Change happens from the ground up.

“If you ever need a survivor to raise her voice and share her story again, don’t hesitate to reach out. It was a pleasure.”

These messages are from HAWC clients who are survivors of sexual assault and who courageously shared testimony at a recent HAWC press conference to focus the public’s attention on real solutions to sexual assault that are grounded in the experience of survivors themselves.

“It’s hard to articulate, but you turned one of the scariest things I’ve ever done into a beautiful memory of standing alongside some of the most amazing women I’ll ever meet, the women I aspire to be.”

March is Women’s History Month and is designed to celebrate the vital role of women in making history. There is a growing awareness of the many notable women who played pivotal roles in our national story. Their names are becoming increasingly well known as they take their rightful place alongside the pantheon of men who are typically considered our heroic forefathers. Our heroic foremothers include Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Louisa May Alcott, Susan B. Anthony, Clara Barton, Amelia Earhart, Bessie Coleman, Barbara Jordan, Alicia Escalante, Coretta Scott King, Rosa Parks, Dolores Huerta, to name a few.

Recognizing great men alongside great women is not enough. The more profound insight is that while great leaders are vital, history gets made at the grassroots level by thousands upon thousands of local servant leaders, thought makers, change agents, and advocates whose names may never be recorded in history but whose courage and dedication moved mountains.

Change happens from the ground up… not the top down. It is why HAWC is so committed to centering and elevating the voices of survivors. By listening to their wisdom, we are witnessing history being made. By heeding their voices, we will be far more able to create a future free from domestic and sexual violence.

Decades ago, HAWC established Houston’s first Rape Crisis Center, including the hotline, counseling services, hospital accompaniment, and advocacy programs. Today, we serve as the Presiding Officer of Harris County’s Sexual Assault Response Team. From then until now, the needs and experiences of survivors have resulted in advances in trauma-informed systems and responses to sexual assault.

We are at a pivotal moment here in Houston that will set the trajectory for how our region does or does not design a coordinated community response that truly supports survivors in the wake of sexual assault. Women and women of color are disproportionally impacted by sexual violence. Let us look at ourselves and our systems, to build a culture that advances healthy, loving relationships and liberation from dynamics of power, prejudice, oppression, and abuse.

This Women’s History Month, we ask that you LISTEN when survivors speak. BELIEVE when survivors speak. SUPPORT when survivors speak. And as you do so, you will allow their courageous voices to be drivers of history.

If you would like to stand with the Houston Area Women’s Center, please consider a donation.

Show your support in person at HAWC’s annual Believe Luncheon on April 18. You can still reserve your table or seat as we take the stage to discuss the importance of systems supporting survivors and centering their voices. We want to see you there!

ICYMI: Hear directly from survivors during our Sexual Assault Media Event.

What is #HAWCFutureForward? Learn more about how HAWC is expanding safety and improving access.

Are you ready for a rewarding career empowering survivors of domestic and sexual violence? Join HAWC and #PursueYourPassion! Review open positions and apply today.

There are many ways to make a difference at HAWC! Learn more at Get Involved.