Projects and Programs

Handbook Guide

One of our most important projects is a handbook/guide we wrote and published in three Turkish editions for women who have been sexually abused and those who want to support them. To date there is no other book appropriate for a general audience in Turkish on sexual abuse and recovery. Our guide uses clear, accessible language appropriate for suvivors and the people who want to support and serve them. The guide was first published in December 2011. The second edition was published in November 2012. These three editions of 3000 copies have been distributed free to public and non-profit organizations and professionals throughout Turkey who serve women, girls and families coping with the aftermath of sexual abuse. 

The following volunteers contributed time, energy and skills for the translation, cultural adaptation and distribution of our guide:

Merve Kan, Aylin Ülkümen, Melikenaz Yalçın, Seda Meseli, Büşra Zeynep Çoşar, Işıl Bilican, Fatma Akansel, Filiz Dalkılıç, Sevinç Unal, Piyale Cömert, Rauf Kenan Arun, and Kemal Arıkan

Trauma Treatment Group Research

Beginning in March 2009 Pomegrante Connection completed five trauma treatment research groups. Nearly 50 women with significant effects from past sexual abuse were referred from around Ankara by psychiatrists, agencies and word of mouth. Upon completion of our 12 week treatment program, and at the six month follow up meetings, participants expressed major satisfaction with the results of their treatment. Many women found the support so helpful they have continued to meet with one another for self help. A group of women who completed the group treatment also developed community consciousness raising groups in Ankara. The movement to develop community based services for violence against women is gathering momentum around Turkey.

Quantitative and qualitative data were gathered and analyzed toward designing a culturally appropriate model for these urban, Turkish sexual abuse survivors. (Articles about this research are listed and linked in our publications page.)

Our groups have served women from a range of different class and educational backgrounds, homemakers, university students, sex workers, nurses, novelists, cleaning ladies and lawyers. The common denominator is that all have suffered traumatic affects from sexual and other forms of abuse.

Training for Service Providers

Women who have experienced sexual or family violence receive services in a variety of organizations and settings. We provide training for service providers in how best to identify, assess, support and refer for appropriate treatment women who have encountered violence, or who have developed symptoms of trauma. Organizations where we have provided training include: UNFPA, Istar Women's Counseling Center, Mersin; Turkish Justice Ministry, Department of Probation, Victims Services, Ankara and Gaziantep; UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Ankara; Greater Metropolitan Gaziantep Municipality; Bahçeşehir University Law School; The Bursa District Governor's office for Women's Status; Izmir Social Solidarity Association; Women's Platform Against Sexual Violence; Eskişehir Greater Municipality Women's Counseling Center.

Clinical Research Team, Ankara

Our clinical team included:

Dr. Leyla Welkin an American clinical cross-cultural psychologist. She initiated and manages this project.

Dr. Selcuk Candansayar, a male Turkish psychiatrist who has practiced in many settings in Turkey, and founded a center for treatment of women affected by violence. He currently teaches in a university medical school psychiatric residency program and has published cross cultural research.

Dr. Aslihan Sayin, a female psychiatrist with significant experience as a psychotherapist and a group psychotherapist. She teaches in a university medical school psychiatric residency program and has published cross-cultural research.


Shelter House Worker's Training and Support

In October of 2009 Leyla Welkin began providing consultation and training support to the staff of the Çankaya Municipality shelter house for women and children. Women in this shelter house, supported by the municipal government of the central district in the nation's capital, come from all around Turkey. Ankara is a magnet for women fleeing abuse in other parts of Turkey. The anonymity of the big city, government social support agencies, and the idea that jobs can be found here draws women who feel they have nowhere to turn. The staff is generally young, idealistic, and not highly experienced. For two years our support and training strengthened services in this shelter originally founded in 2008.

Trauma Treatment Providers Training

A skilled cadre of therapists is needed to provide trauma therapy for women who have been abused. There are not enough therapists in Turkey with up to date knowledge and skills to provide effective treatment for sexual trauma to women. Our team has provided training to psychologists, psychiatrists and others who may treat trauma survivors. We focus especially on group treatment for the effects of sexual trauma.

Positive Sexuality Workshops

In addition to working with women who have been abused, we have launched programs for women without a history of abuse. Any woman who wants to learn to enjoy and express herself more fully and comfortably as a physical, sexual, feminine being may benefit. Issues explored include body awareness, positive aspects of being a woman and, women's special assets. 

These programs provide us with valuable opportunities to serve a more general population of women. We learn about how they are similar to and different from seriously traumatized women. This program also broadens the reach of the project to women from a variety of life circumstances who are interested in exploring and affirming the benefits of being a woman, positive body awareness, and female sexuality.