Back in 1982 when we were the New York Asian Women's Center, our helpline volunteers answered phone calls from a secret phone hidden in a filing cabinet. These calls were mostly from Chinese women experiencing domestic violence seeking help. Since then, we have also answered thousands upon thousands of calls from survivors of human trafficking and sexual violence of all ages and genders, in 18+ Asian languages and dialects, plus Spanish.
Womankind is so proud to announce a historic moment in our organization's history. In recognizing the crucial role the helpline plays in introducing community members to our services, Womankind's helpline has expanded to include chat and text options in order to be more accessible to young and non-English speaking survivors of gender-based violence, who may not be receiving the critical services they need.
For survivors, calling the helpline opens the door to all the services at Womankind. There are, however, limitations in providing services over the phone. Having a safe space to seek help increases survivors' comfort in doing so, yet they may not always have access to this due to different reasons, including sharing a physical space with their abuser. Texting and chatting provide alternative, safer options for them to connect to services in a language that is comfortable and meaningful.
Thanks to a grant award, Womankind can now offer free and confidential crisis counseling, information, and referrals in English and Chinese. This expansion will serve the pan-Asian community across New York City. In the future, we plan to expand to Bengali, Spanish, and more Asian languages. Our goal is to create a stronger, more responsive network of services within New York City for identifying and providing care and support to survivors of gender-based violence, so they may rise above trauma and build a path to healing. Learn more about helpline's operating hours and languages below.
Please join Womankind in celebrating this important milestone in our organization's history.