RIGHTS TO PROTECTION:
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tions,” Kostoff says, “and we promote understanding in various immigrant communities about the rights to protection that all women have, regardless of their immigration status: documented, undocumented, citizens, non-citizens. It’s not our role to tell women what to do. We feel it’s definitely important to let women know, in their own language in a way that’s culturally acceptable for them, what they can do and what their various options are.” The group’s latest public awareness campaign, “Tienes Derechos y Protección” (translation: “You have rights to protection”) is designed to help Hispanic women learn about their rights, the signs of an unhealthy relationship and how to get help. It’s an educational campaign that includes print ads, radio spots and brochures in Spanish to develop awareness within the immigrant community and beyond.
“It’s a pretty intensive campaign with Hispanic women to raise awareness about what domestic violence is,” Kostoff says.
“We’re not necessarily gearing this toward victims, women who have survived domestic violence. It’s our attempt to saturate the community with the fact that you have rights. That’s not something everybody knows, especially women who face other barriers — language barriers, immigration status.
“I don’t think a lot of (immigrant) women know they can get a protection order. There’s a piece of legislation called the Violence Against Women Act; there’s a good chance women, regardless of their status, can be protected under that because of being a victim.”
Founded in 2001, the Alliance for Immigrant Women has been around long enough to back up the education effort with constructive follow-through. Safety plans available in multiple languages help women escaping abuse protect themselves and their families. A network of mental health professionals offer services in a variety of languages: Arabic, Bengali, Croatian, French, German, Gujrati, Hebrew, Hindi, Italian, French, Japanese, Lithuanian, Punjabi, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Sign Language are just a few. The posters and brochures developed for this campaign will be available throughout the city via service providers, health clinics, churches and eventually employers who have a large number of Hispanic employees.
“We list signs of a healthy relationship,” Kostoff says. “We have a red flag section, ‘This is what you should look for,’ and a green flag section, ‘This is what’s positive in a relationship.’ This is detailed more in the brochure.
“The outcome is we want to make sure that women are aware … that they have rights and this (is) information they can share and pass on. This is something we hope will empower women to find out what their options are, to help their friends or call the hotlines and get help. Sometimes there are women who need drastic help and sometimes they just need to know they have an option to help their family.”
For more information on the ALLIANCE FOR IMMIGRANT WOMEN, call the YWCA at 513-241-7090 or visit www.ywca.org/ cincinnati/abaiw.