Let me introduce myself. My name is Caitlin D’Aprano and I am the CEO & Founder of Willpowered Woman. I am a lifetime survivor of Abuse. When I left my husband due to his violence, I decided to commit my life to empowering young women.
The thing with toxic people is that you can’t control what they do, you can only control how you respond to it.
I settled with my ex-husband in September 2015. We still haven’t signed the divorce papers. Well – that’s not exactly true – I signed them 10 weeks ago and apparently enroute to his address, they didn’t get delivered.
Yeah right – I don’t believe it for one second. This is probably just another ploy to control me. I had a good cry last night, but today I picked myself up and instead of worrying about it, I found a few fun events to go to this weekend! Nothing like being proactive to pull yourself out of a situation you don’t want to be in.
I have discovered through this very difficult situation of mine, that this is what empowerment is all about. Turning a shit situation in to an opportunity.
So, until next time – remember – the power is always yours, you have the power to make choices that make you feel empowered.
Willpowered Woman focuses on empowering women. We educate at high schools, universities and businesses to prevent intimate partner abuse and support women who have been affected in the San Francisco Bay Area. Young women learn to find their voice, healing, strength, autonomy and self-esteem to make lasting changes in their lives.
Young women are the most underserved community in the realm of intimate partner abuse, yet this demographic experiences the highest rates of intimate partner abuse. There are very few long-term housing options for these women when trying to escape the abuse. These women need housing and resources because 98% of Domestic Abuse cases involve the partner controlling finances, so the woman cannot leave.
What happens if we don’t help women without children?
Reproductive coercion is a huge issue in abusive relationships. The abusive man purposely jeopardizes birth control methods, uses force, rape and emotional manipulation to get a woman pregnant.
According to The Expert Review of Obstetrics & Gynecology in a 2010 study, 25% of women in an abusive relationship reported that pregnancy occurred due to reproductive coercion.
Willpowered Woman aims to provide resources for women without children, before they are forced to have a child with their abusive partner.
As reported by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), Women Describing their Experience of Reproductive Coercion:
“He was like: ‘I should just get you pregnant and have a baby with you so that I know I will be in your life forever’”
“I was on the birth control, and I was still taking it, and he ended up getting mad and flushing it down the toilet, so I ended up getting pregnant.”
The abusive man knows that when a woman is pregnant or has a child, he will be able to exert more control in the relationship, because the woman feels more vulnerable having to consider the welfare of her child and finds it more difficult to leave. The abusive man often uses the child as a pawn in order to coerce and scare the woman.
Having a child with an abusive man ties the woman to him for life. If the woman ends up leaving the relationship, the abusive partner often drags the woman through court with constant custody battles, false accusations, unnecessary psych evaluations, which often causes financial hardship to the woman or worse so, the woman is unable to obtain a skilled attorney in dealing with these very tricky and manipulative situations, which then results in loss of custody rights. The court system is predominantly a patriarchal system that works against women.
We at Willpowered Woman speak directly of these scenarios, as we have seen them first hand.
We believe that investing in our young women to let them have the best possible chance of leading a prosperous life with many opportunities, is the way to break the cycle of abuse for future generations. We aim to help young women foster and grow into empowered, confident women. We educate them to develop the ability to have an authentic reciprocal relationship with good communication skills, an ability to set boundaries and how to have a healthy intimate relationship, where they know that they deserve to be respected, loved and treated well.
Through our programs, we plan to help women find their potential with an emphasis on women’s empowerment, education and social entrepreneurship.