Effective responses to domestic violence require a clear understanding of the lived realities of those experiencing the violence. An analysis of the Latin@ cultural lens and context are highlighted in the tools included below as well as specific aspects of the realities faced by Latin@ survivors. These complicate the decision whether to leave or stay in abusive relationships. For many survivors, their hope is for the violence to end. In the case of Latina women in particular, there are specific cultural aspects that play a key role in these decisions, such as the tremendous importance of family. Understanding these cultural values is critical in providing effective support to survivors on their journey.
The work of the Líderes and promotoras/promotores are examples of culturally specific approaches to engage communities while utilizing their natural strength and shared wisdom. The impact of both approaches is long lasting and transformative. Both share the vision of maximizing community resources and supporting the development of leadership from within the communities.
Developed by Casa de Esperanza, the Líderes Program or the Latina Peer Education Initiative fosters and develops leadership from within Latin@ communities. This strategy aims to tap into the natural leadership among individuals, families and communities to share critical information and resources, build community, and promote healthy relationships. The initiative is led by the women who serve as Líderes (Peer Educators). Líderes develop the trainings and tools that will be used in the workshops – they recruit participants and promote the workshops in the community. Project goals are accomplished by recruiting, training and supporting Latina Líderes to engage other individuals and families to acquire knowledge, skills and resources for immediate and long-term health and stability.
Promotoras and Promotores are also community Líderes and their approach is equally effective. Promotoras started in Latin America as a way of reaching communities from within, on issues mostly related to health and wellness. Promotoras serve as liaisons between their community, health professionals, and others. As liaisons, they often play the roles of educator, mentor, outreach worker, advocate and role model. This approach has been very effective in Latin America and its strength has become evident in communities across the U.S.
Resources offered below explore culturally responsive advocacy, leadership development for Latin@s, and survivor-centered approaches.
Leadership Development for Latinas by Casa de Esperanza (Updated 2013)
This curriculum documents Casa de Esperanza’s approach to foster and develop leadership within Latin@ communities. This approach has been successfully adapted by several organizations across the country and, in 2011, was documented as an evidence-based curriculum that builds Latina leadership and increases participants’ knowledge of domestic violence. The overall goals of this project are to engage the natural leadership among individuals, families and communities to share critical information and resources, build community, and promote healthy relationships. These goals are realized through recruiting, training and supporting Latina Líderes to engage other individuals and families to acquire knowledge, skills and resources for immediate and long-term health and stability. To obtain a FREE copy of the curriculum, email Casa de Esperanza at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
La Víctima y la Sobreviviente: A Latina Sexual Assault Victim Advocate's Toolkit (Bilingual) from Arte Sana (2005)
This toolkit contains original information created by Arte Sana as well as translations of existing data. The material is organized into ready-to-use formats including five PowerPoint presentations. This unique resource was created for bilingual victim advocates to promote healthy Latin@ communities, enhance sexual violence prevention efforts, and build awareness about victim rights.