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Summer of Hope

July, a month filled with brightness and hope, brings a story of resilience. Amara* is a survivor who found DASH and was accepted into the Cornerstone program. Here, she was able to rebuild her life and empower herself to achieve her goals.

Amara studied at a nearby university and pursued two internships. One of the them led to an exciting offer for residency in another state, which she accepted immediately.

Earlier this summer, Amara decided to leave Cornerstone seven months ahead of her planned exit date.

However, Amara faced a major obstacle after accepting: She had only a two-week period to relocate. Her DASH coach teamed up with her to find affordable housing options, and DASH helped arrange a moving company to transport her belongings. Amara has now moved into her new safe home and is excited to start her next chapter.

Amara’s journey shows that new opportunities are always possible, even for those who are healing. At DASH, we celebrate her achievements and support her as she takes charge of her future.

Join DASH in spreading hope by following us on social media and sharing our mission.

*Name changed to protect identity of the survivor

Visit to the White House for a Groundbreaking Announcement

Last week, DASH was invited to visit the White House for the launch of the first-ever National Plan to End Gender-Based Violence: Strategies for Action.

The plan aims to prevent and address gender-based violence, including sexual violence, intimate partner violence, and stalking, through a comprehensive approach. The event featured two roundtable discussions with leaders from federal agencies, advocates, survivors, and service organizations.

This was a tremendous honor and an exceptional opportunity for DASH to showcase our work on a regional and national platform and forge new partnerships to advance our mission.

“This initiative builds on the lessons learned and progress made as the result of tireless and courageous leadership by GBV survivors, advocates, researchers, and policymakers, as well as other dedicated professionals and community members who lead prevention and response efforts.”  

Thank you for continuing to support our work to advance providing access to safe housing and services to survivors of domestic and sexual violence and their families as they rebuild their lives on their own terms. 

Rebuilding Your Life During Motherhood

As Mother’s Day approaches, we want to take a moment to celebrate the strength and resilience of mothers who have overcome the challenges of motherhood and the struggles of domestic violence. At DASH, we support survivors like Natalie*, a mother who fled her abusive situation and was able to rebuild her life while caring for her child.

Natalie* is a mother of one who was able to flee her abusive situation when her child was still an infant. She was moving from shelter to shelter before she came to DASH. She was placed in the residential Cornerstone program to receive wraparound services. Natalie knew she needed to provide stability for her child if she wanted her family to thrive. Through her creativity, persistence, and support from her coach, she was able to build a steady stream of income and provide for her family.  

Natalie’s coach was intentional about reminding her that she matters. Although it was necessary for her to provide stability for her child, she also needed stability for herself to heal from the abuse. Natalie was also able to lean on other mothers in the program for support. She befriended another survivor to share childcare responsibilities when one of them needed to go out. The community at Cornerstone gave Natalie the environment to thrive.

Her consistency and growth during her first year at Cornerstone led Natalie to be moved to the more autonomous Empowerment Project to complete her second year at DASH. She has moved into her own unit and now lives in the community with a DASH guaranteed lease. She is continuing to grow her business with the support of her coach.

On average, the survivors who come to DASH are 26-year-old mothers with two young children

Motherhood is difficult already before the trauma of domestic violence and the challenges of leaving an abusive situation. During this Mother’s Day, let’s remember the strength of survivors who are rebuilding their lives while caring for their children.

From Surviving to Thriving: A Story of a Sexual Abuse Survivor 

In the US, 1 out of every 6 women and 1 out of 33 men would have experienced sexual assault at least once in their lifetime. Sexual violence is unfortunately pervasive in our society and domestic violence survivors are no exception.

For Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM), DASH would like to highlight the story of Victoria*.  

Victoria came to the U.S. with her longtime partner and two young children. Once they came to the U.S., her partner started becoming emotionally, physically, and sexually abusive. She fled her home with her two young children and began couch surfing with the friends and family she had in the U.S.

Victoria was able to connect with DASH and transitioned to her own apartment in the Empowerment Project.  

With safe housing secured for her and her family, she quickly obtained a job with the support of her DASH Coach. Her work ethic and persistence enabled her to become more successful in the program. However, it was difficult for Victoria to switch from “surviving mode” to “thriving mode.” Her coach reminded her that it is okay to feel and experience these emotions and to not always have it all together. Addressing the emotions surrounding the abuse on her own terms is the first step towards healing from the trauma of the assault. 

Victoria has been catapulted into a new career in the travel industry. She is excited and nervous to leave DASH. Victoria’s story of overcoming sexual abuse and rebuilding her life is a testament to her strength and resilience. She can now successfully provide for her family in a safe home. 

DASH recognizes how hard it is to leave a sexually abusive relationship, especially if you have children. One of our coaches, Bruce, gives the following advice for survivors of sexual assault: “You didn’t make a bad choice in choosing yourself. Continue to choose you.” 

To learn more about Sexual Assault Awareness Month, you can visit the National Sexual Violence Resource Center or RAINN. These websites offer data on sexual violence, national and local resources for survivors, and ways to get involved in activism.  

*Name changed to protect privacy

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District Alliance for Safe Housing | PO Box 91730 Washington, DC 20090
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