Sexual, domestic abuse survivor opens ministry to help clients cope with trauma

First public community event this Saturday at Barbara Jordan Community Center

SAN ANTONIO – From abuse survivor to advocate to executive director of a new nonprofit, a San Antonio woman is using her personal experience to help others who have endured many types of trauma.

Karen Chattum-Dozier says her trauma started in her childhood home.

“Childhood molestation and then, later on, survive family violence. It affected our whole family, and it can be a generational curse if somebody doesn’t do something to stop it. So that’s why I’m very open,” she said.

Chattum-Dozier may look familiar to KSAT viewers who may have seen her in previous stories when she was writing and performing plays to empower abuse survivors.

However, she has always had bigger plans.

“I have a master’s in Human Sciences with a specialization in Psychology, and I have a bachelors in Psychology with a specialization in sociology,” Chattum-Dozier said.

Within the past year, Chattum-Dozier created a new ministry called We Speak Up.

“I believe I can help people,” she said. “They trust you better when you can relate.”

Chattum-Dozier said she is proud to have a brand new office set up at the Barbara Jordan Community Center on the East Side, accessible to community members who have been through trauma.

“What I can do is facilitate post-traumatic coping skills with you,” she said.

Chattum-Dozier is not a counselor but instead helps form a plan for her clients. That includes leading them to resources, whether it be counseling or even safety at the Battered Women’s Shelter.

Her clients experienced all different kinds of trauma.

“I’ve had someone who came to me after surviving and choosing to thrive after being shot. The physicians said he would not live. Look at him now,” she said.

Chattum-Dozier wants the public to know she’s open for business, so she and her team have set up a poetry and prayer night featuring professional poets.

On Saturday, a big room at the Barbara Jordan Center will be all set up and filled with people wearing masks and social distancing, supporting We Speak Up and seeking help of their own.

Chattum-Dozier said SAPD’s Crisis Response Team Officers will also be there to help abuse victims with safety plans and other services.

“Then there’s San Antonio Fighting Back, which offers HIV testing right here, so Saturday, people will be able to come here and leave knowing their status for HIV and if they’re HIV-infected. They’re going to get the intervention that’s needed,” she said.

There will also be registration available for COVID-19 vaccines.

The event is from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, May 15, at the Barbara Jordan Community Center located at 2803 E. Commerce St.

To get in touch with Chattum-Dozier for services, call her at (210) 214-4420, find her We Speak Up page on Facebook, or you can walk into her office at the Barbara Jordan Community Center.

For domestic violences survivor resources on, click here.

About the Authors

Courtney Friedman anchors KSAT’s weekend evening shows and reports during the week. Her ongoing Loving in Fear series confronts Bexar County’s domestic violence epidemic. She joined KSAT in 2014 and is proud to call the SA and South Texas community home. She came to San Antonio from KYTX CBS 19 in Tyler, where she also anchored & reported.

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