casa de Maria Amor in Cuenca. Upon entering the unmarked and confidential door the inside immediately gives a warm welcoming through the colorful art and atmosphere. With an open layout the offices of the social workers and psychologists are visible from the courtyard and the rooms were on the second floor. Venturing further back, we encountered a number of curious eyes from the children and welcoming smiles from many women. And this is just the atmosphere.

The social worker and child psychologist took the time to sit and answer a number of our questions about their center. It became very apparent that this center functions through a empowerment model. The methodology used to form the life plans is based on the best evidence-based practice models worldwide. In addition, they use the feedback and goals of the women. The children also play a role in setting the goals for the family when age permits. The entire program is voluntary and the decision to leave may be based on safety and their feelings of success with their objectives. Furthermore, the workers respect a woman’s decision to leave and return to their aggressor only with the request not to tell where they were and who they met for confidentially and safety purposes.

The workers believe the Latin American cultural aspect of Machismo to be a major contributing factor for men to justify their behavior. The workers also stated that is it very common in the traditional country sides for religious leaders to tell women that the abuse is their fault. Therefore, the center utilizes every opportunity to inform and advocate in communities. Some churches even request their presentation as a part of the premarital counseling process. Casa de Maria Amor also maximizes the use of their volunteers by allowing approved men to work with the families to help change the violent image of men that many of the children develop.

In summary, Casa de Maria Amor is empowering the women by allowing them choices without any judgement and giving assistance when requested, in addition to, their education on human rights. Furthermore, the center also empowers the children by giving them choices and a role in the familys’ decisions. Experiences such as this clearly display the universal practice of social work empowerment model and its ability to assist international social work. In addition, we also came in touch with professionals in the field who have the same itch to advocate for oppressed populations and work with people for a living. In reflection of the generosity of the workers time and their final words before our exit, it became apparent that the workers were also using our visit as an opportunity to advocate for their cause. That is a statement in itself about social workers all around the world.

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2 Responses to “Empowering women”

  1. nicole January 17, 2013 at 10:14 pm #

    Very nice and informative blog about how this place is working with empowering women to cope with situations. I am sure it was an informative experience.

  2. crissy January 19, 2013 at 2:21 pm #

    This reminds me of your blog about being so different yet exactly the same. These experiences resemble women’s shelters here in the states. It’s unfortunate women around the world share the same struggles.

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