At Serene Harbor we utilize the Empowerment Model when working with our survivors. It is a core part of our mission and influences our daily interactions with survivors and the community at large. Our ultimate goal for domestic violence survivors is self-sufficiency, and we believe it is our job as the experts in the field to put them in the position to achieve this goal. So, what is the Empowerment Model? Let’s talk about it!
What is the Empowerment Model?
The Empowerment Model is all about equipping survivors with the tools that they need to regain the power and control that their abusers have taken from them. The reasons that abusers become abusers may differ but their core motivation is always the same — to take that power and control away from their victims. This is why we choose to empower survivors to regain that sense of control over their life, and help them explore how their experiences don’t define them. This looks different for each survivor depending on their particular needs and struggles, but it is always about empowerment at the end of the day. By regaining control over their lives, they are better able to reach the ultimate goal of self-sufficiency. The Empowerment Model also challenges personal and societal belief systems that challenge the safety and self-sufficiency of others. In our field, the oppressed group is domestic violence survivors, victims, their children, and their family and friends. Oppressive patterns that are challenging the empowerment of our survivors is something that we take very seriously in both our prevention and intervention work.
What does that look like tangibly?
You can see the Empowerment Model in everything that we do, both when we are working directly with the survivors and behind the scenes. We have several intervention programs that are used specifically to empower survivors and their children to reach self-sufficiency that perfectly reflect the Empowerment Model. For example, we have both education and career programs in place. Our education programs enable survivors to get their GED and/or full college degree, depending on where they are in their educational journey, without any charge to them – this includes tuition, books, lab fees, and any other costs to the student. This program also assigns a one-on-one mentor to each student to guide through the entire program and assist them with whatever needs they may have. We also have a career building program where we take survivors through mock job interviews, resume building, help them through job applications, and even dress them head to toe in business attire so that they can go in feeling confident and secure. All of our certified staff members are also trained in depth on the Empowerment Model including monthly Continuing Education (CE) credits to ensure that we continue to provide the services aligned with our values as an agency.
Empowerment is at the core of all our services, all of our staff trainings, all of our survivor interactions, and truly everything that we do. We believe in taking the power and control that the abuser stripped from them, and giving it right back to that survivor and their family. Often times, survivors are coming to us severely broken and feeling like they have no power over their situation at all. That is where we come in to remind them of the internal power that they hold, and to give them the tools to succeed in their future.