Working to End Assault and Violence for Everyone (WEAVE) is a local collaboration between the YWCA West Central Michigan, a sexual assault services provider, and four disability service providers with a residential focus: MOKA, Spectrum Community Services, Thresholds, and Hope Network Developmental and Community Services. These organizations serve Kent County, Michigan, an urban county serving Grand Rapids and its surrounding communities. Committed to serving individuals through a culture of gentleness, these organizations came together with the vision that all individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities (I/DD) who have experienced sexual abuse will have access to compassionate and highly skilled professionals.
Our Unique Contribution
Despite tremendous vulnerability, individuals with I/DD are often underserved in sexual or domestic violence services. Sexual assault service providers and agencies that serve those with I/DD have historically been designed to meet the needs of two distinct populations and often have little or no contact with each other.
At the center of WEAVE’s philosophy of a culture of gentleness is the unconditional safety and love for every individual. As a collaboration they believe that this culture and the establishment of a deep sense of community and companionship with those they serve is necessary to working at the intersection of sexual assault and disability. From this context they have created a unique lens from which to examine all aspects of each organization involved in the collaborative to create lasting and sustainable change.