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Purple Ribbon Awards

DASH was honored with FOUR Purple Ribbon Awards.

The Purple Ribbon Awards are the first comprehensive awards program honoring the countless heroes of the domestic violence movement, including advocates, programs, shelters, survivors and members of the community support system. Learn more, here.


The Silent Epidemic of Intimate Partner Violence in the Queer Community 

Almost Half of Gay Men Experience Intimate Partner Violence

During the month of June, you’re a bit more likely to see and hear, the voices of the Queer community proclaiming pride and resilience in the wake of ongoing attempts to undercut their basic human rights. But what is often unseen, both within the LGBTQ+ community and outside of it, is an epidemic of domestic violence in intimate partner relationships.  

Recent studies have found that those who identify as either lesbian or gay reported domestic violence and sexual violence rates which were equal to or higher than those who identify as heterosexual. Not to mention, trans people are victimized over four times more often than cisgender people, up to half of that being violence from a current or former intimate partner. The intersection of race only exacerbates the problem, as in just one study, over 60 percent of LGBTQ victims of IPV-related homicides were people of color.  

And for Queer survivors of intimate partner violence, barriers to help, such as shelters and mental health services, are often insurmountable. That is why innovative, low barrier to entry programs, like DASH, are so crucial.  

“Being homeless for 4 months last year, was nothing new for me, as a Trans Brown Immigrant woman, I have faced homelessness in the past.” Says *Martina, a former DASH resident. “Being able to access the DASH program helped me to continue working and helping my own community. “  

Everyone deserves and is worth a life free from fear – no matter who they are or who they love. This simple statement rests at the heart of our mission here at DASH, and we will continue to guide us as we support the LGBTQIA+ community.  

*Name changed to protect the identity of the survivor.  

Donovan Trott, Manager, Development & Communications


Allies in Change Awards Reception

DASH’s Allies in Change Awards Reception recognizes community partners who have made a difference in the lives of women and children facing homelessness due to domestic violence. As the District Alliance for Safe Housing, DASH relies on our allies in the community to amplify DASH’s mission and work to ensure that every home is a safe home for survivors of abuse.

Wednesday, April 20th, 2016

6:00PM to 8:00PM

Center for Strategic and International Studies (1616 Rhode Island Ave, NW, DC)

RSVP here

To learn more about sponsorship opportunities, click here or contact Jasmine at jowens@dashdc.wpengine.com.


What It Takes DC #7: The Importance of Safe, Stable Housing

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Note: This is the 7th post in DASH’s ongoing What It Takes blog series, which examines and explains the various factors that make getting safe from abuse so difficult. Each post explores factors that survivors have to navigate on their journey to finding safety. Learn more about the campaign at the What It Takes page, and please spread the word: #WhatItTakesDC. 

The biggest barrier for survivors trying to find safety from abuse is access to safe, stable housing for them and their children. Check out our blog from last week for more information on the shortage of housing for survivors of domestic violence in the District.  This week we are exploring this issue in a more personal way  through the story of Alice, a former DASH resident. Alice was the keynote speaker at the 5th annual Allies in Change event in April 2015 – below she explains the barriers that she faced when trying to leave her abuser and find a safe place to stay.

My Story:

Hello my name is Alice; I became a resident at (DASH) January 22, 2010. I came to (DASH) due to domestic violence, I was not physically abused but emotionally and verbally abused.

I will not forget the day I said I had enough of my abuser which was my son’s father. On 12/22/2009, my abuser came home high on P.C.P, he has been an addict since his mom died on May 25, 2007.  Back then I worked the night shift at a nursing home in upper NW. As I was getting ready for work a loud “boom” came from the living room of my home. My abuser tossed our son across the room, he was high and hallucinating. His words were “that’s not my son he looks like a monster” quickly I fought him for throwing my son, I walked into the kitchen when I turned around there was a long butcher knife to my neck. He told me if I moved he will kill me. That’s when I knew my life and the life of  my children were in danger.

I called the police and no arrest was made, they asked that he remove himself from the residence. I wasn’t able to go to work that night due to the incident and at the time I was the only one working. My son was not hurt in this attack he was 15 months at the time. The New Year was approaching and I knew I was going to leave him. I didn’t have anywhere to run due to lack of family support. I reached out to family but all seem to reject me and even my situation. Sometimes they would go as far to say “I told you so” and at that time safety and comfort was more important than criticism.

WIT7

Finally I went to the D.C. Superior Court to file a (CPO) against my abuser. The judge granted the order the same day; the court building assisted me with “Crime Victims Compensation” my daughter, son and I were placed in a shelter. The shelter I was placed in was worse than the home that I had just left. I was placed in one room, with no bathroom. It was just a room with a one full size bed, a sink and a small size refrigerator. I shared a bathroom with 7 other women many of the women got high in the bathroom. They always seem to smoke P.C.P and every time I smelled that odor it took me back to that moment.  My children and I didn’t eat a balanced meal for 2 weeks we lived off microwave dinners.

Showering at this shelter was terrible many of the women were having sex in the bathroom. There were used condoms on the floor, drug bags, and crack pipes even blood stains around the toilet seat. Me and my kids washed up over a small sink inside of our room for 2 weeks. When I left my abuser and also my apartment I left everything, I left with one outfit and my kids had 3 outfits a piece. I didn’t have any money to survive he stole what little I did have saved.

Finally on 1/22/2010 I received a phone call from DASH to come in for an intake. I rushed to gather my personal documents I was placed 2 days later. Finally I felt safe and comfortable they gave me a two bedroom apartment “It actually looked better than the apartment I was paying $1000 for” to live in. The apartment was furnished 100% my kids were so happy. I haven’t seen them smile in days at that time my kids were 1 and 3 years old.

I will never forget the first thing we did was shower for a long time and I cooked a home cooked meal “You would have thought it was Thanksgiving in January” I cried so many nights wondering how did I allow myself to fail me and my children all for one individual love. While at DASH I used every resource available to me. The first program I lived in at DASH was Huruma it was a 60 day program. I was afraid at times that me and my children would be homeless again.

I worked with my advocate every time I was scheduled. She found resources for employment, school, and permanent housing. I lost my job because I didn’t have childcare me and my children safety was more important at the time. I enrolled into school to become a (CNA) the course was a 4 week program. I completed this course successfully. One day DASH had a meeting with all residents announcing they were opening a bigger location.

I already knew I wasn’t going to be part of their growth because my time was almost up. Then when they said “ALICE  you are going with us,” I cried so hard I was more than thankful and over joyed. I picked the kids up from daycare they were enrolled full-time. I told the kids about the exciting news even though they were too young to understand. The day had come for me to move out I was packed and ready to go I signed my 2 year lease at DASH’s new location called Cornerstone.

They placed my keys inside of hand my apartment, 1D which meant to me “ONE DREAM, ONE DESTINY, and ONE DESIRE” At DASH I built a trusting relationship and also a loving one. DASH was and is really there to help women become better and do better. They had yoga, zumba, meditation, childcare “playroom”, and potlucks, cooking classes, crochet, counseling, addiction counseling, advocate support, clothes and food drives, holiday baskets and free give a ways, to basketball games, President Easter egg roll and much more.

I really enjoyed myself while living at DASH, this program has changed me as a mother, daughter and even as a person and the way I think today. When I came to DASH I was bitter, angry, frustrated, depressed and sometimes disrespectful because I was mad at myself. I had to take medication to control my behavior back then.

I advocated for myself so many times via email, phone and writing letters. I called DCHA almost every day I fought for permanent housing. I told them my story every time I had the opportunity too. One day I came home to DASH I checked my mailbox a letter from housing was sitting there. I opened the letter and they accepted my request and I danced across the main lobby floor.

I was schedule to come in for an interview 3/13/12. Everything was approved I moved into my own permanent housing 8/31/12 a three bedroom house where I live today.  I moved into my own home I promised myself no man could live with me not like my abuser again unless it was my husband.

I never knew if I would get married but I did want to marry before the age 35, I’m 28 years old now through the trials and tribulations I have been a full time college student since 3/12/12. I’m majoring in criminal justice to become a homicide detective. I’m proud to announce in 2 weeks I will graduate with my bachelor’s degree.

During my time in college in 2012, I met a wonderful man, his smile, his walk, his personality was nothing but positive. He looked passed my story he promised me a better future and we have been best friends since. This year on 1/15/2015 I married this amazing man that I admired and he also admired me I’m no longer just Alice I am now Alice, a strong survivor.


Domestic Violence Matters: 2014 Domestic Violence Counts Report Released

Note: This is the 5th post in a new blog series by DASH called ‘Domestic Violence Matters’, which discusses current events and media coverage of domestic violence. We believe that empowering, provocative, and original media and storytelling must play a critical role in helping to overcome domestic violence in our society.

In a single day last September there were 28 unmet requests for safe housing from survivors of domestic violence in DC, according to the new Domestic Violence Counts Report. This means that in the space of twenty-four hours, 28 women and men gathered the courage to meet with an advocate in an attempt to find a safe place to stay but were turned away. These 28 survivors of domestic violence were then left with two options —  go back to their abuser or become homeless.

Each year the National Network Against Domestic Violence (NNEDV) works with local organizations to gather data on the types of domestic violence services requested and provided across the United States. The 2015 report sheds light on some important trends in the DC area.

On September 10th, 2014:
  • 847 victims of domestic violence were served (53% increase from 2013)
  • 499 victims were safely housed in emergency and transitional housing (57% increase from 2013)
  • 75 hotline calls were answered (56% increase from 2013)
  • 77 victims requested services that advocates were unable to provide (48% increase from 2013)

“Each week at the Housing Resource Clinic DASH advocates work with dozens of survivors in an attempt to provide them with safe housing access. Some families however, are forced to wait for months in dangerous situations because domestic violence shelters in the District are constantly at capacity. This report shows us what we already know – there are not enough options for survivors in DC, we need to be doing more.”- DASH Executive Director, Peg Hacskaylo

At DASH we believe that having a place to stay free from abuse is a fundamental human right. No one should have to choose between living in an abusive home and being homeless. Since DASH was founded in 2006 we have doubled the number of safe beds for survivors in the District, and in the next year we will continue to work to expand our services to meet the growing need.

Support DASH today

Last Week:

Domestic Violence Matters: The NFL


Domestic Violence Matters: The NFL

Note: This is the 4th post in a new blog series by DASH called ‘Domestic Violence Matters’, which discusses current events and media coverage of domestic violence. We believe that empowering, provocative, and original media and storytelling must play a critical role in helping to overcome domestic violence in our society.

In the wake of two more domestic violence related incidences within the NFL regarding Ray McDonald of the Bears and most recently Bruce Miller of the 49ers, we sat down with the DASH Clinical Director to discuss how the NFL is handling domestic violence and, why their response even matters.

Q: In the last year the NFL has gotten a lot of media attention for the way that they internally handle domestic violence cases. Why do you think it matters how the NFL responds to domestic violence?

A: It’s important for the NFL to take action when one of their players commits an act of domestic violence because as an institution, the NFL has a lot of influence in our society. What the NFL does, in terms of the choices they make and the causes they support has a huge impact society wide. When I think about the good that the NFL could do on domestic violence – it’s extraordinary. They reach a lot of communities who wouldn’t ordinarily hear messages from the domestic violence service community including young people and men. So it’s even more important that they take a stand and say as a business, we are not going to stand for this, we are not going to have a participant who assaults their partner. It’s crucial.

Q: Aside from their influence, is there anything else that uniquely positions the NFL in the issue of domestic violence?

A: I think the big reason that the NFL has such an opportunity to impact the issue is that so much of our ideas about masculinity and what it means to be a real man are tied to being good at sports, being strong and physically aggressive. In pretty obvious ways the NFL perpetuates a culture of domination, specifically among men. And then when we look at the patterns that occur in domestic violence relationships we can see a lot of those same dynamics of power, control and aggression played out. The audience that the NFL reaches, the culture that they represent put them in a place to make a really positive impact on the issue of domestic violence in the United States.

Q: Because the NFL has received negative attention for their handling of domestic violence cases, specifically the Ray Rice case last fall, they have increased penalties for players involved in domestic violence situations. What do you think the impact of harsher punishment is on the wives, girlfriends and partners who are victims of domestic violence and their ability to speak out?

A: This is a big issue, I think that as the NFL has gotten stricter on domestic violence, it has put increased pressure on victims to not report assault or speak out for fear that their partner will be fired, their source of income gone and on top of that they face a huge amount of media attention and scrutiny. It’s already extremely difficult for survivors to seek help for domestic violence, but then when you are reporting a sports celebrity it creates all these other challenges and becomes harder for the victims to protect themselves. The dynamic is one where it’s the victim’s responsibility to report their abuse so that the individual player can be held accountable and then the NFL can take action. And it’s hard because the players should be held accountable, as all abusers should. But we need to make sure we are supporting survivors of domestic violence to be safe and empowered as well.

Q: The NFL recently instituted mandatory domestic violence training for all NFL staff and players and they have started financially supporting the National Domestic Violence Hotline. What are other ways you think they could make an impact on the issue of domestic violence?

A: I would really like to see their education efforts focused on prevention and talking about ways to communicate without being violent and how in a healthy relationship you don’t assault your partner. That would be really powerful education for the NFL to take a lead on not just for their players, but for athletes across the US. Make dating violence prevention a priority in college football, in high school sports they could even start reaching out to community recreation leagues. Think about the power of that message coming from the NFL to kids and teens, that healthy relationships, healthy communication is important. They have the money and the influence to really make that happen.

Q: You mentioned that the NFL has the ability to reach people who haven’t been exposed to domestic violence as an issue. What is one thing you would like them to understand?

A: Living free from violence is a human right and as a community we are saying we are not going to tolerate it. And if I could say 2 things, healthy masculinity and being a “real man” means you should use your strength for good and to take care of and provide for your partner and your children.

About DASH

DASH’s mission is to be an innovator in 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.

Support DC families escaping abuse today.

Learn more about DASH’s safe housing programs for survivors of domestic and sexual violence and their families in the District.


What It Takes DC #6: Choosing to Stay

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Note: This is the sixth post in DASH’s ongoing What It Takes blog series, which examines and explains the various factors that make getting safe from abuse so difficult. Each post explores factors that survivors have to navigate on their journey to finding safety. Learn more about the campaign at the What It Takes page, and please spread the word: #WhatItTakesDC. 

When a survivor of domestic violence decides to leave an abusive relationship, it doesn’t always mean they are deciding to leave their home or community. In places like DC, survivors who decide not to move are informed of their right to have their locks changed quickly in order to stay as safe as possible.

Deciding to Stay

Escaping abuse is often an isolating experience for survivors. In order to find safety, they are forced to uproot their families, leave their community and transfer schools. Leaving an abusive relationship is already difficult; it’s a time when survivors need support from loved ones more than ever. It’s understandable that some survivors choose not to leave their home, even if they are leaving their abuser. For these men and women, a DASH advocate strongly recommends that they get a protection order and change their locks as soon as possible, “don’t just change your locks,” she adds, “add new ones on the windows and all doors, and get a security system. Do everything you can to feel safe.” There are a few ways that survivors can get financial assistance for these precautions detailed below.

Danger Assessment

Before a survivor decides to stay in their home it’s important that they speak with an advocate to assess their situation. A DASH advocate warns that survivors don’t always realize the full danger of their relationship, “when you are in a domestic violence relationship, abuse, even intense physical abuse, becomes normalized. It can also be hard for them to believe that the person they love is capable of really dangerous behavior. But the reality is that the majority of domestic violence homicides occur when a survivor is trying to leave – it’s the most dangerous time for them.” It’s crucial therefore that survivors speak with a domestic violence advocate and do a danger assessment to ensure that staying is a safe choice for them. A danger assessment will look at whether or not the abuser owns a gun, the intensity and frequency of the physical abuse, drug use and past threats of violence.

A Temporary Step to Safety

Regardless of whether you choose to stay or leave your home the DASH housing advocate recommends that survivors get their locks changed immediately. Finding safe housing in DC is a process, it can take families months of looking and meeting with advocates to find a new place to stay, “we work with some clients over a period of several months trying to get them access to safe housing so they can leave their current situation,” says one DASH housing specialist. It’s important that survivors acted quickly after they’ve left their abuser, change the locks, obtain a protection order and find a new route to work and school. For some survivors changing locks is just a temporary solution in their long term goal of stability and safety.

A How to Guide

Regardless of whether changing the locks is a temporary or long term solution; survivors are able to apply for financial assistance, check out our housing resource page for more information.

Take Action

You can learn more about what it takes for survivors to get safe at WhatItTakes.org or donate to DASH to support access to safe housing for survivors.


Domestic Violence Matters: The Point In Time Homeless Count

Note: This is a guest third post in a new blog series by DASH called ‘Domestic Violence Matters’, which discusses current events and media coverage of domestic violence. We believe that empowering, provocative, and original media and storytelling must play a critical role in helping to overcome domestic violence in our society.

Over one thousand homeless families in the DC area cited a domestic violence relationship as their current cause of homelessness.

Each year the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) partners with local communities to engage in a nationwide count of homeless individuals and families living in emergency shelter, transitional housing, or unsheltered locations. On January 28, 2015, volunteers were tasked to collect this data to better understand the major causes of homelessness in the D.C. region.

This week, the 2015 Point in Time Count Report for the DC Metro Area was released by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments. The 99-page report is full of important information and statistics on the homeless population in region.

Below are four of the findings that correlate domestic violence and homelessness in the District:

1. Domestic violence is strongly correlated with family homelessness. Domestic violence was the most defining characteristic among homeless families. Over 30% of the families surveyed indicated having experienced domestic violence in the past, and 19%  reported their current episode of homelessness was caused by domestic violence.

2. Homelessness overall decreased. There are 11,623 homeless individuals in the region. Overall homelessness in the metro area decreased by 2.7 percent (or 323 people) from 2014.

3. Domestic violence related homelessness, however, is on the rise for individuals. Among single adults, homelessness caused by domestic violence increased 65%.

4. The increase is even more dramatic for homeless families. Among homeless families, domestic violence related homelessness rose 322% from 261 in 2014 to 1,101 this year. Over one thousand homeless families in the DC area cited a domestic violence relationship as their current cause of homelessness.


DASH’s mission is to be an innovator in providing access to safe housing and services to survivors of domestic violence and sexual violence and their families as they rebuild their lives on their own terms. Support families today.

Learn more about DASH’s safe housing programs for survivors of domestic and sexual violence and their families in the District.


What It Takes DC Campaign Launch

The District Alliance for Safe Housing (DASH) and Ad 2 DC have launched a campaign to build awareness for what it takes to find safety from domestic violence.

The campaign kicks off with a compelling short video PSA on www.WhatItTakesDC.com. It was featured locally in DC media on Clear Channel/iHeartRadio, ABC7/WJLA, and the Arlington Sun Gazette, among others.

“Many people think those in a domestic violence situation have an easy way out,” DASH Executive Director Peg Hacskaylo said. “But the reality is, victims are forced to overcome a host of obstacles and barriers in order to get safe from abuse.”

While finding access to safe housing options is often essential, DASH emphasizes that it is not the only factor preventing protection and security.  Through this campaign DASH shows that survivors may need to overcome a list of obstacles.

These include, but are not limited to, enlisting law enforcement for restraining or protective orders, receiving support from family and friends, and compiling key documents and changing phone numbers. These steps are often necessary and are made to be even more difficult when they must be done with extra caution.

Besides the tangible resources required, there are also significant emotional factors to be considered.

“Psychological abuse is common in domestic violence relationships – abusers use threats and intimidation to maintain control over their partner,” Hacskaylo said. “For this reason, it takes a tremendous amount of courage to find safety from abuse.”

To find out more about how you can get involved, visit www.WhatItTakesDC.com.  Spread the word to help spread awareness by using #WhatItTakesDC.

About DASH:

Every 16 minutes, someone in the DC area calls 911 for a domestic violence-related incident. DASH provides key resources including safe housing and services for survivors of domestic violence. From emergency and long-term housing to support and expert advice about available options, DASH helps survivors rebuild their lives on their own terms.

DASH is an innovator in 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. www.dashdc.org

About Ad 2 DC:

Ad 2 DC represents a group of like-minded young professionals in the D.C. Metro area, 32 years old and younger, either employed or interested in the world of advertising and its related fields – account executives, graphics designers, media specialists, PR professionals, writers – creating a diverse organization focused on being awesome, becoming more awesome, getting noticed and giving back to the community. www.dcadclub.com/ad2dc

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What It Takes Blog Series #4: Domestic Violence in the Digital Era

Note: This is the fourth post in DASH’s ongoing What It Takes blog series, which examines and explains the various factors that make getting safe from abuse so difficult. Each post explores factors that survivors have to navigate on their journey to finding safety. Learn more about the campaign at the What It Takes page, and please spread the word: #WhatItTakesDC. 

The National Domestic Violence Hotline reports that “digital domestic abuse” is on the rise, “more girls are reporting that their boyfriends stalk them via text message or threaten to humiliate them with social media. What starts in cyberspace rarely ends there,” writes the Daily Beast.

What is Digital Domestic Violence?

Digital domestic violence is the act of harassing or stalking a former or current partner through technology and social media. Abusers are increasingly using Bluetooth, spyware and popular location check in apps like squarespace to track their partner’s location. It’s alarming that abusers can remotely install these tracking applications on their partner’s phones without the survivor ever knowing. “When your abuser is tracking your phone, it means he knows when you seek shelter and help, even the route you take to work and can access  your text messages to friends and family. It’s a way for him to maintain power and control with threats to ensure that you don’t leave him,” cautions a DASH advocate.

She eventually realized that her abuser was tracking her location via the Bluetooth on her phone.

One DASH client reported that her ex-husband went as far as installing tracking devices on her two cars after the divorce. She was forced to leave her cars in different states in order to throw him off and protect her safety.  Another survivor reported that her abuser kept appearing at the grocery store when she was there shopping. She started going to grocery stores across town at weird hours of the day but he would always show up. She eventually realized that her abuser was tracking her location via the Bluetooth on her phone.

Harassment is the other common form of digital abuse. Abusers intimidate and harass their partners by posting or threatening to post incriminating photos and statuses or sensitive information about their partners. Photos that were once private between two people in a relationship suddenly become public for all to see – and often the survivor gets unfairly blamed. Abusers also send threatening messages and texts to their abusers, forcing them to live in fear.

It can be really traumatizing for survivors trying to find safety because you don’t know what they are capable of or when it’s going to stop.

A DASH advocate says this is not uncommon, “Clients come in all the time with stories about what their abusers are doing online, sending messages, posting nude photos and constantly taunting them. It can be really traumatizing for survivors trying to find safety because you don’t know what they are capable of or when it’s going to stop.” One DASH client reported that her abuser was creating fake Facebook profiles under her name and then adding all of her friends and family. He would then use the profile to taunt her. He posted explicit photos of her, wrote false statuses about her parenting skills and tagged her family members. When she would report the page and have it taken down, he would create another page. It’s proven difficult to combat digital abuse because it so often happens anonymously, states a DASH advocate.

Isolation or Safety?

Because of this, survivors of domestic violence are limited with few options and often have to isolate themselves from their friends and family by changing their phone number and email address and deleting their social media accounts.  Otherwise, they risk continued harassment and stalking from their abusers. For survivors who want to maintain contact with friends and family but also to stay safe from abuse, it can be difficult to know what to do.

It’s suggested that survivors use aliases instead of real names online, but even that isn’t foolproof. “Depending on your Facebook friends or your profile picture, even if your Facebook is private or under a different name, they can still track you down,” says the DASH Housing Clinic advocate.

What can survivors do? Don’t take risks, get a new phone, and delete your profiles. This can be really isolating, however, for survivors who want to continue having  contact with their support network of friends and family. For survivors who decide to maintain an online presence it’s important to change all passwords and be extremely conscious of the photos that are being posted. Even something small like a piece of furniture, a street sign or a car interior can be used by abusers to stalk and harass. As part of a survivor’s safety plan, consider using a computer or device outside of the home such as at a library or at the home of a family member or friend where the abuser would not have access.

Take Action:

You can learn more about what it takes for survivors to get safe at WhatItTakes.org or donate to DASH to support access to safe housing for survivors here.


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