Stopping the Cycle of Violence

Since 1981, the Center For Nonviolence has provided education, support and advocacy to end domestic and other forms of violence for all ages, genders and cultural backgrounds. For the past seven years, The St. Joseph Community Health Foundation has supported Ana Giusti’s role there, enabling her to aid female victims in the Hispanic community. In addition to helping the women, Giusti claims one of the most important jobs is to work with the children who are exposed to violence. According to Giusti, this is key to “stopping the cycle” that spans this all-too-wide “spectrum of violence.”

Annually, Giusti works with over 150 women and their children in the Spanish-speaking community, and this, she explains, presents its own challenges because of the cultural differences. Giusti credits much of their success to the fact that she and the Center are “not only culturally

sensitive—we are ourselves Latina and Spanish-speaking, so we are also part of that culture.” She says that she has been rewarded by being able to see a change over time with things in the community slowly getting better. This is all the more impressive, considering that awareness of the Center and its programs is spread solely through word of mouth.

…the end goal for the women…is that they “learn that they’re unique and deserve to be treated with respect.”

People with no other options can trust Giusti to help them. She personally drives many women to medical visits, interprets for them and the healthcare providers and, if needed, then assists them with the immigration process. What she asks of the women she helps is that they help others like them, also victims in need of a reliable friend.

Giusti’s goal for the women that come to her is that they “learn that they’re unique and deserve to be treated with respect.” At the Center and in their small groups, she watches these women “open themselves and blossom.”

In the tradition of its sponsor, the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ, the Foundation’s trustees support Giusti and the Center for Nonviolence because they embody the Poor Handmaids’ belief in “attentive listening and courageous response.” Giusti is regarded by many in the community as a confident and independent woman who transforms lives. However, she sees herself as the one who is “blessed,” as she gets “to see how these ladies are changing for the best.”

Written by: Charlie Klingenberger, Communications Intern