Culturally Relevant Responses for Latinx Victims/Survivors

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The Alliance continued its work to highlight the voices and needs of Latinx survivors of sexual violence by hosting two trainings, July 13-14. These trainings bolster our ongoing commitment to provide culturally-relevant and accessible services to survivors from all communities, with a particular focus on enhancing advocates’ capacity to serve survivors in Connecticut’s Latinx communities. This year, The Alliance was delighted to bring two trainers from Puerto Rico‘s sexual and domestic violence coalition La Coordinadora Paz para la Mujer (CPM) back to Connecticut.

The first workshop was presented in Spanish, and presented Spanish-speaking advocates the existing models of advocacy in Puerto Rico, alongside some of the topics included in the course on sexual assault advocacy by Puerto Rico‘s Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault. The presenters focused on cultural aspects that could result in parallelisms with populations of Latinxs who live the state of Connecticut.

The second workshop was in English, and lay the foundation to better understand some of the needs, barriers, and cultural dynamics when working with survivors of sexual violence in Latinx communities in the Connecticut. The trainers focused on how to strengthen the connections between Latinx communities and service providers working with them in order to meet the multiple needs that survivors may have. There was emphasis on social aspects of Puerto Rican culture, such as its mass emigration, the current economic crisis, and sexual violence on the island.

Adriana Alonso Calderón, Esq.
Adriana is a journalist, lawyer and activist for the rights of women. She is currently the Education and Technical Assistance Coordinator for Puerto Rico’s Coalition against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, Coordinadora Paz para la Mujer (Peace for Women). She also oversees the regional Young Women Division for the Soka Gakkai International, a lay Buddhist organization dedicated to promoting peace through education and culture.

She has studied journalism at the University of Puerto Rico, earned a Master’s Degree in Communications at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid in Spain, and obtained a Juris Doctor Degree at the University of Puerto Rico Law School. Adriana has worked in newspapers, radio productions, television, advertising and public relations for various nonprofit organizations, in and outside of Puerto Rico. She has taught courses on community journalism at the University of Puerto Rico and communication workshops to communities throughout the island.

Ilia Marie Vazquez Gascot, PhD
Ilia Marie Vazquez Gascot holds a PhD in Social Psychology at the University of Puerto Rico (UPR), Rio Piedras Campus. Since 2001, she has been working on projects related to gender violence. She collaborated on the Prevention of Violence Against Women program at the University of Puerto Rico, Humacao Campus for ten years as the Education Coordinator and as the General Coordinator of the Campus Flagship program of the Federal Department of Justice.

She also collaborated as Coordinator of Education and Prevention in the Women STEPS Project (PASOS de las Mujeres) based at the Medical Sciences Campus of the UPR and the Institute of Forensic Sciences. She currently serves as Coordinator of Education and Technical Assistance in the Puerto Rico Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault. Currently, she is part of the Board of MARCHA (Methodists Association to Represent the Hispanic-American Cause). Ilia Marie is a member of the Puerto Rico Association of Psychology, the Latin American Studies Association and the Ministry of Women and Gender Justice of the Latin American Council of Churches.


This project was supported by Grant No. 2012-WF-AX-0015 awarded by the Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, conclusions and recommendations expressed in this event do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women.

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