In 1981, a symposium for women writers, including Audre Lorde, Adrienne Rich and Dr. Gloria Joseph, was held at the College of the Virgin Islands on St. Croix. This event had an inspirational effect on the women who attended. They participated in a discussion on the need for proactive solutions to the growing problem of violence against women in the Territory. A group of the attendees began meeting regularly as a result of that discussion, across kitchen tables at first. They agreed to begin with the basics: helping victims and survivors in crisis. One of the first steps was to conduct a workshop for volunteer advocates. This would give them the tools to offer support without judgment to rape victims at police stations and hospitals.
The Founding Mothers of the Women’s Coalition of St. Croix:
Carol Battuello, Frieda Brown, Jane Christiansen, Barbara Ann Farmer, Valerie S. Henderson, Judith A. Hoberman, Martha Hubbard, Dr. Gloria Joseph, Carolyn Keys, Roberta Knowles, Audre Lorde, Mary Mingus, Georgette Norman, Julia Pankey, Abby Rosenstein, Judi Shafer, Angeli Thurland Ferdschneider.
WCSC’s Mission in the Community
These women’s efforts became the basis for a grassroots movement, which evolved into this organization dedicated to ending violence in the community, and assisting victims and survivors to heal and become empowered. We are now a multicultural, tax-exempt nonprofit organization comprised of a large group of volunteers, members, staff and a board of directors. All of our services are free, confidential and available in English and Spanish.
Over the years our mission has been expanded to meet the changing needs of the community, including offering assistance to all crime victims and survivors—women, children and men, and especially victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence and stalking:
- 24-hour crisis intervention, one-on-one counseling and other supportive services offered
- Emergency shelter for female victims and survivors of domestic violence, rape, dating violence and stalking, and their children at Sojourner House
- Therapeutic counseling, transitional housing and other supportive services to assist survivors with healing
- Weekly support groups for survivors of domestic violence, teen sexual assault and adult survivors of incest, with trained facilitators
- Gently-used clothing and household goods provided free of charge to those in need through Closet To Closet, our thrift store
- Education programs, including Project Link, our high school completion program for adults and dropouts