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Sandra Orozco-Stapleton 1945 - 2006

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Minerva Awards
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Family Interventions Project
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Engender Truth
Engender Truth

Minerva Award recipients stand as towering examples of determination, true leadership and selfless service…they dared to envision a better world.

“Sandra was a true architect of change for the women of California…her legacy serves as an inspiration to each of us. She was a remarkable woman who dared to envision a better world. She demonstrated great strength and courage in the midst of profound obstacles throughout her lifetime, but she never failed to fight or struggle for what she valued most in life.”
– Maria Shriver

Sandra founded Women Escaping A Violent Environment (WEAVE) in 1976. It was the first domestic violence agency of it’s kind in California. From the opening day of the shelter to the end of her term with WEAVE, Sandra fought to protect victims from controlling abusers.

At the same time, she recognized that domestic violence is not always a simple matter of an abuser using power to control a passive victim. By self-report, many of the women seeking shelter were active participants in mutual abuse. In recognizing a different type of DV, Sandra saw need for a different approach to resolving the problem.

What Sandra knew from the heart in 1976, and what she learned by listening to her clients, has been verified by three decades of studies. Yet her original  Gender-Inclusive vision of compassionate treatment for both partners in Common Couple cases remains unacknowledged by advocates invested in a gender-divisive, blame-based approach.

Sandra’s creative and innovative ideas for improving her community are as relevant today as they were three decades ago. She co-founded the Family Interventions Project in 2001, and Angels of the Fields in 2002.

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Breaking News

  • 3.23.07 -
    Gulf Daily News, The Voice of Bahrain
    Domestic violence is not a gender issue, it affects women and men and both need rehabilitation, whether they are the abuser, or the victim, says Erin Pizzey, founder of the world’s first refuge for battered women, who is in Bahrain until Monday as an adviser to the Aisha Yateem Family Counselling Centre, which opened in Hamad Town on Wednesday. … Pizzey said the centre aimed to restore and uphold family values, not to destroy them.
  • 3.22.07 -
    Erin Pizzey urges caseworkers in Bahrain “not to make the same mistakes that their Western sisters have made.”
    Gulf Daily News, The Voice of Bahrain
    Manama A NEW rehabilitation centre, which aims to aid battered women and protect families from social, psychological and legal problems, was opened in Hamad Town yesterday. Her Highness Shaikha Sabeeka bint Ibrahim Al Khalifa … opened the Aisha Yateem Family Counselling Centre, the first of its kind in the region.
  • 3.13.07 - Erin Pizzey urges Sen. Richard Lugar not to co-sponsor I-VAWA
  • 1.22.07 - Daily Mail article profiles Erin Pizzey, founder of the world’s first battered women’s shelter

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