White House’s U.S. National Action Plan on GBV

Womankind CEO, Yasmeen Hamza, Speaks at API-GBV Listening Session: White House's U.S. National Action Plan on Gender-Based Violence

September 20, 2021

Good evening, my name is Yasmeen Hamza and I am the CEO of Womankind located in NYC. Thank you for the opportunity to share our recommendations on how to better support the needs of AAPI survivors of gender-based violence.

Womankind was founded in 1982 and uses the multidimensionality of our Asian heritage to work alongside survivors of gender-based violence as they build a path to healing. We are working tirelessly to create a future where we Rise Above Violence and our communities can innovate towards collective well-being, restoration, and social justice.

As a culturally specific organization, our services for survivors looks different as we work to anticipate barriers and work to develop programming that accounts for their needs. We have a deep understanding of the cultural nuances that impact a survivor’s decision to stay and the barriers that exist that impact their ability to access supports. Our programming account for not only their concrete needs, but the long-term cultural supports needed as they embark on their healing journey. Because of this, we believe that their needs to be a continued and increased Investment in culturally specific organization, as we are often, the only lifelines for our communities.

Our organization understands the complexity of navigating trauma and crisis and not being able to voice your concerns in your preferred language. We understand that it creates tremendous barriers for our communities. We understand having services in the language I speak can be a crucial aspect in being able to access help. We are asking for your continued investment in organizations that provide language specific services as well as supporting the resources needed such as access to interpretation and translation services to ensure that anyone, walking through our doors is provided with services in their preferred language.

In addition to language justice, as organizations that serve survivors of gender-based violence, we also have definitive stances to support equal access to reproductive and sexual health services that are holistic. We ask for investments in services that are responsive and meet the intersectional needs of communities of color. When lawmakers restrict our reproductive rights and health, these barriers disproportionately impact women of color, low-income women, and others who face the largest barriers to thrive. Culturally specific organizations like Womankind know what it means to not have this access. Providing additional resources such as funding to our organizations as well as supporting us with trauma informed technical assistance is crucial to holistically supporting marginalized survivors of gender-based violence.

As culturally specific organizations, we are often at the frontlines, supporting our communities, with limited funding. We ask you to continue to commitment to gender-based violence survivors and immigrant communities, recognizing the multiple barriers these communities negotiate every day and the need for specialized support for these communities.

Again, we thank you for creating this space to share our recommendations and your continued commitment to supporting AAPI survivors of gender-based violence.