Partners Extraordinaire: Dominican University and the Beloved Dominican Sisters of San Rafael Work with C4DP Toward a World of Domestic Peace

“We reverence and affirm the inherent dignity of each person. We will work for transformation of attitudes and systems that deprive any person of dignity.”

These words sit at the heart of the longstanding relationship between Dominican University (DU), the Dominican Sisters of San Rafael, and Center for Domestic Peace (C4DP), a relationship that has flourished over more than three decades. Our partnership speaks to a mutual commitment to social justice and transformation. From their substantial financial support, to program partnerships, to student life and academic opportunities, we deeply value this relationship and are honored to highlight some of our key projects.

Financially, the Dominican Sisters of San Rafael have been a generous and enduring supporter. Most substantially was their $325,000 grant toward The House that Love Built: Saving Lives One Room at a Time, Phase Two in 2016.

Built around 1930 and in need of significant repair, our shelter received a capital development loan in 2012 to renovate, upgrade, and bring our existing 16-bed shelter to code and into ADA compliance. Phase Two converted existing office space into three more bedrooms and added a studio for the hotline and advocate staff. Phase Two brought a 50% increase in bed space overall. This significant grant was providential and a true blessing.

The Sisters also give generously through their Vision Fund and most recently gifted $10,000 toward In This Together, parent-child group therapy. In a recent interview with Sister Patty, C4DP’s Champion Sister and regular at our In Celebration of Mothers luncheon, she stated why this program resonated with her: “This program really touched my heart when I read about its purpose: to help the mom regain her authority in the family and help her to reestablish the important bond between her and her child. O h, this is so important to break the cycle of abuse.”

The Sisters have also been instrumental in bringing C4DP on campus for events: making C4DP the beneficiary of their first Vagina Monologues, supporting C4DP in hosting a panel and showing The Mask You Live In, and joining in the 30th Anniversary March and the One Billion Rising campaign, among others.

On campus, C4DP continues to thrive in a growing partnership with the institution. Starting with our academic partnership, C4DP has been invited to present and
“cofacilitate many classes on bystander intervention, domestic violence 101, the impact of domestic violence on children, gender role training, and consent, to name a few.
Most recently, Meghan Kehoe, CYCPD Program Director, was invited to cofacilitate a class on global public health and social justice.

C4DP also works in collaboration with the athletic department to provide student athletes with domestic violence and sexual assault info. Through a peer-based education model, Marin Against Youth Abuse (MAYA) advocates co-facilitate these trainings. MAYA is made up of student interns from various majors including nursing, public health, and psychology. They also hold campus-wide education campaigns throughout the year.

Another area C4DP is active in is student life, leading new student orientations covering campus culture, healthy relationships, consent, and available resources. Residen

Youth Respect Fair

Youth Respect Fair

t Assistants (RA) are also trained in how to respond to domestic violence and sexual assault, what Title IX means, and their role in upholding it. (Title IX is a federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any education program that receives federal funding. Under Title IX said schools have a legal obligation to protect students from gender-based violence and harassment – including sexual assault.)

Just this past year, C4DP hosted a showing of The Mask You Live In, and as a result, was asked to expand the RA trainings to include information on how to be in a leadership role as a man, address the power and equity dynamic, and be a male ally to survivors of assault and abuse.

C4DP is the established confidential resource for domestic violence and sexual assault on campus. Whether contacted directly by a student or referred from the student life office, C4DP offers support as needed and acts as the advocate for them with the Title IX office on campus.

Trainings are also done regularly for professors, coaching staff, the mental health department, and other adult allies on how to recognize warning signs of abuse or assault, how to respond when disclosures occur, and how to connect students to C4DP.

And most recently, C4DP received a multi-year national demonstration grant from the Administration for Children and Families to evaluate the success of In This Together (ITT), a cutting-edge, group-therapy model for parents and children. In collaboration with DU’s Global Public Health Department, DU and C4DP are researching and developing evaluation protocols and producing a white paper to be published in an academic journal on ITT’s success and outcomes.

Dominican University and the Dominican Sisters exemplify the power, beauty, and reach of an evolving community partnership based on the strength of shared values and vision. C4DP is grateful to all who have contributed to this enduring relationship as we move closer to a world of domestic peace.