The BG-based Cocoon Shelter opened its doors eight years
ago to provide shelter and assistance to women and their
children fleeing domestic violence situations. But the social
service agency has expanded its Wood County-based services to
24-hour advocacy, support and crisis intervention; help
obtaining protection orders, crime victim compensation, medical
care and meeting basic needs.
“I’m happy and excited because I’m going to a subject that
matters to me, which is women’s rights and domestic violence
advocacy,” she said. “I’m definitely starting a new network in
Wood County. I’m starting fresh. I’m starting all over. It’s a
But there is some familiarity with Latino groups in the Bowling
Green area for her already. She and Beatriz Maya,
formerly of the Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC),
are both natives of Argentina. Ms. Maya recently worked with
others to launch a BG-based group: La Conexión de Wood
It is expected that La Conexión will work with Cocoon
Shelter staff to help
Latino families develop financial literacy, economic
independence, and plug in to area support groups—in addition to
domestic violence-related services.
“In terms of domestic violence, all my networking will be
starting over. All my connections and everything I’ve done
before is here in Lucas County, so that part is very exciting,”
she said. “The legal system, the courts, they have their own
system, so I have to get familiar with all of that. But to
extend what I’ve done in Lucas County to Wood County, that’s the
Ms. Annoni will continue the work of a non-profit organization
she founded in Toledo known as El Centro de
la Mujer, whose mission is to
bicultural/bilingual social services to Latins in Northwest Ohio
through education, advocacy, and empowerment. The
organization also receives support from Toledo Area
Ministries. She called that a “win-win.” Ms. Annoni,
however, will move activities of El Centro from Monday to
Sunday, where she assists over 20 Latinas. Ms. Annoni will also
continue her editing with La Prensa and La Revista.
“They really want to embrace the Latino culture, open the doors
to more Latinas,” she said. “It’s a huge problem in every
culture. But it’s the way the family works. Sometimes domestic
violence is not seen as a crime or something that the women
don’t deserve because of the family structure.”
Ms. Annoni expects to work extensively in rural Wood County,
reaching out to migrant farmworker families—especially during
the growing season as a means of “extending the services of the
shelter and going out to the fields.”
The Cocoon Shelter has expanded its outreach, meaning Ms. Annoni
and others now have access to office space in Perrysburg and
North Baltimore, in addition to the Bowling Green area.
“I’m excited to be working with people who are highly
professional and are passionate about what they do,” she said.
Ms. Annoni believes she will be able to relate to Latina
domestic violence victims, because she, too, was an immigrant at
one point in her life.
“My mother was raised on a farm, so I saw how she migrated in
Argentina and the challenges that she went through,” she said.
“Sometimes, we as immigrants, we as Latinas, want to keep doing
the same things we did in our own country. It doesn’t work like
that in a new mainstream society.”
Ms. Annoni stated that Latinas from immigrant families tend to
“close off” because they have trouble assimilating to life in
the U.S., as well as typically face a language barrier.
“Our main support system is our family, and most migrants don’t
have their families here,” she explained. “That’s a challenge
right there. Where are you going to go? You don’t speak the
language. Who’s going to understand? Remember, this is the
father of our children and we committed to do this. What are our
families going to say?”
October also happens to be Domestic Violence Awareness Month,
a time for the community to come together and build awareness
and a movement towards safe and healthy relationships for all
individuals and families.
Domestic violence touches every person in a community and
society as a whole; and violates a person’s dignity, safety, and
basic human rights. Families can find more information about
Domestic Violence Awareness Month and shelter services at
Ms. Annoni has a five-year counseling degree from the University
of Buenos Aires and has been actively involved in Bandana
Projects for the past four years. She is a board member of
Cleveland-based Ohio Alliance to End Sexual Violence.
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