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Abby’s House is rooted in the campus Women’s Center tradition. Since the early 1970’s, women’s centers have been opened in the majority of US colleges and universities to respond to inequities experienced by women both on campus and off-campus. Issues of violence and discrimination disproportionately affect women, and women’s needs and experiences have not been adequately addressed. However, while Abby’s House centers on the needs and experiences of women, we consider that some men also face such issues. In addition, we recognize that men support women in their families who experience oppression. Abby’s House provides services to individuals regardless of gender identity as we acknowledge the ways that gender intersects with various identities such as sexuality, race, ethnicity, social class, age, and ability.
Abby’s House is staffed by trained student advocates who help students, faculty and staff find the resources they need on a variety of topics such as: relationship issues, sexual violence, anxiety, depression, health care, reproductive issues, financial assistance, housing and food assistance, and more. We provide a wide variety of educational programs and activities on similar topics throughout the academic year. Further, Abby’s House provides the WOU community: a Resource and Gender Studies Library and internship, practicum, and other volunteer opportunities.
Abby’s House is managed by two part-time administrators and a board of directors that includes faculty, staff, students, alumni and community members to provide oversight. Abby’s House staff consists of student employee advocate leaders and volunteer advocates. All advocates are required to complete a 3-day training that prepares them to handle individuals in crisis including survivors of sexual violence. The peer-support model used at Abby’s House helps to reduce the barriers to seeking help, as students may be more comfortable talking about issues with another student rather than a faculty or staff member. Our primary referral is to the campus Student Health and Counseling Center.
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Our mission is to provide the WOU community with educational programming, information, and referral services designed to promote equity and non-violence. We embrace a feminist model that empowers all people to actively stand against all forms of violence, harassment, verbal abuse, discrimination, and hatred.
We envision Western Oregon University promoting the core values of our namesake Abigail Scott Duniway and other feminists before us. We strive for social justice for all people– including a community free of oppression, violence, and inequality. We imagine a community that values learning about gender with the goal of empowering people to create/foster an inclusive and just society.
The name Abby’s House was chosen in honor of Abigail Scott Duniway, who fought for women’s right to vote and own property predominantly in Oregon. She was the first woman to register to vote in Oregon.