Safespaces.net using new technologies, ltd.

About SafetyNET
SafetyNet began life as an informal consortium of women who joined forces and pooled resources some 12 years ago, to address situations of emotional and physical violence against women and children in communities around the world.

lizbeth01.jpgWhen we started, many of the women who most needed help or just a listening ear could not gain access to communication with other women. For a wide variety of reasons - social and technical and varied from culture to culture - it became evident early on that our best way to help was to provide the means of communication to women and children in need. We did that, quietly, without giving any name to our efforts or group, and without taking donations to support our work, for many years.

In time, with the encouragement of some of our developing world collaborators, we also set up a formalised global cybercafe project that used the power of new technologies to help stop violence against women and children. In this phase of work we focused on making information and a safe space for communication available in parts of the world where access to anyone who would listen and care were the greatest need and the most obvious absent resource.

As part of a large and growing network of cultural and women's studies programs in the late 1990s and early years of this new century, SafetyNET quietly worked to link women and children to information about domestic violence and to a range of technology tools to enable them to share their stories with others, through online access. In the "safe spaces" of secure, moderated chat rooms online, and also through a network of women’s shelters, listen-in centres and community spaces for creative exchange, participants communicate with domestic violence specialists, volunteer attorneys, survivors of abuse, and mentors.

In 2003 we were awarded the Lifetime Achievement\ Award for Volunteer Service to Women and Children. In order to receive this prestigious award, we had to formalize and provide a bank account that could legally accept donations, a web site where donors could find out about our work, and a company policy that the government could understand and endorse. This we did, with the help of the amazing Linda Blick, and with further support from Anne Hurwitt, Leslie Sowle, Harriet Fulbright, Heide Mayor Fulbright, Neeti Gupta, Ahktar Badshah, Mukta Dhumale, the Maharashtra Foundation, Meera Ghandi, and a number of other advocates and sponsors who chose to remain anonymous.  We finally set up ‘officially’ and were able to receive the Lifetime award and to post the first version of this website. The award was advertised live on the NASDAQ board in Time Square (New York), on TV and radio across the USA, and on the Lifetime website with a link to our own site. It was also necessary to form a 501c3 (legal charity in the USA) to give a ‘local habitation and a name’ to our group of dedicated volunteers.

As we took on the name SafetyNET, we not only took on a legal status but also stepped into the public, visible domain. Yet we remain a discreet organization, responding quickly to calls for help, working where we are needed, when we are needed, and often without grant support secured in advance (for the needs of women and children often arise and make themselves known quickly and without warning, and must be met with speed and trust and kindness and respect, and without publicity or fanfare).What does not appear on this web site is more important than what does. The invisible is what we need to emphasise, as invisible violence is the hardest kind to stop.

Hundreds, and now many thousands, of women from all countries and walks of life have put in huge amounts of time, energy, vision, effort, and good will to help weave the web of  SafetyNET. Most of these women, and some very dedicated men as well, can not be named here, whether because publicity would damage their families or careers, or for larger political reasons. None of  their names or faces will appear on our site. Yet to them, we give enormous heart-felt THANKS.

For them, we ask that you join the SafetyNET network.

We also thank the many artists, musicians, and authors who donate their work to us, so that we can sometimes give a solid object of beauty back to those who donate through our donations pages. Your contribution, of any size or kind, is so very much welcome, and will make such a huge difference to the women and children of the world community.

THANK YOU!

Lizbeth Goodman
BA, MA, MLitt, Phd

 
 
 
 
 

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