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Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Black survivors of domestic violence deserve to feel seen, heard and supported

Alana C. Brown headshot

People of all races and ethnicities experience interpersonal violence, but communities of color are disproportionately devastated by domestic violence involving a firearm. Black women are three times more likely to be fatally shot by an intimate partner compared to white women.

Even though women of color experience domestic violence at much higher rates, protective services that reduce the risk of lethal violence usually aren’t designed with us in mind, and can be difficult to access.

In 2018, I started The Safe Sisters Circle to serve Black survivors of gender-based violence in my Washington, D.C. community—where gun violence and interpersonal violence are deeply intertwined.

In D.C., the gender-based violence landscape was made up of mostly white women providers providing services for a majority Black women survivor group. From what I viewed, many survivors’ interactions and support lacked cultural context, which resulted in them not receiving the support they needed.

When I founded Safe Sisters Circle, I wanted to create an organization that would provide culturally-specific services that were trauma-informed and took into account Black women’s lived experiences, including my own.

As a former attorney with years of varied domestic violence and sexual assault field experience, I began our organization providing direct legal service to our clients. Now, as the executive director, I help manage a team of attorneys—all Black women—who provide free legal services to survivors primarily living in D.C. Wards 7 and 8.

The most rewarding moments of my work have undoubtedly been interacting with clients, and witnessing their resiliency and love for their families firsthand. When I hear their sighs of relief, or that they felt seen or heard for the first time within the system—hat’s what makes this difficult work worth it.

If you’re interested in learning more or donating to The Safe Sisters Circle, please visit us at Survivors needing immediate legal representation or advice can contact us directly at [email protected].

Learn More About The Safe Sisters Circle

The Safe Sisters Circle provides free culturally specific, holistic, and trauma-based services to Black women survivors of domestic violence and/or sexual assault primarily living in Washington, D.C.’s Wards 7 and 8.

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