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Help SAFE So They Can Help Survivors Of Violence

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I would like to introduce you to three (3) incredible and inspiring people. There are many things that unite these wonderful women, however the one big commonality they share is the three (3) of them are survivors. They have each had to find their own way along their journey to get to the positive place they are now. Along their journeys they found the strength and courage to not only speak up about gender-based violence, but to advocate for and support other survivors. Together, they have incorporated SAFE-Survivor Advocates For Empowerment.

By survivors, for survivors
Supporting survivors of gender-based violence through recovery and beyond.

SAFE's mission is to address and prevent specific barriers faced by victims and survivors of gender-based violence, their families, and their friends by providing:

1. Peer support, discussion groups, outreach programs, and workshops catered to the specific needs of survivors, as identified by survivors.

2. Educational programs to and consulting with community organizations about gender-based violence from the perspective of survivors with lived experience.

Pictured Left to Right:
Abarna Nathan, Olivia Cifarelli, Lorraine Rollo

Speaking up is an act of empowerment, bolstering self-esteem and resilience, and enhancing lives while striving to transform the lives of others. SAFE is dedicated to working collaboratively with other agencies to influence policies, educate the community and empower other survivors, their loved ones, and those still in crisis.

SAFE's mission is to address and prevent specific barriers faced by survivors of gender-based violence, their families, and their friends by drawing on the lived experiences of our members to:

  • Provide peer support, facilitate discussion groups, and create workshops and outreach programs catered to the specific needs of survivors, as identified by survivors.

  • Provide educational programs to and consult with community organizations and local leaders about gender-based violence.

The objectives of this fundraising campaign are 3-fold:

1) To operationalize the organization; more specifically, to help get SAFE established and registered as a charitable organization so SAFE can continue their mission of:
  • Community engagement through peer support
  • Community referrals
  • Outreach programs and workshops
  • Raising awareness through educational public speaking
  • Consultation with local organizations and governments
  • Active participation in community events
  • Monitoring community needs

All of this is being done with the aim of supporting those in crisis as well as those coming out of crisis.

2) To support the SAFE Committee; a small group of survivors providing peer support and resources for victims, family members and loved ones of gender-based violence.

In essence, the SAFE Committee is the heart and soul of the organization. They are the individuals using their lived experience to advocate for and support survivors in the community.

Currently, the SAFE Committee consists of five (5) members:
Abarna Nathan, Co-Chair
Lorraine Rollo, Co-Chair
Olivia Cifarelli, Vice-Chair
Kai Ruhl, Member
Vasu B, Member

3) To operationalize SAFE's primary program entitled “Recovery & Beyond”. This program was created by the SAFE Committee to help individuals in crisis, or recently out of crisis, to identify abusive behaviours, explore emotions, and plan towards long-term healing.

Importantly, this is a program created by survivors, for survivors. The underlying idea is to use the lived experiences of survivors who have long been out of crisis, and are uniquely situated to provide survivor-centric guidance.

Thank you again for your generosity and allyship.

Oliva, Abarna and Lorraine are pictured here on the beach in Burlington on November 26, 2023. They were hosts of "Revive & Thrive"; an Indigenous Healing Circle they spearheaded in honour of Women Abuse Prevention Month in November.

* * *

As an integral member of SAFE - Survivor Advocates for Empowerment, Olivia powerfully shares her partial experience as a victim of domestic violence. As a survivor, Olivia's bravery, courage and voice is paramount to SAFE's mission and advocacy efforts.

Click on link here to read more on how communities in Ontario are declaring Intimate Partner Violence Is An Epidemic

Click here to learn more about Survivor Advocates!


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Deborah Lawson
Burlington, ON

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