Archive for 2014

Thank You to Our 2014 Summer Interns!

Elise Berrier is a rising senior at UNC-Chapel Hill double majoring in Psychology and Women’s & Gender Studies with a minor in Creative Writing. This summer, Elise served as the Domestic Violence Community Education Intern. She is working on rewriting a media literacy program for middle school students and updating the Start Strong curriculum.​ Elise has volunteered with Compass Center since the fall of 2013 as a Start Strong facilitator.  She was given this initial opportunity through an APPLES internship placement in Bob Pleasants’ Women’s Studies class: Leadership in Violence Prevention for Peer Educators. Elise was drawn to Compass Center through their involvement in the community as a resource for individuals experiencing domestic violence, as well as a resource for empowering and educating adolescents on how to actively prevent and address domestic violence.

Caline Hou received her undergraduate degree in Political Science and Psychology from UNC in December 2012.  Caline started at UNC Law in August 2013 and just finished up her first year. During undergrad, Caline became interested in family law, and specifically, domestic violence law.  She started volunteering as a domestic violence hotline advocate for the Family Violence Prevention Center and realized that many clients she spoke to were in dire need of legal assistance, but were unable to obtain lawyers for financial reasons.  When FVPC merged with the Women’s Center to become Compass Center, Caline learned more about the different legal services that Compass Center offered and became interested in providing legal assistance to clients. This summer, Caline assisted Sally with coordinating Legal Information Services appointments, and meeting with clients who have Community Legal Project appointments.

Abigail Howard graduated from Duke in 2011 and has since worked at various nonprofits in the area. She currently teaches yoga in Durham and is a graduate student at NC State, pursuing a Masters in Counseling. Abigail joined us this summer as the information and referral intern, assisting clients, and updating our referral information.

Bridget McEnaney received her undergraduate degree in journalism from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2009 and is currently enrolled in graduate programs in substance abuse counseling and trauma counseling at ECU. Bridget began volunteering as an advocate with Compass Center in 2013 and is particularly interested in the intersection of interpersonal violence/trauma and substance abuse/mental health. Bridget also recently joined the staff at a domestic violence shelter in a neighboring county providing emotional and logistical support for residents who have recently fled abusive relationships. This summer, Bridget worked on updating the Compass Center advocate training materials on substance abuse and sexual violence, as well as creating a new comprehensive resource manual that will be accessible through the Compass Center website.

Abigail Owens is a rising senior at UNC, majoring in Sociology and double minoring in Social and Economic Justice and Public Policy. Prior to obtaining an Associates in Art degree and transferring to UNC, Abigail attended Davidson County Community College, while working as the office assistant at WBFJ-FM, a nonprofit Christian radio station. Abigail also served as the Student Government Association President and a Board of Trustees member. Abigail has always loved helping others in any way that she can, whether it be by raising awareness, fundraising, doing advocacy work, providing a helping hand, or simply by being present and willing to listen. She was drawn to Compass Center because of her own personal experience with domestic violence and the desire to help provide others of similar circumstances with the support and resources that they need in their time of crisis.

Natalie Scott is a rising sophomore at UNC-Chapel Hill and is considering business or communications as a major. During the 2013-2014 school year, Natalie worked at the UNC School of Medicine HR Office,  consolidating, pulling, and filing records. She also worked at the front desk answering calls and helping whoever walked in. Natalie assisted clients with their needs over the phone and as the walk into the center by providing information about Compass Center programs or referring clients to other organizations. Natalie also be entered data such as evaluations and client information into an online system.

Morgan Zaccardo is a junior undergraduate at UNC-Chapel Hill studying Global Studies (International Politics and an area focus in Latin America) and Journalism. Morgan is currently involved in UNC’s APPLES Service Learning program. She was originally drawn to women’s rights when she learned more about human trafficking and became very passionate about the issue. As an intern, Morgan works as an assistant to our Director of Court Advocacy. Morgan attends court with Kati and serves as an assistant to  advocate and support clients, as well as do outreach work for clients that may not know about Compass Center’s services. Morgan also does crisis counseling in the office and on the hotline.

Fall Support Groups

Fall Support Groups

Art of Healing Workshop for Survivors of Domestic Violence: This Group is offered on the third Saturday of most months. Survivors of intimate partner abuse are invited to participate in these afternoons of art-making, processing, and community. Participants will be gently led through easy art and writing activities with a focus on expression, hope, healing, and strengths. No previous art-making or writing experience is required. Childcare can be offered upon request. Registration is required for each session. The next group will be Saturday July 19th, 2-4PM. Please RSVP.

Domestic Violence Support Group: This 8 week group is open to women who have experienced or are currently experiencing abuse in an intimate partner relationship including emotional, verbal, economic, sexual, or physical abuse. Topics discussed include dynamics of domestic violence, the relationship between thoughts and feelings, boundaries, managing emotions, self-esteem, and self-care. The group is free. A screening interview is required to determine if the group is a good fit at the present time. Child care can be offered as needed. The next group will begin in mid-August 2014.

Survivor Led Writing Support Group: This 8-week group facilitated by survivors for survivors of domestic violence is being offered through a grant from the Orange County Arts Commission. The group will strive to create a safe place for writing, sharing and exploring different ways of using writing in the service of healing. A screening interview may be required to join the group. The group will begin in September 2014.

Domestic Violence and Substance Abuse: This 8-week group will be offered as a joint group between Compass Center for Women and Families and UNC Horizons. The group is open to women who have experienced are currently experiencing an abusive relationship and substance abuse. The group will be facilitated by a licensed therapist at Horizons and a trained domestic violence advocate from Compass Center. The group will begin in September 2014. If you are currently or have been a Horizons client, please contact Lauren Quick-Graham, MSW, LCSWA, Outpatient Therapist at 919.966.9803. All other prospective group members can contact Connie Carringer at 919-929-7122 or

Divorce and Separation Support Group: This 8 week group is open to women who have experienced or are contemplating separation and/or divorce. The group will address common issues that women face during this process such as grief, loss, anger, self-esteem, anxiety, depression, legal and financial concerns, parenting/co-parenting issues, and managing change. The focus of the group will be to provide support, encouragement, and information in a safe, nurturing, and confidential environment. A screening interview is required to determine if the group is a good fit at the present time. There is a $40 fee associated with this group, but can be waived as needed. Child care is offered upon request. The next group will begin in October 2014.

Self-Esteem Support Group: This 8-week group is open to women who want to work on building their own self-esteem and encouraging others in doing the same through discussion, writing, and expressive arts. The focus of the group will be to provide support, encouragement, and information in a safe, nurturing, non-judgmental, and confidential environment. A screening interview is required to determine if the group is a good fit at the present time. Screenings for this group are on-going. The next group will begin in October 2014.

Start Transforming Your Resume Right Now

Start Transforming Your Resume Right Now

Photo Credit: Flazingo LLC

Stand out among other applicants by adding the following 3 items to your resume. Your resume should be tailored to each employer, as what you have to offer may differ for each job — sometimes slightly, sometimes greatly.

Executive SummaryWho are you? How much experience do you have? What are the top skills you can bring to an employer? Your executive summary (also known as “Summary of Qualifications”) speaks directly to the employer. If an employer were only to look at the top one-third of your resume, does s/he know everything you want him/her to?
SkillsWhat do you know how to do that is relevant to the job you’re applying for? Look at the job description for each job as a starting point. List your skills as it applies individually to each position. Whether it be hard/soft skills, the employer wants to know that you can do what they’re asking for. Don’t be subtle — tell them why you’re perfect!
Significant Work ExperiencesWhat did you achieve at each of your former jobs? What will you be required to do in this position you’re applying for? If the job you held 10-15 years ago holds significant value, feel free to include it on your resume if you haven’t had a similar experience more recently.

Want to go a step further in your career exploration process? Call Compass Center to set up a one-on-one career advising appointment at 919-968-4610. Also, be on the lookout for upcoming career workshops.

The Violence Against Women Act: 1994 – 2014

The Violence Against Women Act: 1994 – 2014

We are all familiar with the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), at the very least because of its prominence in the news over the past year.  The controversy surrounding its renewal provides insight into larger cultural trends, specifically with regards to the work we do at Compass Center.  As such, this is a good opportunity to review the history of the act and its importance nationally and on the state level.

In 1994, Joe Biden introduced VAWA as a senator.  The act was a result of community efforts throughout the 80s and 90s, and as such, placed great importance on community-level anti-violence campaigns.  In addition to providing rape shield laws (prevents a victim’s sexual history to be brought up during cross-examinations) on a federal level, VAWA also provides support for a range of community violence prevention programs like those found at the Compass Center.  VAWA also ensures that victims of sexual assault do not have to pay for their own medical examinations.  Additionally, VAWA provides funding that goes towards training more than 500,000 law enforcement professionals to deal with domestic violence cases.  In these ways, VAWA directly affects our clients.

VAWA was up for renewal in 2012, and its opposition demonstrates the attitudes of social conservatives in the United States.  Though the Senate voted to reauthorize VAWA with some extended protections, the House rejected the reauthorization and instead provided its own version; the House’s proposed act limited crucial protections for Native women living on reservations, couples experiencing violence in same-sex relationships, and undocumented victims of domestic violence.  The legislative battle continued into 2013, until late February when the inclusive version of the bill finally passed the Senate. President Obama reauthorized the Act on March 7, 2013.

The House’s attempts to limit the efficacy of VAWA target the most vulnerable populations.  Victims of domestic violence who are in same-sex relationships are already less likely to reach out for help due to wide-spread stigma; legally prohibiting them from receiving protection would only further institutionalize this stigma.

Additionally, Native women are more likely to experience domestic violence than either their White or Black counterparts.  Not only that, they are more likely to be survivors of interracial assault, which results in limited ability to prosecute White offenders who perpetrate violence on reservations.  For these reasons, VAWA’s protection of Native communities is crucial.  North Carolinian practitioners especially should take note: North Carolina has the 6th largest Native population in the United States, with more than 110,000 Native Americans living in the state as of 2004.

Fortunately, the version of VAWA that was reauthorized is an inclusive version consistent with the vision and mission of the Compass Center.  The fight for an expanded reauthorized version demonstrates that sometimes, working for under-served populations means facing widespread institutional resistance.  However, the reauthorization is a chance for us to see our values reflected by our government, despite a long fight.

Thank You for Participating in the 2014 Through Women’s Eyes, By Women’s Hands!

Thank You for Participating in the 2014 Through Women’s Eyes, By Women’s Hands!

On March 7, more than 200 guests gathered at Top of the Hill’s Great Room for our annual Through Women’s Eyes, By Women’s Hands Art Exhibition and Sale. 5″ x 7″ anonymous mini-masterpieces from new and seasoned area women artists were available to view and purchase. Fabulous pieces by Andria Linn, John Rosenthal, John Svara, Barbara Tyroler and Renee Leverty were auctioned off and a dozen prizes were up for grabs in this year’s raffle drawing. Thanks to the support of many, we raised more than $54,000 to support our programs and services. We couldn’t have done it without the support of the community. Thank you! Photo Credit: Laura Shmania

Photo Credit: Laura Shmania

Presenting Sponsor
DWM Advisors

Gold Sponsors
Peggy and Gary Masse

Silver Sponsors
Clarkston Consulting
Performance AutoMall
UNC Health Care

Bronze Sponsors
Brock & Meece, P.A.
Counter Culture Coffee
Education and Training Systems, Intl., Inc
Franklin St. Partners
Gillian and Peter Hare
Grace Pilafian Landscaping
Lewis Anderson, PLLC
Tammi Brooks/501 Realty

Media Sponsors
Art Guide Now
Carolina Woman
Chapel Hill Magazine
News & Observer

Dessert Sponsors
Comfort Spot
Karin Mills, Spotted Dog
Mama Dip’s Kitchen
Moira Smullen

Friends Sponsors
Bagwell Holt
Bell Leadership
Donna Bennick
Jacob’s Capital
Leah Ogden, Raymond James
Management Services on Call
Michael Jordan Nissan
Minta Bell
Nelson and Company
Peaches N Cream
Ritter Endodontics
Southern Village Pediatric Dentistry
Steve Pike, Investors Trust
Triangle Neuropsychology
Woodmansee and Szombatfalvy

In-Kind Sponsors
Chapel Hill Toffee
DSI Comedy
Fearrington House Country Inn
Framer’s Corner
Healing Earth Resources
Ken Broun Jazz Group
Molly Maid of Chapel Hill
Spira Pilates Studio
Top of the Hill
Trader Joe’s
Walt Disney Theme Parks
Wine and Design + Venable

Golden Circle Sponsors
Christine and Gerald Bell
Libby and Lee Buck
Perry Colwell and Betty Neese
Candace Davies
Andrea Eisen and Daniel Pomp
Mimi Fountain
Robert Hogan
Verla Insko
Melissa Israel
Sheila Kerrigan
Laura and John Kiley
Susan Lindsay
Deborah Love
Harriet and DG Martin
Diana Mead
Kathryn Meyers
Sheila Northen
Patrick and Mary Norris Oglesby
Luke and Bob Page
Mary and Frank Penta
Elizabeth Preddy
Bill and Nancy Rickard
Sharon and Chris Ringwalt
Mary Jane Rivers
Deborah Roach
Melody Harrison Savage
Robert Seymour
Carol Stamm
Susanna and Stedman Stevens
Denise Ramsey Vanderwoude
John and Ashley Wilson
Mia Xavier
Art Show Committee
Peggy Masse, Co-Chair
Libby Buck
Sarah Forbes
Ann J. Gerhardt
Sherry Grooms
Jacquelin Liggins
Jane Leserman Madison
Alice Dodds May

Holly Gunning, Co-Chair
Marya McNeish
Cathy Meerbergen
Mary Moore
Laura Morrison
Moreton Neal
Ilyasah N Shabazz
Lynne Albert, Chapel Hill
Mary Ann Anderson, Chapel Hill
Katherine Armacost, Chapel Hill
Judy Bauman, Chapel Hill
Vidabeth Bensen, Pittsboro
Lois Bronstein, Durham
Becky Campion
Catherine Carter, Chapel Hill
Nell Chandler, Hillsborough
Connie Cohn, Carrboro
Debbie Cox, Durham
Esther Cruz, Durham
Kathleen Dautel, Raleigh
Bunie Deyo, Cary
Nancy Diciolla, Whitsett
Veronica Duncan
Carmen Elliot, Chapel Hill
Kristin Esterley, Chapel Hill
Serena Fenton, Chapel Hill
Jane Filer, Chapel Hill
Susan Filley, Chapel Hill
Karen Fisher, Chapel Hill
Aud Ackerman, Chapel Hill
BJ Fusaro
Peg Gignoux, Chapel Hill
Kathleen Gwinnett, Burlington
Tayitta Hadar, Chapel Hill
Martha Hamblin, Mebane
Betty Haskin, Chapel Hill
Erin Hathaway, Durham
Barbara Higgins, Carrboro
Ellen Stark Hill, Chapel Hill
Ame Hughes, Burlington
Susie Huser, Hillsborough
Jennifer James
Sally Kahler, Chapel Hill
Fay Kalman, Chapel Hill
Bernice Koff, Chapel Hill
Keysha Koy
Marcy Lansman, Chapel Hill
Cinnamon Larson, Chapel Hill
Jean LeCluyse, Chapel Hill
Emily Lees, Chapel Hill
Jane Leserman Madison, Durham
Jacquelin Liggins, Mebane
Marcy Little, Durham
Jo Lovorn, Hillsborough
Alice Dodds May, Chapel Hill
Pat Merriman, Chapel Hill
Sandy Milroy, Chapel Hill
Sharmin Mirman, Carrboro
Alice Moore, Hillsborough
Mary Rountree Moore, Chapel Hill
Margret Mueller, Mebane
Joan Nesbitt Mabe, Carrboro
Shannon O’Connor, Chapel Hill
Jenifer Padilla, Pittsboro
Charlotte Pamplin
Kaola Phoenix, Chapel Hill
Sally Pillsbury, Hillsborough
Bepi Pinner, Durham
Elizabeth Cate Pringle, Chapel Hill
Della Quinn-Carter, Hampstead
Sudie Rakusin, Hillsborough
Marjorie S. Rawson, Chelsea
Carol Retsch-Bogart, Chapel Hill
Ebeth Scott-Sinclair, Chapel Hill
Promila Sen, Chapel Hill
Karen Smith
Nancy Smith, Carrboro
Andrea Snyder, Pittsboro
Leigh Stailen, Chapel Hill
Dr. Jane Steelman, Wake Forest
Jeanette Stokes
Valerie Tan, Chapel Hill
Fay Terry, Pinehurst
Donna Thome, Raleigh
Kathy Tice Phillips, Greensboro
Betsy Vaden, Chapel Hill
Nan Van Der Puy, Chapel Hill
Kathy A. Veverka, Florence
Rose Warner, Chapel Hill
Emily Weinstein, Chapel Hill
Monnda Welch, Pittsboro
Kim Werfel, Pittsboro
Jewel Wheeler
Ruth Winchester Ware, Durham
Anita Wolfenden, Chapel Hill

Domestic Violence and Homelessness

Domestic Violence and Homelessness

The Orange County Partnership to End Homelessness participates in a statewide count of homeless individuals every January during the annual A Point in Time event.  During this count, agencies that work with the homeless population go out into the community and look within their own agencies to assess the number of people without a place to stay for the night.  This year Compass Center for Women and Families will be participating in the count.

As an agency offering domestic violence crisis services, Compass Center sees a variety of issues that come as a result of abuse including emotional distress, financial difficulty, and physical injury. During this time of year when the A Point in Time count occurs, we are reminded of one of the most pressing issues for some of our clients — homelessness.

When a victim of domestic violence manages to escape an abusive situation, it is often without the financial or social means to thrive on their own.  As part of the cycle of abuse, abusers often isolate their victim from friends and family, decide whether or not they can work, and control the finances.  Under these circumstances, a victim of abuse has few choices of where to go when leaving an abuser and is often forced into a state of homelessness to avoid returning to the abuser.

Women who leave an abuser without a stable place to go are also more likely to end up back with the abuser to avoid homelessness or end up in another abusive relationship because of their vulnerable state.  The National Coalition for the Homeless reports that 63% of homeless women have been victims of domestic abuse.  This number reflects how much domestic violence influences the lives of the homeless female population.

We must recognize the huge impact homelessness has on our community.  To do this we must look at the causes of homelessness and try and work towards change at the root of the problem. Whether that means preventing domestic violence, helping to treat those with persistent mental illness, or connecting clients to financial resources, Compass Center is a part of that effort in Orange County to help end the cycle of homelessness.

Gender-based Violence: A Global “Silent” Epidemic

Gender-based Violence: A Global “Silent” Epidemic

1 in 3 women globally in 2010 experienced violence at the hands of an intimate partner. In 20 of 24 countries, most women tell no one they experienced violence. On average, only seven percent of women who experienced violence ever reported it to a formal source.

Early last month, The Daily Beast covered an alarming study on global gender-based violence. In this study assisted by Amber Peterman, of University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Jennifer Bleck, lead researcher Tia Palermo reveals the silence and obscurity of gender-based violence. Around the world, gender-based violence is being overlooked, as victims fear coming forward, along with numerous systems that fail to protect women. Gender-based violence is any act of physical, sexual, psychological or economic harm or suffering, whether occurring in public or in private, based on one’s gender.

“Women don’t trust the formal sector,” said Ravi Verma, director of the Asia Regional Office in New Delhi of the D.C.-based International Center for Research on Women. “The police system is deeply entrenched into the same notions of patriarchy and gender inequitable perspectives and women don’t feel comfortable that they will be heard or their report will be taken in the right spirit.”

Instead, women are more likely to turn to friends and family. Women have found that formal institutions don’t work in low-income or underdeveloped areas; therefore, they seek help from those they can trust.

Among the top reasons for women not reporting abuse were embarrassment, fear, a belief that disclosure was pointless, and the notion that women must endure violence because it is a normal part of life.

Compass Center for Women and Families offers domestic violence crisis services, including support groups and a 24-hour crisis hotline: 919-929-7122. If you or someone you know may be experiencing abuse, we are here to listen and lend support.

For more information on this report, click here for The Daily Beast’s article.

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