• Powered by Tri-Valley Haven

  • Follow Us

  • Contributing Authors

Advocate Spotlight: Advocacy & Me

Gunjan is a Sexual Assault Advocate with Tri-Valley HavenGunjan volunteers as Sexual Assault Advocate at Tri-Valley Haven. As a volunteer, she meets with survivors of sexual assault to support them through the reporting process and provide them with resources.

Let me start by saying that working with survivors has been the most gratifying experience of my life. I have had quite a tough life myself and when I sought spiritual guidance, my Guru, my teacher, just told me one thing: Do selfless service – help somebody, anybody. And that’s when I found this amazing place called the “Tri-Valley Haven.”

After going through six months of rigorous training, I was still shaking on my first call at Highland Hospital in Oakland. I didn’t have a clue about my own course of action. I took a deep breath, went inside and every moment after that was just…. me being human. When I am with a survivor, their story becomes mine and their tears come rolling down my own eyes. But in return, my strength becomes their strength to come out of the trauma and take life with full stride, yet again.

Being an advocate has completely transformed me as a person. We all live sheltered lives and make our own small world, the focus of everything. As a sexual assault advocate, I stepped out of my shell and met some wonderful people, whom we refer to as “the survivors”. They are people like us, but life has put them in devastating situations and the least we can do is be there for them. Make them realize their own strength, which has been shadowed by some dark moments for a brief period in their lives.

I believe my job as an advocate is to be there for the Survivor unconditionally, help them revive their emotional strength, make them feel like they are in control and see them smile at the end of it all.

Sexual Assault Advocates must be at least 21 years old and complete a 65-hour training course at Tri-Valley Haven before volunteering. To learn about our advocacy services or other volunteer opportunities, visit our website www.trivalleyhaven.org

Put On Your Running Shoes – Tri-Valley Haven’s Pace For Peace is this Saturday!

Tri-Valley Haven's Pace For Peace is this weekend!Before the sun rises, Tri-Valley Haven’s dedicated staff and volunteers will arrive at our Community Building to set up for our annual Pace For Peace – 5K/10K Run/Walk on Saturday, October 3. We will arrange registration tables, put out coffee, mix Gatorade, set up the water tables and balloon arch and much more while we wait for over 200 runners and walkers to arrive.

Pace For Peace has been an annual event at Tri-Valley Haven for over a decade. Runners, walkers, and supporters gather to raise awareness about domestic violence, sexual assault, homelessness and hunger. It is truly inspiring to see so many people from our local community – and many people from other areas – come out to support Tri-Valley Haven.

Proceeds go directly Tri-Valley Haven’s life-saving services. Last year, we raised over $10,000 and this year we are hoping to raise even more!Saturday is your chance to win a brand new Apple Watch!

New this year we will have Chip Timing, Finisher Medals, Performance T-Shirts, a Spirited 5K Water Table, Great Raffle Prizes and more!  The Haven is also offering a special drawing for participants to win a brand new Apple Watch. Only 200 tickets will be available for a chance to win an Apple Watch –  42mm 7000 Series Space Grey with black sport band. Tickets will be available at packet pick-up on Thursday, so we are encouraging participants who are interested to register early online. If any tickets remain, we will have them on race day in case you missed out!

Join us on Saturday, October 3 for a beautiful 5K/10K run/walk through Livermore’s vineyards. The race starts and finishes at Tri-Valley Haven Community Building, 3663 Pacific Avenue, Livermore. The 10K starts at 8:00 am and the 5K starts at 8:05 am.

Tri-Valley Haven’s Pace For Peace has something for everyone, whether you are a serious runner or just out for a leisurely walk with friends and family supporting a good cause!  You can even bring your dog!

Interested in participating this year? Register online by clicking this link or register at the event on race-day (just remember to get there a early!). You can also fundraise online to support Tri-Valley Haven by clicking this link.

We hope to see you on Saturday!


Thank you, Kaiser!Thank you, Goza Gear!Thank you, A-1! Thank you, Betty Taylor! Thank you, Contreras Chiropractic! Thank you, EPIC Insurance!   Thank you, UNCLE Credit Union!  Thank you, Paramedics Plus! Thank you, Stop-N-Wash!Thank you, Page Mill Winery!Thank you, Road ID!  Thank you, Panama Red!Thank you, First Street Alehouse!

Together we build a world without violence!

Being Heard: Tri-Valley Haven’s Domestic Violence Support Group

A Source of Strength and Courage - Collage and mixed media.

A Source of Strength and Courage  – Collage and mixed media.

Have you or a loved one experienced domestic violence or dating abuse? Tri-Valley Haven hosts a support group on Friday afternoons in Pleasanton for survivors of domestic violence who have experienced emotional, physical, sexual and/or financial abuse, as well as controlling and unhealthy relationships.

Through the 8-week group, the group participants learn from each other’s experiences and grow in their independence and belief in their own abilities. They identify the various forms of abusive relationships and give examples of how they have experienced these situations. They learn that they are not “crazy” and that “abuse is not my fault.” These women learn about healthy boundaries, communication, coping skills and self-esteem. Mainly, they are given the freedom and space to voice their thoughts and opinions, free from judgment or blame, and to have their experiences validated by others who “get it”.

Many of the survivors express gratitude at having the time and space for people in similar situations to listen to them and to understand – sometimes for the first time in their lives. Feeling heard and understood, as well as empowered, are the powerful tools that these women offer to each other through this group. Tri-Valley Haven is pleased to give these women the space to enhance and heal each others’ lives.

Along with support groups, Tri-Valley Haven also offers individual and family counseling to survivors of domestic violence or sexual assault. If you would like to learn more or schedule an appointment, please call Tri-Valley Haven Community Building at (925) 449-5845.

P4PArtwork2014 WinnerLiz is a counselor at Tri-Valley Haven. She facilitates a weekly Domestic Violence Support Group. For more information about our support groups or individual counseling services, please call 925.449.5845 or visit www.trivalleyhaven.org

At The Haven: Support Groups 101

Support Group PhotoIf you are a survivor, you may have considered joining a support group to connect with other survivors and share your experiences. Tri-Valley Haven (TVH) offers support groups for survivors of domestic violence or sexual assault.

If you’ve never attended a support group before, here is some general information about what we offer!

What is a support group?
Support groups provide a safe space for survivors of domestic violence or sexual assault to share their experiences and connect with each other. Tri-Valley Haven’s support groups usually run 8 weeks and they are closed groups, meaning participants must sign up for the group in advance.

New participants are only accepted at the start of each support group. We do not accept for drop-ins.

What are the benefits of a support group?
Many survivors feel they are alone, so support groups give survivors an opportunity to connect with others who have also experienced domestic violence or sexual assault. Often survivors are relieved to have a safe, confidential space where they can talk about the abuse or assault.

Our support groups also aim to support survivors as they begin the healing process and give them tools to help them along the way. We also focus on helping participants to develop healthy coping skills and practice self-care.

Who facilitates a support group?
Our support groups are facilitated by therapists or crisis counselors who have received special training to work with survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault through Tri-Valley Haven.

How do I sign up for a support group at Tri-Valley Haven?
All participants must call Tri-Valley Haven and sign up in advance. After participants sign up, the facilitator will give participants more details about the group, including the location of group meetings.

Domestic Violence Support Group in Pleasanton
Start date: Friday, July 17, 2015 (1 – 2:30 pm)
Sign up: Call Liz at 925.449.5845 ext. 2718
Participants must call ahead. No drop-ins.

Sexual Assault Support Group in Livermore
Start date: Wednesday, July 22, 2015 (5:30 – 7 pm)
Sign up: Call Jessie at 925.449.5845 ext. 2727
Participants must call ahead. No drop-ins.

I am a loved one of a survivor. Can I attend a support group at Tri-Valley Haven?
Currently we only offer support groups for survivors of domestic violence or sexual assault. However both survivors and loved ones may receive individual counseling at Tri-Valley Haven.

Do you offer support groups for LGBTQ survivors?
Our support groups are open to LGBTQ survivors, though currently we do not offer separate support groups for only LGBTQ survivors. If there is enough interest, we may offer one in the future!

Do you offer support groups for men?
Currently we do not offer an all-men support group. We hope to offer specific groups for male survivors in the future. If you are a male survivor and would be interested in an all-men support group, please let our counseling department know!

How can I join a support group or find out more?
If you would like more information or are interested in one of our support groups, please visit our website www.trivalleyhaven.org or call:

Tri-Valley Haven Community Building: 925.449.5845
Domestic Violence Support Group: Liz @ 925.449.5845 ext. 2718
Sexual Assault Support Group: Jessie @ 925.449.5845 ext 2727

logoIf you or a loved one is survivor of domestic violence or sexual assault, Tri-Valley Haven can help. We offer individual counseling, support groups, advocacy, shelter services and a 24-hour crisis line at 800.884.8119. We are a nonprofit organization that relies on the availability of grants and the generosity of our donors to fund our life-saving programs.

To learn more about our live-saving services and how you can help us keep our doors open, visit www.trivalleyhaven.org!

Speaking with Survivors of Domestic Violence: “Have You Experienced Any Kind Of Sexual Assault?”

Stephanie for blog

A guest post by Stephanie, our Legal Services Advocate at Tri-Valley Haven

Stephanie is our Legal Services Advocate at Tri-Valley Haven. Twice a week, she runs our drop-in Restraining Order Clinic. Below Stephanie shares her experience with asking survivors of domestic violence if they’ve ever experienced sexual assault.

“Have you experienced any kind of sexual assault?”

It is one of many standard questions that we ask during the intake process at our Domestic Violence Restraining Order Clinic. I never know what the answer will be. Some women answer very clearly “no.” A few will answer clearly “yes.” Others may hesitate a bit before denying that sexual assault has anything to do with the domestic abuse that brought them into the clinic seeking protection. And yet as I talk to them and find out more about their story, it sometimes becomes clear that they have indeed been sexually assaulted at the hands of their intimate partner or spouse.

Rene* came in our clinic to seek a restraining order from her abusive husband. They had been married for many years but she was tired of the abuse and ready to end the marriage. Though she had initially answered “no” when I asked her if she had experienced sexual assault, it became clear as she told her story that indeed sexual assault had been a regular occurrence.

Marital or intimate partner rape is any unwanted intercourse or penetration obtained by force, threat of force, or when the spouse/partner is unable to consent. Rene, like many people, did not associate sexual assault with marriage, which is no surprise since historically sexual assault in marriage was not considered a crime. But today marital rape is a crime in all 50 states.

Still it can be hard for survivors in intimate relationships with an abuser to recognize when they have been victims of sexual assault. Rene is a perfect example.

Rene’s husband would often make sexual advances that she felt powerless to refuse because she knew that if she did, he would become violent as he had done many times in the past.  Thus she had sex with her husband even though she did not want to because she faced the threat of violent physical abuse if she didn’t. This kind of choice is no choice at all. Rene’s husband raped her, plain and simple.

Other examples of intimate partner rape include (but are not limited to):

  • Forcing sex with a spouse or partner who is asleep, intoxicated, drugged or unconscious
  • Sex when the spouse or partner feels or has been threatened with violence or harm if they refuse
  • Forcing sex by emotional manipulation, such as verbal abuse, threatening divorce, to harm or take the children, or to “get it from some else”
  • Any time the spouse or partner feels they have no other choice but to submit to sex. The absence of choice is quite simply the absence of consent.

Some may think that this type of sexual violence is not “as bad” as being raped by a stranger. But in fact, the trauma can be worse for victims because the abuse is likely to happen repeatedly. Many times survivors of domestic violence feel trapped in the relationship and face pressure from their community to persevere. Further aggravating the trauma that survivors feel is the profound sense of betrayal from someone they should be able to trust with their safety and well-being. Children from the relationship are also adversely affected by witnessing the abuse and its impact on their parent.

If you or someone you know is experiencing this kind of intimate partner violence, there is help available! Call our hotline at 1-800-884-8119 for crisis counseling, information and referrals. For more information about our bi-weekly Restraining Order Clinic, call (925) 449-5847 x 206.

*Names have been changed.

%d bloggers like this: