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Open your heart to help stop violence

By Nadine Goodman

In the early 1980s women, usually accompanied by their mothers, would come to my apartment in San Miguel.  Sometimes they had been raped, other times “just” beaten as they put it.  They did not know what to do; it never occurred to them to go to the police and almost universally they felt ashamed.  I did my best, which was a far cry from the comprehensive set of services the professional domestic violence Mexican team at CASA (Centro para los Adolescentes de San Miguel, A.C.) offers today.

Luncheon and No Más Violencia Play, Mon, Jan 23, 1pm, The home of Barbara Porter, 100 Donation, Reservations Required, For more information, call 415-104-3375 (Spanish); 121-0612 (English)

Sendoff Party, Mon, Jan 23, 5-6:30pm, Harry’s Cafe, Hidalgo 12, Appetizers provided by Harry’s, Meet the CASA staff who are walking for three days, Everyone invited, No Mas Violencia bandanas for 50 pesos sponsors, For more information, call 415-104-3375 (Spanish); 121-0612 (English)

Meeting, Join the CASA Staff  and Volunteers, Tue, Jan 24, 5:15am, Under the Gazebo in the Jardin, For more information, call 415-104-3375 (Spanish); 121-0612 (English),

Of course I remember many of the women who came to see me.  There was Gabriela for example (named changed for confidentiality purposes) who lived more or less in my neighborhood, worked as a receptionist at CASA and had visited me on a number of occasions, usually after serious fights at home with her partner through the 1980s and 90s.  In early 1990s, Gaby announced in her last month of pregnancy that she was quitting her job because her partner wanted her home to take care of their second child. I remember raising a mental eyebrow, keeping my thoughts to myself and I joined in with the rest of the CASA team to give Gaby a “going away and baby shower” party.  That very night, or to be more precise in the wee hours of the morning, Gaby was knocking on my door after her partner put a knife to her throat.  It was only many years later that Gaby was able to leave this man definitively to take care of her two children and it was only last year, 2011, that Gaby married a man who deeply loves and respects her.

More recently I learned that a current midwife student at the CASA Midwifery School was in intensive care for over a week as a result of a severe beating she received from her husband after she told him that she was leaving him to go to midwifery school. I was horrified.  Then, less than a week ago, I learned that this same man was in prison, but only after he had killed a woman who was seven months pregnant.

On January 24, the Ninth Annual San Miguel Walk against Violence will take place.  We’ll  accompany  many thousands of pilgrims for the first leg of their nine-day journey as they head for San Juan de los Lagos in the state of Jalisco.  Many of us will walk for seven kilometers but 10 of CASA’s peer health educators will walk among the pilgrims for three days – as far as Silao – to talk about preventing familial violence and breaking the cycle of violence. We depart the Jardin at 5:30am. I invite you to join us.

The US$50 donation (tax receipts available) that is being requested from San Miguel Walk participants will go to support the array of programs at CASA to prevent violence and help those who have survived violence. I look forward to seeing you and check out HYPERLINK “” \t “_blank” for more information about the San Miguel Walk!

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