Women support each other locally
July 17, 2003
Abuse, in its many forms, is prevalent in even a rural area like Truckee.
“It’s really more about a power dynamic,” said Sandy Coupe, an advocated for the Tahoe Women’s Services. “One person is wanting to have power of control over another person.”
Abusers will call victims names, ignore them, dismiss their feelings, control who they see or when they work, keep them out of the loop in finances or use other means to control them.
Recognizing abuse is one topic the Women’s Empowerment Group focuses on during its meetings Thursday evenings from 6-7:30 p.m. It’s a safe and confidential place for a woman to identify and change unhealthy relationships.
The group also discusses their rights as human beings.
“That’s the first step of not being a victim is knowing you have rights,” said Coupe, who is the support group leader.
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She also stresses healthy ways to communicate, boundaries, unhealthy patterns and dealing with emotions. Attendance varies from one to six women depending on the time of year, she said.
“I am continually inspired by the strength of women. People, women particularly, still have the ability to comfort other people (who have been abused),” said Coupe. Watching another woman break the pattern of abuse is a positive benefit of her job.
“There’s definitely a power differential in society between how much power women have, and how much power men have,” she said. “I’m able to remind women that things are changing for the better. In essence, I’m able to say (the women in the group) are part of a woman’s movement, and they may have not known that before.”
During the empowerment group, the Woman’s Services also offers a Kid’s Time for children of the woman attending the group. They give positive roll modeling and support to youth grades 5-11 who may be dealing with their own battles.
Coupe graduated from the University of Binghamton in New York in Psychology. She began with the Tahoe Woman’s Services when she started crisis training for their hotline.
“A few weeks into the training, I really loved the people who worked there, and particularly the mission,” she said. After two months as a volunteer, she took her current position as an advocate at the local office.
The Tahoe Woman’s Services is a non-profit organization that aids victims and survivors of sexual assault. They provide crisis intervention in emergency situations, assist with restraining orders, teach prevention in schools and offer other services to women in need. They have three offices and serve Washoe, Nevada and Placer Counties as well as parts of Eldorado counties.
For more information about Tahoe Woman’s Services, contact executive director Michele Ostrander at (775) 298-0010. For location of the Empowerment group or other questions call Sandy Coupe at 546-7804 ext. 11. Or call the 24-hour hotline for help at 1(800) 736-1060.