Every day the Houston Area Women’s Center (HAWC) gets 100 calls from desperate people. Survivors of domestic abuse, sexual abuse, young, old, male, female, many with young children, no money and no family. All these callers know is that to save their lives and the lives of those they care about- they need to get out, immediately.
Today is the last day of Domestic Abuse Awareness month and we want to profile a Houston organization that is often the last hope for people in their most desperate of times. The HAWC gets 40,000 calls for help a year and in a city with less than 700 beds to house people in need of shelter, they manage to never turn anyone away. Of the 100 calls the HAWC gets a day, they can house half and help navigate the steps and find resources for the other half.
The HAWC offers support to survivors through advocacy, counseling, education, shelter and support service all free of charge, confidential and available to everyone. In fact, they even offer six sessions of free counseling to anyone who asks for it- regardless if you are a resident or not.
Recently we took a tour of the HAWC with Chief Public Strategies Director Chau Nguyen and she shared with us how the landscape of helping domestic and sexual abuse survivors is changing with the times.
“We have found you cannot address violence without first looking at how society and its forms of oppression have a role,” Chau explains. “If we as a society don’t address racism, sexism, and classism, and how they intersect we will never be able to stop the cycle of violence our residents are running from.”
“We work to arm people with tools and information they need to regain control of their lives for a healthy future with their families. Domestic abusers rarely change – it’s all about control for them. The most dangerous time for the target of an abuser is when they finally decide to leave,” explains Nguyen.
Chau Nguyen says in 2018 73,060 people used the HAWC’s services and although their reach is long, she estimates three times that many need their help because of Houston’s increased incidents of sex trafficking.
This year you can help the efforts of the HAWC by participating in the 32nd annual Race Against Violence run Saturday, March 7, at 685 Waugh Drive. The kids fun run starts at 8:00 AM, the 5K Run/Walk begins at 8:30 and there will be a family festival after the runs end. To register visit hawc.org/rav
If you or someone you know needs help escaping an abusive situation contact the HAWC by visiting their website here https://hawc.org or calling their hotline
Sexual Assault Hotline:
Human Trafficking Hotline
Text: “BeFree” (233733)
Live Chat: HumanTraffickingHotline.org