Monthly Archives: June 2013



“I  alone  cannot  change  the  world…                                                                                                    But I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”              ~Mother Teresa



When we empower a battered woman to break free from the cycle of domestic violence…we empower a community to break the silence and say NO MORE. 

THE SEED OF HOPE:                                                                                                                   Last year, Doctora Vazquez was on a mission to raise awareness against Domestic Violence. Vilma wanted to commemorate her brave mother Maria, who was a victim of domestic violence and lost her battle with colon cancer on April 2, 2012. Her strongest desire as an advocacy researcher was to plant seeds of hope and positive social change to stop domestic violence in the Latino community.



A great deal of coordination and international collaboration was necessary to make the following Latina domestic violence research study a reality. The lead advocacy researcher, Dr. Vilma Caban-Vazquez, would like to acknowledge all those whose support and contributions helped to launch a preliminary domestic violence research study in August of 2012. Subsequently, this practitioner-researcher is extremely grateful for all of the altruistic individuals whose perpetual support, via auxiliary resources and expanded community networks, abetted and nurtured her dream. With their support, Dr. Caban-Vazquez was able to develop a research-based action plan to offer more technical support to the battered women that she studied in August of 2012. 

First and foremost, the remarkable support of her faithful friend and fellow humanitarian Loida Pujols (former United Nations Consulate General to the Dominican Republic, 2000-2004) as well as Loida’s noble and supportive husband Albert Peña helped the lead researcher Dr. Caban-Vazquez achieve her dream of establishing an advocacy footprint in Latin America. Loida and Albert reached out to their network of close family and friends and rallied support for this humanitarian cause. Dr. Caban-Vazquez is extremely grateful for their community service and assistance.

OPENING DOORS FOR CHANGE IN THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC                                                       TELEVISION & RADIO COVERAGE                                                                               Consequently, a close childhood friend of Mr. Peña, former Councilman Victor Manuel Bastista, played a pivotal and instrumental community role in serving both as a representative of this initiative in his small rural town of Bonao, as well as one of our strongest rallying supporters.  In solidarity and support to this domestic violence cause, community advocates Mr. Pena and Mr. Batista locked arms to serve as advocates and shared voices for community change by coordinating various domestic violence conferences in numerous faith-based and educational venues.  They were quite resourceful in their outreach and traveled across different towns and villages to network with various community stakeholders.  They submitted press releases to various regional news media.  As a result, news coverage about the domestic research project was shared with the Hortensia Magazine, which was based out of the capital of Santo Domingo. Furthermore, they reached out to the local television program “En Familia” and fortunately they gained a community news slot wherein they reported news of the upcoming events on Bonao Television, Channel 12 ( Their resourceful outreach efforts encouraged local women to attend the domestic violence conference as well as extended an invitation to consider being a part of the research study.  Thanks to their noble efforts, over 50 participants attended the domestic violence awareness conferences and educational workshops. Eventually, the editor of the Hortensia Magazine traveled from the capital Santo Domingo to observe the large group participant research discussions. As a way to demonstrate her support, she wrote a feature article about the lead researcher and the merit of this study and her efforts (Appendix A).

Using various informational platforms, Mr. Pena and Mr. Batista helped to raise community awareness about the prolific rate of domestic violence in the Dominican Republic.  Dr. Caban-Vazquez is immensely grateful for all of their outreach. She was inspired by their natural leadership abilities to tenaciously mobilize a much-needed service to their community. Their campaign action plan was to bring the issue of Domestic Violence to the forefront of Bonao’s community economic agenda.  This was an extremely viable outreach strategy. The ultimate goal of involving several philanthropic community agents, faith-based organizations, educational institutions, telecommunication organizations, as well as town and provincial legislative leaders would help pave the way. In due course, their proactive stance could help the victims of domestic violence by opening potential lines of future funding and community support.

MEETING WITH THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC SENATOR:                                                          In addition, the lead researcher particularly extends her greatest appreciation to Senator Amable of the Alta Gracia Province in the Dominican Republic. This distinguished public servant, welcomed the lead researcher and her research team’s arrival in the midst of his personal holiday. He received the delegates assigned to this research task with such genuine warmth, and enthusiasm. Senator Amable’s willingness to assist the team in any way possible to achieve a successful preliminary research study indicated his level of commitment to his battered constituents of Bonao, Dominican Republic.Slide24

With their joint and dynamic efforts, this compassionate international team of community advocates helped to bring the epidemic community issue of domestic violence to light.  Moreover, with the collective endeavors of current and former United Nations staff and volunteers, over time The Latina Project: Breaking the Cycle…Breaking the Silence research project became noteworthy news outside the small town of Bonao. As such, prior to launching the economic empowerment project, Dr. Caban-Vazquez will travel to Geneva, Switzerland to confer with the United Nations Dominican Republic Ambassador as well as meet with the United Nations Dominican Republic Ambassador stationed in Santo Domingo. As an advocacy researcher, she will apprise the UN dignitaries of the status of the research project and her goal of presenting research findings and the implications of this research at the 2014 World Humanitarian Conference in Geneva, Switzerland.

SOCIAL CHANGERS WITHOUT BORDERS, INC.                                                                          A special thanks goes to Dr. Caban-Vazquez’s fellow executive board members of the humanitarian research organization Social Changers without Borders, Inc. (Appendix B). Their belief in Dr. Caban-Vazquez’s humanitarian research capabilities and their support nurtured her idea for this advocacy research study.  She is proud to be an active member of this outstanding organization.

ARTIST COLLABORATION WITH TANYA TORRES                                                                 The lead researcher would also like to thank the talented Latina artist Tanya Torres for her artistic contribution. Tanya Torres has extended permission for Dr. Caban-Vazquez to use her inspirational and cultural iconic figure—Cacibayagua: Taina Goddess— in any promotional literature and research reports sharing the worked centered on The Latina Domestic Violence Research Project. In August 2013, when the research team travels back to Bonao, Dr. Caban-Vazquez will deliver a special inspirational gift especially designed to inspire the 10 domestic violence victims. Mrs. Torres lovingly hand–crafted unique wearable art necklaces with the inspirational image of Cacibayagua— the mythical Taina Goddess. Traditional Dominican folklore describes how Cacibayagua is the original life source of the indigenous Taino Indians that emerged from her beautiful cave. The inspirational intention behind sharing this gift is to encourage the women.  In the face of adversity and their personal decision to renounce the economic stranglehold of their abusers, these empowered women call recall the legend of Cacibayagua.  The necklace signifies their promise and legacy as Latina women and descendants of the rich Taino culture.  It is a symbolic reminder to tap into the spiritual strength of their inner Taina goddess. This artistic gift serves as a beautiful and concrete reminder of their legacy and the promise of their destiny as “empowered” women and not “beaten” women.              HER WEBSITE IS

IMG_0929LOVING CIRCLE OF FAMILY & FRIENDS                                                                            Dr. Caban-Vazquez is eternally grateful for the generous support she received from a loving circle of intimate family and friends.  After the lead researcher did an extensive literature review of viable empowerment strategies for battered women, she recognized the strong potential for making the greatest impact in the lives of these abused women. Subsequently, she rallied for financial support with the Friends Against Domestic Violence fundraising website at  at (Appendix D).

PURCHASED MATERIALS FOR THE ECONOMIC PROJECT                                                  SCHOOL UNIFORM COOPERATIVE:                                                                                          This community grassroots initiative helped to secure a modest portion of funds. As a result, with the additional financial support of Albert and Loida, the researcher was able to purchase 10 sewing machines and secure the safe shipment of those machines. In addition, monies raised helped to purchase the bulk of the essential seamstress tools needed to economically empower the domestic violence survivors.  A compassionate circle of friends saw the collective power of this economic empowerment vision and they worked together to establish a toolkit for the success of this school uniform cooperative. Dr. Caban-Vazquez keeps her dedicated group of supporters updated on the latest developments of this work using her research blog at http://doctoravazquez. wordpress. com (Appendix E).

IMG_0919Last but not the least, she wishes to thank her supportive son Christopher for his encouragement in pursuing her research dreams. Vilma values his endearing token of support and love in helping her create positive social change for battered women.  In the spring of 2013, Christopher served as editor-in-chief of his college newspaper and he invited his mother to write an informational article about this topic. It meant the world to her.

Lastly, without the love and support of her Heavenly Father this would not be possible.  She firmly believes that her creator is celebrating  the fruits of this community labor with Vilma’s beloved mother.  Without the love of community, this form of collective social change endeavor would not be possible.


TOGETHER…we can all encourage a culture of positive social change for the survivors of domestic violence in this Latino community. Please ask yourself what you can do or contribute to this cause. Please consider making a donation to this worthy cause.

When we empower a woman…we empower a community. 

Fundraising Coordinator & Executive Board Member
Social Changers without Borders, Inc.