Arte Sana, in collaboration with the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC), Texas A&M International University, (TAMIU) the Association for Advancement of Mexican Americans (AAMA), and Texas A&M University Center for Housing and Urban Development (TAMU CHUD), hosted:
"Victim Advocacy Sin Fronteras"
A Statewide Border Training Institute on Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence
JUNE 27, 2003 - LAREDO, TX
La Posada Hotel Suites
LAREDO, TX - On June 27, victim service advocates, allied professionals, law enforcement, and promotoras from throughout the Texas-Mexico border to the 'Victim
Advocacy Sin Fronteras Training Institute' held here in Laredo at La Posada Hotel Suites. The event is an inter-agency collaboration organized by Arte Sana, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC), Texas A&M International University (TAMIU), the Association for Advancement of Mexican Americans (AAMA), and Texas A&M University Center for Housing and Urban Development (TAMU CHUD). This event was also sponsored in part by a grant from the Office of the Attorney General of Texas awarded to Arte Sana's Capacitadoras en Acción bilingual border training project.

In 1998, the National Violence Against Women Survey found that Latina women were less likely to report rape victimization than non-Latina women. Due to contributing factors such as a language barrier and a fear of deportation, many immigrant women sometimes suffer sexual assault and exploitation in silence and endure ongoing sexual harassment by perpetrators who view them as easy prey.

Recognizing the need for a customized approach that respects the diversity within Latino populations, the 'Victim Advocacy Sin Fronteras Institute' is an example of a collaborative spirit that is attempting to bring attention to the special needs of victims who reside along the Texas/Mexico border. Among the topics covered during the one-day event that will include a Spanish language workshop track are sexual trafficking, the increase of sexual abuse among males, relationship issues for adult survivors, child sexual exploitation, family reintegration of offenders, promotora program models and domestic violence. As part of the Capacitadoras en Acción training project that was recently recognized by the Centers for Disease Control as a model for reaching underserved victims of sexual assault, Arte Sana was able to offer 53 scholarships to this event, primarily to promotoras who work in colonias such as Los Obispos, Sana Rita, Santa Fe, Rio Bravo, El Cenizo, and others. Since the project's inception in February, 2002, Arte Sana has offered bilingual training and presentations to over
824-border region advocates, allied professionals on sexual assault-related issues.

The last U.S. Census Bureau report indicates that about 84 percent of the 10.4 million Latinos that live in the Southern states live in Texas and Florida, yet across the state of Texas, sexual assault and domestic violence training programs are rarely offered in Spanish. Often due to a lack of bilingual trainers, shelter residents are asked to help interpret for other victims of domestic violence while rape crisis hotline callers cannot always have their immediate needs met due to a lack of bilingual staff. Limited victim service budgets and a lack of cultural competency have also led to ineffective outreach to Latinos, according to Arte Sana Founding Executive Director Laura Zarate.

The document "Hispanic Texans and Domestic Violence: A Statewide Study" released earlier this month by the Texas Council on Family Violence revealed that almost one in five Hispanic females reported being forced to have sex against their will. The study also indicated that while 77 percent of Latinos have experienced some form of domestic violence, they are significantly less familiar with resources to help victims of domestic violence. The study also found that 60 percent of Hispanic Texans believe that the victim assistance monies provided by the State of Texas is not enough.
The unique needs of border region victims who live in areas with limited or no sexual assault services, who must travel for hours to be seen by a sexual assault nurse examiner (SANE), or who may live in isolated and impoverished areas, are what inspired the Capacitadoras en Acción bilingual train the trainer project, of which this Institute is a part of. With the ongoing support and cooperation of the Laredo Victim Advocacy Sin Fronteras Planning Committee members: Florita Tijerina, Sara Buentello, Analia N. Garcia, Karen Hale, Clara Vasquez, Melinda Titus, Lupita Guerrero, Jesus Luis de Leon and especially Mr. Jaime Arizpe we were able to overcome many logistical obstacles and are here to promote the sharing of information with those who will be able to make a difference in their communities.

Thank you for your committment to the work you do.
Laura Zárate
Founding Executive Director
Below is the program schedule followed by presenter biographies:
  • Conferencia Magistral: "El uso del equipo reflexivo y Terapia Estratégica en parejas con violencia" - Maria del Rosario Gema Oaxaca y Jaramillo, Practica Clinica Privada, Puebla, Mexico
  • "Collaborating with Rape Crisis Centers ‘Can Make Your Job Easier'" – Lisa Y. Maling, Sexual Assault Contract Specialist, State of Texas Sexual Assault Prevention & Crisis Services Division, Austin, TX
  • "Responding to Male Victims of Sexual Assault and Childhood Sexual Abuse" - Lynette Eilers, M.A, Hays-Caldwell Women's Center, San Marcos, TX
  • "Looking Beyond Silence: Speaking Images" - Grace Poore, International video activist and producer of "Voices Heard Sisters Unseen" and "The Children We Sacrifice," - Silver Spring, Maryland
  • "Los efectos en las relaciones de pareja por el abuso sexual infantil en uno de los miembros" - Diana Garza-Lewis, Rio Grande Counseling Center, Austin, TX
  • “Reintegración Familiar en Casos de Abuso Sexual Infantile” - Nicolás Carrasco, Ph.D., Rio Grande Counseling Center, Austin, TX
  • “Neighbor to Neighbor” and the U.N.A. Weslaco Promotora Program
  • Conferencia Magistral: “Bilateral Safety Corridor: A Prevention Intervention and Education Model for Trafficked Victims” - Marisa Bava, Executive Director of the San Diego Bilateral Safety Corridor, San Diego, CA


Marisa Bava Ugarte, M.A., Executive Director of the Bilateral Safety Corridor Coalition, San Diego, CA

Marisa Bava Ugarte is presently the Executive Director of the Bilateral Safety Corridor Coalition. She has been the intellectual driving force in the creation of this bi-national project, a first of its kind that includes a crisis line, a crisis center, and a domestic violence shelter and program.

She has worked at The EYE Counseling and Crisis Services as The Program Manager for “Pueblo de la Paz “Homeless and Runaway Youth Program for high risk youth.

Additionally, Ms. Ugarte has provided trainings in suicide prevention for San Diego County’s Choice Program Clairbon Academy and Oceanside School District.

Marisa also taught the Crisis Intervention module at the masters degree level for the University of Xochicalco in Mexico. She also gave several trainings
to University personnel and students in domestic violence, cultural issues and prevention techniques.

Ms. Ugarte also lectured at the International Gender Conference held at UCSD and the University Ibero Americana on the topic, “Crisis Intervention and the Domestic Violence Victim.”

Nicolas Carrasco, Ph.D., Rio Grande Counseling Center, Austin, TX

Nicolas Carrasco was born in San Juan, Texas; he was  raised in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. His family were migrant farm workers, and he spent his early years working along side his parents and siblings harvesting crops. After completing high school, he worked as a carpenter for three years before deciding to pursue higher education. He enrolled at St. Edward’s University in 1975, and received his Bachelor’s degree 1979; he majored in Psychology with a minor in History and English and he obtained a teaching certificate. He worked as a resource teacher with the AISD Migrant Program three years, before enrolling in a doctoral program in clinical psychology at the University of Texas at Austin. He obtained his Ph.D. in 1990 and opened his private practice in 1992. Since 1975, when he enrolled at St. Edward’s University, his interests  have been culture and mental health and working with  populations from diverse cultures. That continues to be  his interest today; he is particularly interested in  and has many years of experience working with Latinos.

Lynette Eilers, M.A, Hays-Caldwell Women's Center, San Marcos, TX

Lynette Eilers is the Sexual Assault Counseling Coordinator at the Hays-Caldwell Women’s Center and has been working in the field of physical abuse, sexual abuse, and trauma for the last nine years. Lynette has been providing individual counseling to male survivors of sexual assault/abuse for the last five years and has been facilitating a group for male survivor’s who were sexually abused as children for the last two years. Lynette received a Master of Arts degree in Professional Counseling from Southwest Texas State University. Lynette has presented at numerous conferences including the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault Conference and the Prevent Child Abuse Conference.

Diana Garza-Louis, LPC, LMFT, Rio Grande Counseling Center, Austin, TX

Diana Garza-Louis is a Licensed Professional Counselor, a Licensed Marriage and Family therapist, a national Certified Counselor and a Registered Sex Offender
Treatment Provider. She received her master's degree in education at Southwest Texas State University in San Marcos, TX and established her private practice in Austin. She provides Spanish language services to offenders, victims, and families. Ms. Garza-Louis is co-author of "Ventura," and "Paso a Paso," treatment manuals for sex offenders. She has also had numerous articles on sexual abuse issues and play therapy published. She has presented various workshops on incest families, sexual abuse treatment, and play therapy both nationally and internationally.

Felipe Gutiérrez, Psicologo y Terapueta Familiar, Director General de C.E.F.A.P.

Felipe Gutiérrez nació y se crió en Puebla, Mexico. Se recibió de Benemérita Universidad Autonoma de Puebla con licenciatura en psicologia. Se especializa en terapía breve, terapía familiar sistémica y de pareja y terapía infantil. Tambien cuenta con especialidad en terapía Gestalt e hipnosis Ericksoniana. El doctor Gutiérrez ha laborado en el campo de salud mental por más de 20 años.

Grace Poore, International video activist and producer of "Voices Heard Sisters Unseen" and "The Children We Sacrifice," - Silver Spring, Maryland

Grace Poore has 15 years experience in presenting workshops on domestic violence, 4 years on incestuous sexual abuse in South Asian communities. She has worked for the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women in Sri Lanka and the US-based National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Her award-winning documentaries are used internationally as educational and organizing tools to end violence against women and girls. Born and raised in Malaysia, she has lived in the US for over 20 years.

UNA Project Representatives:

Concepcion Cardona, B.A., was born in Reynosa, Tamaulipas and her family moved to the United States when she was about 12 years old. Ms. Cardona was placed in a school and graduated from Pan American Univesity in Edinburg in 1988 with a Bachelor's degree in Social Work. She has worked with the Department of Human Services for 19 years, as well as the Texas Tropical Mental Health and Mental Retardation. She has been working with Mujeres Unidas/Women Together since March of this year.

Myrna G. Palacios has been working as a mentor-promotora for the past two years. She attended school in Mexico and completed high school where she studied cosmetology. Myrna has worked as a childcare provider and has been taking classes to learn English.

Dalila Kanarek, B.A., has been a mentor-promotora for 2 years. Dalila graduated from a University in Mexico and worked as a teacher for 30 years. She is currently taking classes to learn English.

Lisa Y. Maling, Sexual Assault Prevention & Crisis Services, Office of the Attorney General, Austin, TX

Lisa Y. Maling formerly Zapata joined the Sexual Assault Prevention & Crisis Services team of the Office of the Attorney General in October 2002 as the Sexual Assault Program Specialist. She will be monitoring the Texas programs providing services to victims of sexual assault funded by the OAG’s office. She brings 13 years of experience coordinating direct services for communities that have rape crisis centers. She is an Advocate for the programs across the state. You can call her direct line 512.936.1272 to get assistance or support on issues effecting survivors and / or programs. Her email address is

Thank you to the following sponsors for their assistance:

SAMES Motor Company Inc. - Texas Oldest Dealership - Laredo, TX

Tony Roma's
Logan's Roadhouse
Johnny Carino's
Homero Ramirez
Time Warner Cable
United Artists North Creek 10 Theatre

Pizza Hut
Mary Carmen's Hair Studio
Sherwin-Williams Co.
Osimar Carpet Cleaning
South Texas National Bank

City of Laredo Visitors and Convention Bureau

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