Every Woman is a Willpowered Woman

Meet Caitlin! I got a chance to sit down with CEO Caitlin D’Aprano who is the Founder of the nonprofit, Willpowered Woman. She began research in 2014 and founded Willpowered Woman in 2016. Willpowered Woman focuses on empowering young women aged 16–34. They educate at high schools, universities, colleges and businesses to prevent intimate partner abuse through different mediums such as talks, lectures, workshops and classes. They also provide one-on-one support for women who have been affected by intimate partner abuse.

Last year, Willpowered Woman held an event at ECO-SYSTM with guest speaker Fiona Ma! One of the priority areas for Willpowered Woman is teaching young women to always have certain aspects of their lives in order because abusers look for people who are vulnerable and easy to manipulate. At the end of this article, you can find her tips for self-empowerment.

Caitlin decided to start Willpowered Woman when, from her own personal experience, she discovered that women without children, who were often younger, didn’t have services as readily available to them as women with children. Through her abusive relationship, Caitlin was experiencing forced pregnancy where her husband was trying to sabotage their birth control plan in order to get her pregnant and subsequently, trap her in the marriage. As soon as the relationship became violent, Caitlin escaped to an emergency shelter and it was there she heard other survivors stories of forced pregnancy. This caused her to delve in to the topic deeper where she discovered that forced pregnancy happened to 1 in 4 women in abusive relationships. She saw that in effect, by not giving the support women without children need, the cycle of forced pregnancy will continue. Caitlin started this business because she wants every woman to know they are a Willpowered woman!

Caitlin has been at ECO-SYSTM for almost a year now and says that ECO-SYSTM stands apart from other coworking spaces that she has tried in San Francisco. She loves the design aspect of the space, that everything seems so well thought out and that the branding has a cohesiveness about it. She loves the Mirus Art Gallery on the third floor because it “elevates her mood and makes her feel happier and more joyous being around beautiful pieces of art” Coming from a luxury fashion background, Caitlin appreciated good, thoughtful design and knows that it has the power to move people.

In her free time Caitlin enjoys scenic drives, bikram yoga, walking, salsa dancing, hip hop, and hanging out with friends. She also says that meeting new people is always a significant part of running a startup. Even when she is out socializing, she is always manages to find mutually beneficial relationships and determines how certain people could fit into the Willpowered Woman equation.

Feel free to reach out to Caitlin if you ever want to learn more about how she helps many amazing women throughout the Bay Area!

Read below for some tips that Caitlin has to share!

Aspirations, goals and self-esteem

  • First and foremost — believe in yourself. It doesn’t matter what anyone else says if you believe in yourself!
  • Trust your instincts and act on those instincts.
  • When you see things in your relationship that you don’t like and you decide to stay, you start to play a role in your own victimization. It’s not easy to leave, but it is the best option: figure it out before it’s too late and you have no more emotional and mental strength left.
  • When you start to see warning signs in your relationship, write them down and continue to add to that list: this will pull you out of denial and will help you leave sooner.
  • Know who you are and do not compromise yourself in a relationship: a relationship should add to your already amazing life.
  • Self-esteem is built by the things you do and what you have accomplished in your life, so always endeavor to set goals and work towards them.
  • Never be financially reliant on a partner: always be able to stand on your own.
  • Never give up on what you truly want: if a partner is not supporting you, it’s time to say goodbye to them.

Finances

  • Always have your own bank account: do not share bank accounts with a partner/husband/wife.
  • Do not have joint credit cards with a partner/husband/wife.
  • Have an emergency stash of cash that only you know about of $10,000.
  • If you do decide to get married, never merge your finances with your husband/wife.

Maintaining Clarity in a Relationship

  • Do not make concessions for bad behavior that continues to happen over and over again.
  • Check in with yourself: does your partner’s actions match what they say? Actions speak louder than words.
  • Have you ever caught your partner in a lie and they deflect by blaming you or starting a fight?
  • If you are feeling emotionally overtaken by a relationship and it feels intense, have a few days to yourself to get clarity on whether the relationship is working for you or not.
  • Constantly re-evaluate if your relationship is working for you.
  • Know that abuse is all about control and that’s the clear distinction between abuse and non-abuse.
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