© 2023 Gold Futures Challenge. All Rights Reserved.
API Chaya empowers survivors of gender-based violence and human trafficking to gain safety, connection, and wellness. We build power by educating and mobilizing South Asian, Asian, Pacific Islander, and all immigrant communities to end exploitation, creating a world where all people can heal and thrive. API Chaya envisions a just and equitable world free of violence and oppression. We partner and engage with community groups, providing education and organizing towards the prevention of domestic and sexual violence, exploitation and human trafficking. We do our work with an understanding of the cultural norms and stigmas associated with such violence and believe in the inherent strength and potential of our communities to facilitate this change. API Chaya claims our values of integrity, equity, agency, community, sustainability and dignity as central towards realizing our mission. Each value is practiced and realized on every level including the individual, community and institutional. In a domestic violence situation, factors such as love, family expectations, cultural norms and immigrant status make oppression difficult to recognize and address. Just as expressions of oppression can be diverse and contradictory, we recognize that our responses may be diverse and contradictory as well. Hence we embrace the complexity of our world and resist the temptation to flatten and simplify our experiences.
About the Organization:
4 MILLION - 5 MILLION
Over half of API people will experience domestic or sexual violence in their lifetime; and over 40% experience abuse or force at work. Depite the extraordinary levels of this violence, API survivors of gender-based violence and trafficking face limited options when experiencing harm. They are told to either (1) call a confidential hotline and flee their homes; and/or (2) call the police. A 2017 survey highlighted immigrant survivors’ fears of seeking help through the legal system. 78 percent of respondents reported that immigrant survivors expressed concerns about contacting the police; 75 percent reported that immigrant survivors have concerns about going to court for a matter related to the abuser/offender; and 43 percent of advocates worked with immigrant survivors who dropped civil or criminal cases due to fear of law enforcement response. Further, for the communities served by API Chaya, shame, isolation, language barriers, pride in one’s family, and fear of police/immigration authorities all interact to deter survivors from seeking help when they experience gender-based violence or trafficking. A recent study of Pacific Islander sexual assault survivors found that all had delayed disclosures of child abuse, from two years to decades after the event, because they did not want to bring shame on their families, they wanted to protect family harmony, and they blamed themselves. The authors found that “apprehension to disclose such experiences to family members then impacts one’s willingness to speak with legal authorities or support services...Dealing with the experiences alone was common among the participants.” Rampant racism, racial profiling, anti-Muslim and anti-Asian sentiments are ever-increasing. Fear of ostracism within their own communities as a result of reporting, a variety of COVID-related fears and challenges, as well as the experience of multiple forms of trauma, all make it extremely difficult for these survivors to seek help either at mainstream agencies or through the criminal legal system. Language access is a tremendous barrier to immigrant, migrant and refugee survivors. In our work, we witness this daily and often frustrating struggle against structural racism that silences immigrant survivors’ voices and denies them meaningful access to safety, support and justice.
API Chaya believes in survivors. We are an organization focused on serving survivors of sexual violence, human trafficking, and domestic violence from Pacific Islander, Native Hawaiian, Asian, and South Asian communities. To center those at the margins, we keep young people, faith-based communities, queer and Trans Black, Indigenous, and people of color, people with disabilities, and immigrants at our core. Culturally specific support services help survivors move from crisis to healing and thriving. Our advocates work with survivors to provide holistic services including free and culturally relevant therapy and support groups, employment search, healthcare, financial assistance, secure housing, and legal services to meet basic and crucial needs. Our advocates work closely with survivors to reach safety and independence. We know that when survivors face abuse, they first turn to their close networks. We train these networks to prevent and respond to violence through leadership and skill-building programs that are language and culture specific. This creates supportive environments for all survivors in their daily lives - in their homes, at their places of worship, in their schools, their workplace, and neighborhoods. We need options that center our culture, that honor our traditions, and can be adaptable and nimble to meet the wide-range of survivor needs. API Chaya creates values-based networks that scale out (instead of scale up). Relationship and trust continue to be two of the most important factors in successful community-based interventions to gender-based violence, whether in supporting survivor self-determination and healing, or in accountability processes. By building where there are already authentic relationships and trust we help to set the conditions for, not only, successful community responses, but the likelihood that people will respond to violence at all. This multilayered capacity building work is what can truly create the accountable communities and options that survivors need. Through our support services and intergenerational community organizing, we meet the immediate safety needs of survivors while developing long term leadership to transform conditions that allow harm to happen. We recognize that our communities have the resources, traditions and legacies we need to build the relationships and families we want for generations to come.