On A Mission: Holly’s Story

YWCA helps over 500,000 survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault every year.

In February of 2002, I had left my abusive partner and was living on my own with my two teenage daughters in a motel. I was working overnights for the Department of Transportation and struggling to do it all on my own. It was hard, it was isolating, and it was a scary time. My ex-partner was stalking me, and I had to lock my daughters in the hotel room at night, instructing them to call 911 if he ever came there.

Send Us Your Stories

YWCASAR_AlternateLogo USA is now accepting blog submissions from young women and girls of color under 21 as part of our 2016 Stand Against Racism campaign. Throughout the campaign, which is themed “On a Mission for Girls of Color,” we will highlight issues that impact girls of color such as racial profiling in school, access to safe play, and healthcare.

Want to share your story? Send submissions of 700 words or less by March 31 to communications@ywca.org. If your submission is selected, we’ll feature it on YWCA USA’s blog and share it on our social media channels.

We hope to hear from you!

Executive Actions on Gun Violence Can Help End DV Homicides



by Qudsia Raja

YWCA USA Advocacy and Policy Manager

Growing up, I remember playing the association game with my friends — the premise is exactly what it sounds like: name the first thing that comes to mind when you hear a particular word. Banana. Pajamas. Clouds. Care Bears. They all may seem like random, disconnected words at first glance, but dig a bit deeper into my 8-year-old brain and the connection will probably become more apparent.

Power and Control on The Mindy Project

by Qudsia Raja and Danielle Marse-Kapr


For three seasons, Danny Castellano was the body-rolling, crush-worthy grouch of our dreams. Sure, Danny and Mindy didn’t always see eye-to-eye and Danny didn’t always seem to appreciate what he had, but we were rooting for them (almost) every step of the way.

Empowering Native Women and Girls

by Kelsey JanwayKelseyJanway

Youth Ambassador, Center for Native American Youth

“I raise up my voice—not so I can shout, but so that those without a voice can be heard…we cannot succeed when half of us are held back.” Malala Yousafzai

The relevancy of this quote continues and will not soon shake. Being a young female itself can be difficult; being a young native female can be even more challenging. We’re constantly forced to believe we shouldn’t be in leadership positions; that we aren’t the face of strength and brilliance. Time and time again, we’re not taken seriously because of our gender.

A view from the European Refugee Crisis Response (and lessons for America)

LaurieGayleby Laurie Gayle

Chair, YWCA Scotland — The Young Women’s Movement

By the time she’d reached the refugee camp where I was working the nightshift, she’d walked 17 kilometres from the Serbian border. Carrying her 4-month old in her arms, her shoes were sodden and caked in mud. There had been heavy rain in Croatia that week and the ground in Opatovac Refugee Camp was flooded. A heavy fog had descended, cloaking much of the camp and limiting visibility. It was also freezing. That was the night she’d become separated from her husband in the crowd.

Keeping Children Safe from Domestic Violence





by Andrea Gadsen

Writer and Publisher

“Maybe when he looks at me he sees mommy.”

I pondered this thought over and over again in the midst of my own abuse as a child. Nothing else made sense.

I watched as my mother experienced violent rages from a man she had already divorced. Sometimes, my sister and I only heard the signs of a battle. A slap. A scream. A scuffle. Did he love her? And why did love sound so scary?

Why Domestic Violence Survivors Can’t Just Leave

by Tehreem Rahman

MPH Candidate, Yale/Johns Hopkins

Why don’t people in abusive relationships just leave?

This is a question that is all too often asked. There are numerous barriers that prevent victims of domestic violence from leaving abusive situations such as racism in the criminal justice system, immigration status, and fear for one’s safety, just to name a few. Financial barriers also play a significant role.

Addressing Armed Conflict in Colombia

MagdaBy Magda López-Cárdenas

YWCA of Colombia

I would like to give you a panoramic view of violence against girls and young women in Colombia within the framework of the armed conflict in my country. Many arbitrary actions are still occurring in the midst of the war, despite institutional and civil society efforts, International Humanitarian Law and reports from victims. Addressing the narrow gap between the impact of the conflict on combatants and non-combatants remains a goal with so far relatively few results, since in the competition to win the war, chaos reigns and civil rights fall to the mercy of armed actors.