• Powered by Tri-Valley Haven

  • Meet Our Bloggers


    Carolyn - Advocacy & Communications Specialist


    Jessie - Sexual Assault Advocate

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!

Tri-Valley Haven’s Highlights of 2014

Without your generosity, we could not continue to provide vital shelter and support services to women, children and families in need throughout the Tri-Valley area. Every successful program and event at Tri-Valley Haven is made possible thanks to our local community. We are so very grateful for your support.

Before we jump into the New Year, let’s look at some highlights of 2014!

  • 2,600+ calls received on Tri-Valley Haven’s crisis line! That’s almost 10 calls every day, from women, children and families in need.
  • 267 clients served at our Domestic Violence Shelter! With 30 beds, Tri-Valley Haven’s Shiloh Domestic Violence Shelter houses and supports women and their children who are survivors of domestic violence.
  • 245 clients served through our Rape Crisis Center! Survivors of sexual assault receive advocacy and crisis counseling from state-certified advocates through our Rape Crisis Center.
  • 96 clients served at our Homeless Shelter! Sojourner House is the only homeless shelter in the Tri-Valley Area that accepts two-parent families, single fathers with children, and families with teenage boys.
  • 249 clients received counseling at Tri-Valley Haven! Tri-Valley Haven offers counseling and support group services to empower and support survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.
  • Almost 30,000 visits to our Food Pantry! Each month, the Tri-Valley Haven Food Pantry distributes free groceries to more than 4,000 low-income Tri-Valley residents.
  • 70+ volunteers trained during this year! No only did we train over 30 new volunteers as crisis line and sexual assault advocates, we also trained volunteers for our food pantry, thrift store and childcare services.
  • 40+ incarcerated survivors served by our Rape Crisis Center! Now incarcerated survivors at Santa Rita Jail and FCI-Dublin are able to contact our 24-hour toll-free crisis line and request advocacy services through our agency.
  • 150+ walkers/runners participated in our annual Pace for Pace event! In the past, Pace for Peace has been a smaller event (averaging about 30 participants a year), so we were floored when over 150 participants signed up to show their support for Tri-Valley Haven.
  • $2,000 raised for Tri-Valley Haven during #GivingTuesday! On December 2nd, our Tri-Valley community joined the new tradition of generosity after Thanksgiving and Black Friday. This was TVH’s first year participating and we received $2,000 in donations!
  • 4,036 individual family members signed up for our annual Holiday Program! With your support, we were able to provide food and gifts to over 900 local families in need this holiday season. Our Tri-Valley community went above and beyond this holiday season.
  • 1 incredibly moving experience at a middle school!  After one of our presentations on healthy relationships and bullying prevention at a local middle school in Livermore, a 12-year-old told our staff that no one had ever talked to them about ways to stay safe and prevent bullying. To thank TVH, the student gave the Preventionist .30¢ as a “a tip.”

With your help, we’ll raise funds to bring hope, healing and safety for women, children and families recovering from domestic violence, sexual assault and homelessness in 2015.

Make your 2014 tax-deductible donation by midnight to help Tri-Valley Haven to meet our fundraising goals this year, to enable our services to continue forward next year.

Together we can build a world without violence!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Art for Healing – All This Month at the Livermore Public Library

My Two Roads

My Two Roads – Acrylic on Cold Press Watercolor Paper

There are times in all our lives, where we reach a turning point. 

These turning points can come in moment of great joy, but often they come at darker times – times of stress, confusion, pain or grief.  The women who come to our domestic violence shelter are all facing uncertainties and fears, and the memories of past trauma.  During these times, talking about experiences, hopes and dreams can be healing.  But sometimes, speaking the words can be stressful in and of itself.

What do you do, when words are not enough?  Or too much?AWBW quotations

Tri-Valley Haven has an Art for Healing program at our domestic violence shelter.  Every Wednesday evening, the women in residence gather together for an hour of art, music, and healing.  The projects we do can vary from classical art techniques like watercolor, to mixed media like collage, and to the more light-hearted like using Shrinky Dinks (did you do those as a child?), beads, clay and other creative outlets.

During the whole month of December, over 80 pieces of artwork created in this program are on display at the Livermore Public Library, at 1188 South Livermore Avenue, just off the cafe.  If you are in the area, we urge you to take the time to drop by and see these in person (and I can assure you that the coffee at the cafe is really good – we had some while we were setting up!).  In addition to the artwork, there is more information about our programs and about the art projects themselves.  I think you will be moved by what you see.

If you live farther away, I want to share with you a few pieces of work from the exhibit, and also to share with you some quotes by women who participated in our program.

If you would like to help support this program, donations of new art supplies are greatly appreciated and very useful.  Please call (925) 449-5845 if you’d be interested in helping to keep the program going.  You would be changing lives for the better.

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

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

A New Life - Body Paint

A New Life – Body Paint

A Candle Against the Dark - Oil Pastel on Cold Press Paper

A Candle Against the Dark – Oil Pastel on Cold Press Paper

The Tree of my Grandchildren - Watercolor on Cold Press

The Tree of my Grandchildren – Watercolor on Cold Press

Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul. - Inside/Outside mask, mixed media

Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul. – Inside/Outside mask, mixed media

Art For Healing

In our lives, there are many "stepping stones" - events or hopes that lead us from one stage to another.  In this workshop, we asked the women to create a stepping stone symbolizing something they wanted to step away from, and a stepping stone embodying something they wanted to move toward.  These beautiful creations are the result.

In our lives, there are many “stepping stones” – events or hopes that lead us from one stage to another. In this workshop, we asked the women to create a stepping stone symbolizing something they wanted to step away from, and a stepping stone embodying something they wanted to move toward. These beautiful creations are the result.

Recently, I have begun leading a support group* at Shiloh, our DoTransfomationmestic Violence Shelter, that concentrates completely on using art as a means for our residents to explore emotions, experiences, fears and hopes in a way that is safe, creative, and expressive.  Art workshops provide a unique way to assist survivors of domestic violence in healing from the trauma of abuse, finding their voice, and building the courage to make healthy decisions for their future. For victims of domestic violence, art workshops provide a special window of support to share the complexity of their emotions, discover that they are not alone, and are not to blame for the violence. The art also helps survivors build healthy ways to handle anger and communicate non-violently.

What are your needs?  Do you need fresh air?  Relaxation?  A good book?  What are the things that make you whole?

What are your needs? Do you need fresh air? Relaxation? A good book? What are the things that make you whole?

At first, I wondered if the workshops would be well-received. Would a group of adult women really want to get together and play with colored pencils, paints, sequins, or construction paper? Would it really do that much good compared to the more “serious” groups like our domestic violence support group, or life skills? The group was set up as completely voluntary—you do not have to attend it as part of working the program at our shelter. Since it wasn’t mandatory… would anybody come? I had an image of me sitting alone in the conference room with a heap of supplies and a quietly ticking clock on the wall.

 
As it turns out, I shouldn’t have worried. The groups are really popular—when it comes right down to it, art can be an amazing way to build community, and safety, and even restore a sense of fun that the women who stay with us might not have felt for many years. And the results are beautiful.

* The training I received for this support group came through A Window Between Worlds, which provides training for domestic violence programs so that they can institute therapeutic art groups for women or children in their shelters.

Hands can carry a lot of meanings - especially for survivors of abuse.  Hands can be used to hurt.  But hands also can be used to hug a child, build a bookshelf, create a painting, reach for a flower, hold another's hand in trust.  Part of this workshop, which involves painting one's own hand, is the reclaiming of the hand as something positive.  Our hands are how we reach out into the world and change it - and ourselves - for the better.  What we 'can' do is reflected in our hands.  That is why we ask our participants to express their "I Can" on their own hands.

Hands can carry a lot of meanings – especially for survivors of abuse. Hands can be used to hurt. But hands also can be used to hug a child, build a bookshelf, create a painting, reach for a flower, hold another’s hand in trust. Part of this workshop, which involves painting one’s own hand, is the reclaiming of the hand as something positive. Our hands are how we reach out into the world and change it – and ourselves – for the better. What we ‘can’ do is reflected in our hands. That is why we ask our participants to express their “I Can” on their own hands.

To My Fellow Survivors

Your Story MattersThe following letter, To My Fellow Survivors, was written by an amazing survivor who recently participated in a support group at Tri-Valley Haven. We are so grateful she has given us permission to publish this:

My rape happened over ten years ago and for ten years, I thought I was fine. I told myself to suck it up, that it was not as bad as some other stories that I had heard, that I was being selfish and to not let it affect me, that I deserved it because I was not good enough.  These thoughts replayed in my mind over and over again.  They became deep-rooted in my soul.  I went through these ten years making bad choice after bad choice—from an eating disorder to self-injury, promiscuity, stealing, lying, anger, and depression, you name it.  I thought there was something wrong with me as to why I could just not be happy.  Why was I making these unhealthy choices?  I knew that I had all this anger built up inside me, but I thought that I had dealt with this part of my past, so when my therapist mentioned that she wanted me to go to a support group, I was very hesitant to say the least.  I was willing to try anything, though, because I was at my breaking point.  I made the call.  I thought, even if I do not like it, I can get out of work early on Fridays.

               I was really nervous my first class.  I did not want to talk to these people that I had never met about something so personal; plus, I do not trust anyone.  The more you let people in, the more they can use that against you.  I had learned this too many times.  I went week after week, did my homework and opened up as much as I could.  We then received an assignment to create a collage of how we felt at the time of the rape, and how we wanted to feel as a survivor.  I was not a fan of this.  I felt it was stupid, childish, and a waste of my time, but I was going to do it and prove myself right.

I clipped out a pile of sayings in magazines that jumped out at me, not knowing which side I would put them on.  Once I completed that task, I just started to glue them on.  I felt nothing, no emotion, like this was just a school project for a grade.  After I was done, I looked at my board and was astonished.  My “bad side” truly represented that horrible night—the pain, the horror, the sadness and the depression—everything I felt then and at that moment ten years later.  It hit me.  Somehow, looking at those words that were lost within me made it actually real.  I finally felt something other than anger.  I felt sadness for the girl I was, the girl that I would never be again, the girl that lost a piece of herself that night.

I then turned the board over and looked at my “survivor side.”  I started crying.  Is this really what I am supposed to feel like as a woman, as a survivor?  Proud, Strong, Courageous.  Even if I could not be or feel all of the things I had glued on that board, the possibility of being a little free from this pain and darkness is what I wanted.  This was probably one of my first, “AH HA” moments.  I think after this project is when I started to open up a little more to the other women in the group.

Then the teacher told us that the next assignment was going to be writing our story.  “Um, WHAT?  Not going to happen.”  What could possibly come out of doing this?  I was very skeptical. I know what happened to me.  Why do I need to write it out?

Needless to say, I sucked it up and started writing.  As I wrote, I again felt nothing.  It was like I was writing someone else’s story.  This is stupid, I told myself.  I had gone through years, telling the same version of my story—the bare minimum with friends and family who were concerned.  Wasn’t that enough?  It wasn’t until I actually started writing details of what he did to me that I started to feel sadness and anger.  I finally sat there and realized fully what had happened, what he did, what he said, what he made me do.  I remembered things that I had forgotten about, things that I think my mind made me forget until I was ready to process them.  I did not think it would be ten years later, but I know now that I wasn’t ready then.

I then had to find a safe person to read this to.  That was the scariest part.  I had never confided in anyone about the gory details. I kept those parts locked away inside me for so long.  No one knew the shame I felt, the guilt I placed on myself for not fighting back, for freezing, for letting someone do this to me, but writing my story and reading it to my counselor proved something to me that day.  It proved that I said, “No” numerous times; it proved that I did what I had to do to Survive.  As hard as this was to swallow, it did give me a little bit of peace.  I was able to forgive myself.  It made me open up to the women in the group, to care about them.  It was amazing to actually be somewhere I could just be myself and know that I would not be judged, to actually be surrounded with people that knew the pain I felt.  I had felt alone for so long.

As this course is coming to an end, I am confused with how I feel. I am happy that I was allowed this time to really look inside me and face some of my demons, but I am saddened to part ways with these women that I feel truly understand me.  I still have a lot of work ahead of me.  Am I fully healed?  I do not think I will ever be, but understanding who I am makes it a little easier.

As you read this, I want you to know that this will be hard.  I will not sugar-coat this process.  Will you want to quit?  Probably, but some of the hardest things in life have the greatest reward, and growing as a person is one of those rewards.  Just remember, you are strong, you are courageous, you are worthy, you are loved, and YOU ARE A SURVIVOR!!!

%d bloggers like this: