by James Whitely -
SGN Staff Writer
Domestic violence. When most people hear these words, they tend to think of a husband and a wife. This is why relationship violence can often be overlooked in same-sex couples. Domestic violence can cause immense isolation, especially in Queer communities and the minority subdivisions that exist within it. The Asian and Pacific Islander Women and Family Safety Center's (APIWFSC) Queer Network Program is one of many organizations talking a stand against domestic violence on a multitude of levels.
According to its mission, the Queer Network Program at the API Safety Center "works to engage the API LGBTIQ community to address and prevent intimate partner violence. In order to do this, we work to build skills among allies and community members, raise the visibility of our community and concerns, and support survivors of violence."
Feelings of isolation after domestic violence can be intense in any situation and community, but in a community where human trafficking is still surprisingly prevalent - even here in America - APIWFSC saw it necessary to reach out to the Queer Asian and Pacific Islander community.
"We try to create more allies within the Asian and Pacific Islander Community," said April Nishimura, program coordinator of the Queer Network Program. "Violence, homophobia, and sexual assaults are still pervasive in API communities."
Emma Catague co-founded APIWFSC in 1993.That organization was created for obvious reasons. As former executive director, Lan Pham said, "Victims of domestic violence are our family, our friends, our neighbors & and so are their abusers. They are the people we live next door to, work with, entrust to teach our children, and who attend our church. They are people that we socialize with, like, and trust. Because this is an issue that affects all of us, the solution also remains with us."
Created because an entire population in Seattle was being underrepresented, APIWFSC quickly recognized that the Queer community within was still not getting the resources it needed.
With a history of highs and lows due to fundraising, the Queer Network Program has been revitalized under Nishimura, offering services like social spaces that are connected to both Queer and ethnic identity, reading groups, and anti-homophobia training for youth, community groups, and service providers. In recent years, the Queer Network Program supported plays that were written, directed, and performed by people of color who are Gay.
The Queer Network Program currently holds its signature event, a dim sum lunch, on the first Sunday of each month. To attend or volunteer, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
The mission of APIWFSC is to organize communities, educate, train, and provide technical assistance and comprehensive culturally relevant services on domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking to Asian and Pacific Islander community members, survivors, and their families.
For more information on APIWFSC, visit them online at www.apiwfsc.org or call (206) 467-9976
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