Associate Professor Chiara Sabina received a Global Health Seed Grant through Rutgers Global Health Institute. The grants were awarded to five Rutgers faculty members who are conducting research and developing education, training, and capacity-building initiatives in collaborative, interdisciplinary ways. Dr. Sabina’s project, “Integrative Community Therapy for Intimate Partner Violence Survivors in Quito, Ecuador,” is a collaboration with partners at Muyumpa.
In Ecuador, 43 percent of women experience intimate partner violence (IPV) in their lifetime; however, the reach of institutional services for IPV survivors, such as housing shelters and transitional support, is limited there. Alternative services are needed to better respond to IPV in Ecuador. This project aims to establish an integrative community therapy initiative in Quito, the capital city. Integrative community therapy (ICT) is a group-based, non-hierarchical approach to promote community support and self-empowerment. Through a collaboration with Muyumpa, an ICT training center in Quito, the project team will train 10 IPV survivors to become ICT participant facilitators and conduct 30 dialogue circles in their communities with women at high risk of IPV. Surveys and qualitative interviews will be used to evaluate the initiative’s effects, for example, changes in the participant facilitators’ feelings of empowerment and leadership and the circle participants’ self-esteem, health and well-being, resilience, violence attitudes, and post-traumatic growth. Results from this project will form a strong basis for expanding the training and use of ICT to other populations and locations.