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Group aims to help victims of domestic violence, sex trafficking

A local group has been working for nearly two decades to help victims of domestic violence and child abuse in Arizona.

Dr. Marilyn Seymann of the Arizona Foundation for Women (AFW) told News/Talk 92.3 KTAR’s Mac & Gaydos Monday that she started her organization focusing mostly on domestic violence and helping raise awareness about the issue.

“Much like you’re hearing about sex trafficking now, domestic violence was a little family secret in those days — just something that we deal with at home,” she said. “And we started out with a dual mission of creating awareness of the issues that threaten the safety of women and children, and we wanted to find and fund solutions.”

Seymann said she’s seen women get back on their feet with the help of AFW, and that some have progressed to the point where they’re now “part of the family and helping others.” She said her organization has partnered with dentists and doctors to help treat and reconstruct the appearances of women who have been badly beaten, and that many have gone on to find a job or pursue a college degree.

As the group approaches its third decade in operation, Seymann said it will look to add an additional focus to meet the needs of more Arizonans.

“One of our real main focuses is to find what needs are unmet, and find viable solutions,” she said. “The next generation of the Arizona Foundation for Women (is) also working to make the same roads we made into domestic violence and child abuse — of course, for they’re one in the same — we need to make the same roads into domestic minor sex trafficking as we’ve done with domestic violence.”

Seyman said anyone looking for help can visit, and that people can make donations to the foundation there too. She said offers of clothing and volunteering are just as valuable as monetary donations.

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