We Listen With Our Eyes And Our Hearts.
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Deaf Women of Iowa Against Abuse provides services to Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and Deaf-Blind people and their families who experience domestic violence or sexual
History of DWIAA
“Everything can change, but not the language that we carry inside us, like a world more exclusive and final than one’s mother womb.”
It surprises many that Deaf people do not, in fact, consider themselves a community defined by a handicap; rather, they consider themselves a cultural minority. One of the hallmarks of any culture is a unique language, and Deaf culture is no exception. Deaf, Deaf-Blind, and Hard of Hearing people communicate in American Sign Language (ASL). When members of these groups are victimized by domestic or sexual violence, they do not have access to the support and services they need because service providers often know little about Deaf culture and are unable to communicate via ASL.
Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and Deaf-Blind victims need peer advocates with the same linguistic and cultural background. Without the free flow of ideas, concepts, and genuine understanding, individuals will remain victims and will continue to be isolated.
Deaf Women of Iowa Against Abuse has been established to combat these issues. Our belief is that every victim deserves accessible, appropriate services, immediately. This is our goal: to provide the same or higher levels of service to the Deaf, Deaf-Blind, and Hard of Hearing victims as is provided to the mainstream population.
Deaf Women of Iowa Against Abuse (DWIAA) was formed as Iowa Deaf Women’s Advocacy Services in the Heartland (IDWASH) by four Deaf women in 1999. This group was one of fifteen from around the country chosen to attend a national training funded by the Department of Justice and given by Abused Deaf Women’s Advocacy Services (ADWAS) in Seattle, WA. ADWAS is internationally recognized as being the pioneer agency for providing services to Deaf, Deaf-Blind, and Hard of Hearing victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. The training had two goals: to train the participants to be advocates for Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and Deaf-Blind victims, and to teach them the basics of establishing an agency in their local area.
After attending this national training, these four women returned to Iowa,
rolled up their sleeves, and began.
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