The first Women Healing Women meeting was held in the living room of the founder, Imani Evans, in December of 2004. It was abundantly clear from the support and turn out of subsequent meetings that we were filling a need for women. In April of 2005 we received an invitation from Unity Fellowship Church of Atlanta to hold our meetings at the church location. We delightfully accepted and have been partners with Unity since that time. We also hold meetings at the Little 5 Points Community Center and Charis Books and More, both in the Little Five Points community. We wholeheartedly believe in collaboration to reach our goal of eliminating violence against women and girls.
As a survivor herself the founder of Women Healing Women wanted to start an organization that truly empowers women. An organization that not only supports victims of violence, but really shows women that violence is an experience not an identity. We wanted to empower women to understand that even surviving is only part of the healing journey, and that thriving is the true destination. Dr. Maya Angelou says it best, “Surviving is necessary, but thriving is elegant.” We believe and practice this concept in the design and implementation of all programs and services. We further believe that violence is an attack of the mind, body, and soul. Therefore programs that seek to help women heal must address each area to be sustaining and authentic. This is the support we provide.
We offer monthly support groups, resources & referrals, community education, and one on one support. Our services are focused on women who are otherwise marginalized, such as women of color and same-gender loving women. Our ongoing programs include a monthly discussion group for long-term survivors of sexual assault, the Akoma Book Club for self-empowerment, and the Love Doesn’t Hurt program for women who have experienced domestic abuse. We also conduct various community discussions to educate individuals and families on the ways in which violence impacts us all. Most of us have experienced the affects of violence and no one is exempt.
According to the national statistics 1 in 3 women will be sexually assaulted in her lifetime. Young women age 20 to 24 also experience the highest rates of rape and sexual assault; and nearly 1 in 4 women in the United States reports experiencing violence by an intimate partner at some point in her life. Unfortunately we also know that the statistics don’t tell the whole story, because there are many women who have never reported abuse to anyone. Women Healing Women, Inc., wants women to know that they are not alone. We want them to know that we will hold the hope for recovery for them, until they can hold again for themselves. More importantly, we know that facts can change when we are brave enough to lift each other up in peace. It simply takes education, willingness and determination.
Imani speaks on these issues and, more importantly, the solutions across the east coast. She uses her creativity as a spoken word performer, dynamic speaker and longstanding activist to reach communities with a message of self-love and non-violence. She states, “We must understand the ways in which we have normalized violence in our culture and further understand that change will come with even small steps toward peace.” As a survivor herself, she is passionately driven by a dogmatic belief that women and girls deserve to live free of violence…without exception.