This year we are expanding our services to men and the transgender community through the ASK Project ((After Shelter Kare). ASK will provide services and resources that will hopefully prevent victims from returning to an abusive situation once they leave..
PITTSBURGH, Pa. (PRWEB) January 11, 2023
Roxanne Elizabeth Epperson, founder of Women Against Abusive Relationships (WAAR), knows the patterns of abuse which started when she was a child.
At age 7, a babysitter forced Roxanne to suckle her breast.
At age 13, she was raped three times by her 19-year-old boyfriend, a heroin user.
At age 16, an older family friend raped her.
At age 18, a jitney driver drove her to the dark woods, parked, and forced her to fondle him.
It's not surprising that Roxanne, like many other victims of abuse, didn't feel good about herself. "I hated my body and nose for various reasons stemming from negative external messengers. My mother told me my nose was too broad. An ex-boyfriend told me I shouldn't wear my hair short because my nose was too big. I felt he confirmed what my mother had said." Roxanne continues: "I thought I was in love, yet it was not love because he hurt me, and love should not hurt. One night he spat in my face, dragged me down the hallway, punched, and strangled me. I began a new life by almost losing my life," Roxanne concludes.
Roxanne's new life began by saying no more to abuse and changing the lives of victims with similar stories when she launched WAAR in 1999. The organization helps women and girls to heal from abuse by taking a journey inward, discovering their authentic selves, and loving themselves. "We create products and services that encourage self-love and have support groups, a podcast, and a guide that help our clients to know how to leave unhealthy relationships. We are in schools, churches, community centers, and other safe locations. In 2001 we started offering workshops and conferences for women, teens, and service providers throughout Allegheny County. In 2004, we launched a partnership with UPMC Magee-Women's Hospital where our Healing Space initiative was born," Roxanne says. "This year we are expanding our services to men and the transgender community through the ASK Project ((After Shelter Kare)." This latest initiative is Roxanne's response to learning more about others affected by domestic violence. ASK will provide services and resources that will hopefully prevent victims from returning to an abusive situation once they leave the shelter.
"If you love yourself, you minimize your chances of being in an unhealthy relationship," Roxanne offers. She also reflects on domestic violence and how it, as a public health crisis, leads women to depression and suicidal thoughts. In addition, only 34% of people injured by partners receive medical care. In recognition of her work, last year Roxanne received a Survivor of the Year Award presented by Theresa's Fund. The fund is an Arizona-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit charity that focuses on changing the landscape of domestic violence services. Though grateful for the recognition, Roxanne feels everyone in the domestic violence movement is a hero. "I am thankful for the honor, yet much work remains. I am on a personal and professional mission to help one million women and girls to heal after experiencing domestic or sexual violence trauma. I pray for the day that women and girls are no longer beaten, raped, and disrespected. As we begin serving men and transgender populations through ASK, we will advocate as strongly for them as well," Roxanne concludes.
To learn more about WAAR, visit their website at https://waarheals.org/. You can also contact Roxanne at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-723-2320.