Dear Friends of HAWC:

Happy Holidays from all of us at the Houston Area Women’s Center!

We are taking time to pause and reflect on everything and everyone we’re thankful for at this special time of the year – including friends, family, allies, and community champions for meaningful change. It’s only with your generous and steadfast support that we’re able to carry out our mission of ending interpersonal violence in our lifetimes. What a gift you provide to those we serve!

As you make your end-of-the-year philanthropic plans, I hope you’ll consider HAWC as a worthy recipient of your generosity – click here to donate now.

Thanks to you, we are able to:

  • Staff a 24/7 hotline and chat that provides an initial lifeline and ray of hope to thousands of women and their children leaving abusive relationships every year
  • Shelter over 1,000 women and children safely and anonymously – and together as a family unit
  • Advocate for change and progress at the local, state, and national levels
  • Support survivors in achieving their independence and freedom through financial education programs

Although we continuously make progress, our work is not done – far from it.

At this time of year, emotions and conflict escalate with holiday activities and gatherings. Issues around finances, substance abuse, and relationship stress can exacerbate the situation. This can be a difficult time to leave a dangerous relationship, but it also can be a catalyst to begin safely planning a successful exit.

Some people aren’t aware they are in an abusive relationship.

Domestic abuse is a pattern of behaviors used to maintain power and control over another person in any relationship. You or someone you know may be in an unhealthy situation.
But in order to leave, survivors need a strategy during this critical time: an individualized safety plan including a set of actions that help reduce the risk of being harmed by an abusive partner.

If you are struggling with how to begin or help someone you care about, you are not alone.

The 3 Rs – “Recognize, Respond and Refer” – is a tool that can help increase safety.

  • Recognize – Recognizing the signs of domestic abuse is the first step. It can take many forms including physical, verbal, emotional, financial, sexual, stalking, and harassment. During the holidays, you may notice abusive partners exert control by keeping their partners from spending time alone or with others. It is also common for abusers not to allow survivors to spend time with friends and family. Take a moment and ask, “I’m checking in to see how you are doing.”
  • Respond – Responding to survivors includes listening without judgment, believing them, and validating their thoughts and feelings. “I am sorry that you are going through this. I am here to support you. I believe you.” You can help a loved one create a safety plan.
  • Refer – Take the time to become knowledgeable about resources in the community. HAWC is here to help 24/7 on our hotline and CHAT at The majority of people who access services at HAWC are referred by friends and family.

Everyone deserves a relationship free from domestic abuse.

As we count our blessings at this time of year, we are grateful for everything you do to support the Houston Area Women’s Center and further our goal of eliminating interpersonal violence in our community.

Wishing you a happy and safe holiday season,

Emilee and the HAWC family