The recent swirl of news about sexual violence against women and about power and victimization has been dizzying and discouraging. Trauma and its aftermath are issues that we contend with every day here at N Street Village – we know that the great majority of the women we serve have experienced trauma in one form or another. Nearly one in three women in D.C. reported that violence was the cause of their homelessness and housing instability.* Secrecy and silence often complicate the problem and cause survivors to feel shame and isolation.
I want to acknowledge the pain and struggle, but also highlight the hope and healing that are the promise of N Street Village.
Recovery from trauma is possible. That does not mean that all emotional scars will disappear – but it does mean that they can become less troubling and more tolerable. Every day at the Village we see examples of resilience and courage, and we hear the testimonies of those who have walked through the darkest of landscapes and have emerged to inspire us with their stories of survival and healing.
Our Village is based on the principles of community and empowerment, including:
- The power of personal narrative: the ability for women to own and express their unique personal experience without fear or shame.
- The power of witness: the ability of us all to stand in empathy and solidarity with one another – to accept each other’s truth without feeling threatened, and with the intent to be a compassionate and vocal ally.
- The power of kindness and love: the relationships we sew here can bind us together in an unbreakable web of connection and caring – and can be the antidote for the forces of fear and oppression which tear us apart.
Together with you, the Village community is a place of healing where there is hurt, a place of courage where there is fear, and a place of dignity where there is shame.
With gratitude and admiration,
Chief Executive Officer
N Street Village
*Source: 2017 D.C. Women’s Needs Assessment