Meeting with Jajuan Archer, the founder of Women’s Own Worth-a multi-faceted service program for victims of domestic abuse, was a warming, humbling, and moving experience. You know those people that seem to have fallen gracefully from heaven? Jajuan is one of those.
Her remarkable story and outstanding efforts to bring refuge, support, and healing to victims of domestic abuse is one of courage and empathy. In 2011, Jajuan had to make the life-saving decision to shoot her ex-boyfriend when accosted at gun point for the second time, with her children and niece just feet away. This was only one instance in a series of disturbing events where her life was seriously at risk and vulnerable to the volatile nature and unpredictability of her ex.
After Jajuan saved her own life, a police officer suggested that she receive therapy after her traumatic experience. Jajuan remembers “At the time I thought that I was fine; I was just happy to be alive”. However, after going through any traumatizing event or set of events, one needs to work through it so that then later on-you can “put it up on a shelf and help other people”, Jajuan says. “The police officer prompted me to get help, so I did.” Jajuan thought, “I’m here for my daughter and I had to carry on”.
Jajuan went on to explain that part of the reason she was compelled to start W.O.W. was because of the lack of any easily accessible help for victims of domestic abuse. W.O.W. is not just a support group. “We bridge the gap”, says Jajuan. If you need to escape the state with a new set of tires, “We’ll pay for it”.
Navigating the legal system can sometimes deter people from getting help-W.O.W. helps with this by providing many services-including advocacy services and education and community outreach, amongst others. Women’s Own Worth partners with Riverstone Wellness Center, which provides nine therapists.
Aside from trauma therapy and counseling, some other unique services that are provided are yoga and art therapy. Sometimes a victim may need 6 months to a year to get back on their feet. Jajuan recalls that she was lucky enough to have the support of family and friends on top of her own resourcefulness. Her concern lied with the people who did not have family or friends nearby, or at all. “Then what would they do?”
“Come to us”, Jajuan says. There are shelters available that W.O.W. aids in redirecting to and no detail goes unnoticed-In cases where one could not pay a bill-they will help with that too. W.O.W. is not federally funded, so there is no red tape. One very important aspect of well-being that is sometimes overlooked is overall mental health. Physical abuse is an ugly reality, but mental and emotional abuse is just as real, just as ugly, and sometimes uglier.
Mental and emotional abuse oftentimes happens unknowingly -a poisonous “slow-drip”, and increasingly over a period of time, and can be detrimental to self-worth and well-being.
W.O.W. provides a mental health debriefing and individual, group and family therapy as well as referral services when needed. Beth White and Tiffany Horton Estes of Riverstone Wellness Center see W.O.W.’s clients. One especially effective and state of the art form of therapy provided is EMDR-Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, created by Shapiro in 1991.
EMDR aids in the accessing of the traumatic memory network, and re-associates memories and information-leading to new learning, elimination of emotional distress, and the development of cognitive insights. EMDR therapy uses a 3-pronged protocol:
This type of therapy was originally incorporated for people dealing with PTSD and PTSS, and is still today. Beth White and Tiffany Estes both have a history of work at the VA with PTSD, specifically.
Jajuan Archer well knows that “…you have to take care of your mental health before you can be an asset to yourself, to others, and to society. “That’s my passion-to help people help themselves”, she says.
Thanks to Jajuan, and to the people and groups that willingly dedicate their time and money to this cause-women and families who are victims of domestic abuse can now find the non-strenuous and supportive team of help that they need, and then some.
If you would like to help or if you need help: go to www.womensownworth.com
Getting this type of knowledge out there and available to people who need it-makes a world of difference.
The below guide is available for download at: https://higherlogicdownload.s3.amazonaws.com/ARKBAR/1a292642-40fe-477f-b013-f50e48c3c706/UploadedImages/YLS/Domestic%20Violence%20Handbook%20for%20Victims%20Final%20Revised%202.pdf
Help spread the word to anyone- you just never know.