On Sunday, April 22, 2018, AAFSW co-sponsored a special brunch that was organized by Pathways to Safety International and hosted by the Whittemore House in Washington, DC. Pathways to Safety International empowers victims of interpersonal and gender based violence abroad. Pathways undertakes the global challenge of assisting victims who are enduring extreme suffering in isolated situations where support seems minimal and many obstacles block the path to safety. Services are provided 24/7/365 via technology on a global scale to American victims of assault, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, and forced marriage (www.pathwaystosafety.org).
During brunch, author Dr. Nadia Hashimi (a pediatrician) introduced three amazing speakers and their unbelievable “journeys”: Keri Potts (Corporate Communications Executive – ESPN’s Senior Director of Communications), Dulce Mange (Licensed Clinical Social Worker – LCSW), and Paula Lucas (Author of “Harvesting Stones,” Founder and Executive Director of Pathways to Safety International). Through their incredible personal stories, all three explained the accessibility and/or limitations of U.S. Embassies and U.S. Missions abroad, the difficulties of navigating foreign law enforcement, medical, legal, and social systems when violence takes place while studying, working, or traveling abroad. The three speakers also emphasized the work that has been done on a global scale towards prevention and response to violence. Pathways to Safety International assists survivors in foreign countries, provides transition services, and connects the victims to legal advocacy and professional counseling.
AAFSW, the oldest non-governmental organization supporting the American diplomatic community and a primary advocate and support network for family members of Foreign Service employees, is very proud to have co-sponsored this event and establish a strong relationship with Pathways to Safety International, an organization which currently serves the estimated 9 million Americans living overseas, the 80 million Americans traveling overseas annually, and the 450,000 American military personnel and dependents living overseas.
Joanna Athanasopoulos Owen, PhD