Teresa Shiraishi has taught classes to ninth-grade students in Port Townsend, Quilcene and Chimacum about what it means to be in a healthy relationship, a relationship without fear or …
Teresa Shiraishi has taught classes to ninth-grade students in Port Townsend, Quilcene and Chimacum about what it means to be in a healthy relationship, a relationship without fear or violence.
“But that’s just one part of the population,” said the therapist, who has worked for Dove House Advocacy Services, based in Port Townsend, for the past three years .
“Before we expand, we want to hear from the community what they would like to see. What types of activities and age groups are a priority?”
Dove House recently received a grant to help it answer that question and is hosting five community workshops aimed at either shifting its focus or reaffirming what it is doing. Four sessions have been scheduled; a fifth has yet to be determined.
Questions Shiraishi expects to ask the public include: What age groups does the community want Dove House to focus on for the future? Should that be outside the schools as well as inside? Where is the greatest need?
“I am particularly interested in a youth perspective, as they will likely be the ones most involved in the actual prevention efforts,” she said.
Shiraishi expects to present information about different types of curriculum and asks for opinions on them; she also is open to suggestions that are not specific curriculums. “The intention is that we include community members in our planning process, versus deciding what to do on our own,” she said.
DATES FOR MEETINGS
The dates for those open public meetings are:
5:30-7 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 7 at the Port Townsend Public Library Learning Center
5:30-7 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 13 at the Chimacum High School library
6:30-8 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 18 at Brinnon Community Center
6 -7:30 p.m., Wednesday, March 1 at Quilcene High School, Room 9
To attend the community input meetings, Dove House asks people to call in advance and check in with Shiraishi at 385-5292 or email her at
Dove House currently offers a safe-date curriculum that covers topics such as relationship goals, dynamics of dating abuse, how to support friends who are being abused or are abusive, gender stereotypes, communication skills, consent and more.
“Students engage in six sessions of interactive activities, worksheets and discussions with the hope of giving them the tools to build the relationships they want to have,” she said.
Dove House therapists say that gender violence and other types of harassment “are seemingly being normalized in media, politics and other parts of our society, making violence prevention efforts feel immensely important.”
The meetings are free and open to the public; refreshments are to be served.
“We encourage youth, parents, those impacted by violence and anyone who wants to participate to join,” Shiraishi said.
“We think it is an important conversation to have in response to the escalated violence during our current political climate,” she said.
Shiraishi said that while there have been domestic violence cases during the political season, she does not believe there were any associated with the political climate.
Shiraishi points to national statistics that indicate more than one in three women and more than one in four men in the United States have experienced rape, physical violence and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetimes.
Dove House Advocacy Services provides services and support to all crime victims and people who have experienced violence.
This includes people who have experienced a hate crime or have experienced discrimination based on their race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, disability, immigration status or religion.
For more information, call Dove House at 385-5292, its 24/7 crisis line at 385-5291, or go to 1045 10th St., Port Townsend.