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We’re getting a new name & logo!

by WHBW on April 4, 2016

What’s in a name?

Women Helping Battered Women – What does that name mean to you?

Some may think the agency only serves women, is staffed only by women and that our services are only for people who have been physically abused. WHBW has been serving Chittenden County since 1974. Since then, the agency has expanded to serve all those affected by domestic violence, regardless of gender identity or age.

Domestic violence affects everyone.

While 1 in 4 women will be affected by domestic violence, so will 1 in 7 men, 1 in 3 youth—regardless of gender identity, and occurs in 25-32% of LGBTQ relationships

Women Helping Battered Women’s History

Vermont’s first domestic violence organization was formed in 1974 as an outgrowth of Burlington’s anti-rape agency, Women Against Rape. Soon, a small group of women were volunteering their time to build what would later become Women Helping Battered Women (WHBW). This small group of volunteers provided hotline and emergency shelter services out of their homes 24 hours a day, seven days a week continuously for two years. Over the next ten years, these “founding mothers” worked to establish an affordable emergency shelter, the location of which could remain confidential. We are proud of our history and the effort made by our founding mothers to establish emergency shelter and services for those experiencing domestic violence in Chittenden County.

Why we believe it is time for our name and logo to change

Although we recognize that most domestic violence is perpetrated by males against their female partners, we also believe that our organization and its services should be welcoming to all who experience domestic violence, regardless of gender identity. Male-identified individuals in severe domestic violence situations may be afraid to reach out for help due to safety concerns, social pressures, concern for their intimate partner, or detrimental societal constructs of masculinity. Realizing that the only domestic violence agency in Chittenden County appears to help exclusively women can be devastating and misleading. Not only should men in the community be aware of our services, but the fact that we have male-identified staff should also be recognized.

WHBW’s current branding may also suggest a heteronormative view of domestic violence—that violence only occurs when men abuse women. While it is apparent that men are also victims of domestic violence, intimate partner violence against men is primarily committed in same-sex relationships rather than heterosexual relationships (“Prevalence and Characteristic,” 2011). With branding that suggests heteronormativity, male-identified victims in same-sex relationships may be even less likely to reach out for help.

The term “Women” not only communicates exclusion of men, but also of youth. On staff, we have both a children’s and a youth advocate. Ensuring that youth feel comfortable accessing services is necessary to break the cycle of violence. In addition, those affected by domestic violence today often don’t identify themselves as “battered” or they may find the word “battered” triggering. The term “battered” also implies the exclusion of services to those suffering exclusively from psychological, emotional and/or economic abuse.

The rebranding of Women Helping Battered Women will include the implementation of a new name, logo and an overall new “look” that will communicate a more modern and inclusive feel through our website, literature, and use of language.

What you can do

Mark your calendars! Our rebranding launch event will be on June 23rd from 6-8pm at St Michael’s College, Dion Student Center.

Do you want to support the rebranding efforts? Make a donation online at and choose ‘Rebranding” under ‘Would you like to specify a particular fund?’.

Want to learn more? Email us at



Prevalence and Characteristics of Sexual Violence, Stalking, and Intimate Partner Violence Victimization in the United States—National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, United States, 2011. MMWR 2014; 63 (SS-8):1-18.


Jessica’s Story

by WHBW on March 31, 2016

The following is a powerful story from a survivor of domestic violence. She shared her  story at WHBW’s 8th Annual Zumbathon® on March 18, 2016.


“I’m so excited to be here today representing an organization so near and dear to my heart! Two years ago today, March 19th, my life and the lives of my two sons with Autism were changed forever by domestic violence. My husband had a psychotic episode and attacked me with a metal baseball bat.  Luckily, my sons were still at school and didn’t witness it. Within 36 hours I would be let go from my job because of this incident. My world had crashed and it was beyond frightening!

Thank God the Essex PD connected me to Women Helping Battered Women.  I was assigned a legal advocate named Storm Leland. Storm would hang out with my youngest son so I could attend the free legal clinics on Monday nights. She also assisted me with all of the paperwork for my divorce. On December 10, 2014 I came out the victor in my divorce proceedings! My ex-husband had a lawyer and I represented myself. I wouldn’t have been so successful without the support of WHBW.

I was also assigned a housing advocate named David O’Leary. This was because I rented a house from my ex in-laws which made things more complicated. Dave and I were a team! He helped me secure a FUV [Family Unification Voucher] voucher, but finding housing in Essex Town was tricky.  I didn’t want to leave the school district because of my two sons. We did become homeless for 6 weeks, but were taken in by a wonderful family in Essex. We found our new home on June 5, 2015 and still reside there. We couldn’t have done it without the knowledge, support, and advocacy of WHBW.

Dave & Storm are my heroes! I believed in them and they believed in me! That’s important. Because of their unwavering support my kids continued to do amazing at school despite all of the legal battles I went through. WHBW was a lifeline! My family’s forever grateful!

Thank you!”

Jessica Lower


Thank you for another great Zumbathon®!

March 15, 2016

The 8th Annual Women Helping Battered Women Zumbathon® “CELEBR-8″ was a huge success. In donations alone by participants, over $23,000 was raised. The heart, love, spirit, and joy of Zumba® brought our community together in a big way to raise funds for WHBW’s services and programs. WHBW would like to thank each of the ZumbaVT […]

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“Safety and peace of mind” 2016 Phone-a-thon

March 1, 2016

Volunteers will be calling again on March 14th & 15th from 5:30-8pm! This year volunteers will be raising money to match a Vermont State grant of $3,750 through the Department of Buildings and General Services. If they don’t raise $3,750, we won’t receive the grant! The grant will fund vital upgrades at our Emergency Shelter. Women […]

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In-person response at the Emergency Department

February 8, 2016

Our hope with this service is to break down the fear and barrier of making that phone call and explain our services to the survivor right away and get them connected to programs more rapidly if they choose. How it Works: If a survivor of domestic violence is at the University of Vermont Emergency Department […]

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Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month

February 8, 2016

February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month (TDVAM)! TDVAM is a national effort to raise awareness of dating violence among teens and youth adults. Nationally, 1 in 3 youth experience dating violence from a current or former dating partner. With youth experiencing violence at a higher rate than adults, it is important to take this […]

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January’s Training is FULL!

January 21, 2016

Thank you to everyone who has reached out to us for volunteer opportunities and to attend the January New Volunteer, Intern, & Staff Training. We have had an overwhelming response to our calls to action and requests for volunteers. The work we do is vital and changes lives. We know we can’t end domestic violence on […]

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Phish’s WaterWheel Foundation supports WHBW!

January 21, 2016

What a night! When Phish’s Waterwheel Foundation told us that WHBW would be the recipient of proceeds from a pre-show party during their annual New Year’s concert run at Madison Square Garden, we were blown away. The night raised over $40,000 for the agency! We can’t thank the Waterwheel Foundation & Phish enough for supporting […]

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New Furniture at Shelter

December 10, 2015

Women Helping Battered Women (WHBW) is very excited to announce that we have beautiful new furniture in our Emergency Shelter’s support group room. Thanks to generous support from The Gibney Family Foundation and Michael Lash CEO of the Ethan Allen Design Center of Vermont. The new furniture and artwork has made such a difference in […]

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January New Volunteer, Intern, & Staff Training

December 9, 2015

Women Helping Battered Women will be holding its winter New Volunteer, Intern, & Staff Training Weekend on January 22-24, 2015! WHBW depends on volunteers to keep all of our services and programs running smoothly and consistently. If you have time and energy to give and want to get involved in social change, please fill out […]

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