WISH, we also recognize that violence is a tool that women use. Many women
have developed aggressive street persona as a way to survive the street. Rarely
does the literacy literature mention violence as something that women participate
These coping strategies bring violence and aggression into the WISH Drop-In
and Learning Centre. It is both a challenge to work with the individual and
safe learning settings for other women. Understanding aggression as self-expression
finding ways and environments to transform aggression in street women is critical
to developing literacy programs for this group.
workers share many of the experiences that are described in the literature
they are further stigmatized by their drug addictions and
work in the sex-trade.
There are many public places where the women do not feel safe or welcome.
Even in women’s centres many feel judged by other “non-working” women. For years,
police and judicial systems did not address the systematic disappearances of
women in the Downtown Eastside. Many people do not believe that women are ready
to learn until they have dealt with their addictions and chosen a new way of
believe that literacy, learning and self-expression have a strong role to play
in the lives of women at WISH. We hope this research will begin to map this
be helpful to other programs across the country.