Wireless Phones Help Protect Battered Women

ORANGEBURG, NY — Continuing its ongoing commitment to assist victims of domestic violence, Verizon Wireless, formerly Bell Atlantic Mobile, recently donated 10 wireless phones to Sakhi, a Manhattan-based agency that works to end violence against South Asian women. Sakhi, which means "woman friend," serves South Asian women in all five boroughs of New York City.

The phones will be distributed through Sakhi to women at risk of repeated violence. Programmed to dial 9-1-1 at the touch of a button, the phones will allow women to contact police immediately when they feel threatened.

"These phones will offer women added protection as they try to re-build their lives," said Prema Vora, executive director of Sakhi for South Asian Women. "The first woman to receive a phone is moving back to her home and is worried about her personal safety. Even though her husband was ordered to leave, she is afraid that he will return."

Founded in 1989, Sakhi works to empower South Asian women and create a safe environment for them. Sakhi conducts monthly support groups for survivors of domestic violence, provides referrals for legal and medical assistance, and helps women obtain public assistance, job training, housing and other social services. All Sakhi's services are free and confidential.

Vora said many South Asian battered women do not use mainstream social services and shelters due to language barriers, cultural differences and immigration status. Crisis calls to Sakhi's Manhattan office number near 50 each month. Last year the non-profit agency served more than 250 women.

"Domestic violence is a growing problem that cuts across all income levels, cultures and geographic areas," said Charles Hand, president of Verizon Wireless' New York Metro Region. "These phones will help women as they look for a way out of their abusive situations and start new lives for their families."

Verizon Wireless, formerly Bell Atlantic Mobile, has donated more than 1,300 wireless phones to victims of domestic violence in New York and New Jersey during the past three years as part of its Wireless At Work community service program. In addition, since January 1999, the company has recycled more than 12,000 phones for use by victims as well as crossing guards, community patrols and senior citizens in need of emergency communications.


About Verizon WirelessVerizon Wireless is the largest wireless communications provider in the U.S. with over 16 million wireless voice and data customers and nearly 4 million paging customers. The new coast-to-coast wireless provider was formed by the combination of the U.S. wireless businesses of Bell Atlantic Corp.(NYSE:BEL) and Vodafone AirTouch Plc (LSE:VOD; NYSE:VOD). The new company includes the assets from Bell Atlantic Mobile, AirTouch Cellular, PrimeCo Personal Communications and AirTouch Paging. Verizon Wireless will be further strengthened by the addition of the U.S. wireless assets of GTE Corp. (NYSE:GTE) when it completes its merger with Bell Atlantic. When the merger is complete, the new company will have a footprint covering nearly 90% of the U.S. population, 49 of the top 50 and 96 of the top 100 U.S. markets. Verizon Wireless, headquartered in New York City and Bedminster, NJ, is 30,000 employees strong.