where is the line?
September 5, 2008, 8:42 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , ,

the whole underlying idea behind advocating is that you are there to support, empower and validate someone, to respect their actions and choices and not stomp them with your preconceptions. only it’s not always easy. i came across one of these situation a couple of weeks ago, as i was playing with the children of a woman that came to talk to our legal advocates. we were drawing animals and people together, and i added speech bubbles and asked them what to write in them.

one of the kids eagerly responded “i love god!”, which i wrote. the girls then asked me if i go to church, and let me know that god is against tattoos. “the bible says you shouldn’t have tattoos, it makes god sad”. i looked at her for a bit, smiled, thanked her for the information, and let her told her i had no idea the bible said “no tattoos”.

once the mom heard what we were talking about she shared that she has asked for help repeatedly in her church community regarding the abuse in her relationship, and the ubiquitous answer she got was “you should pray more”. she didn’t say it bitterly or sarcastically. she said that she prayed and prayed but things were not changing. she said that she was gonna continue praying in hope god would help her change things for the better.

my mind went blank. i nodded and validated the fact that people have many ways to feel stronger, or to cope with violence and that every path is personal and can be helpful.

as a person that experienced in first person the carelessness of the religious community, masked as concern as a child, i had a hard time keeping it to myself. my mother asked for help from her church community all throughout my childhood, and the response she got was to pray, and to keep her family together, because that’s what god wanted. no matter how much violence, degradation and danger there was to her familial reality. to this day my parents are separated and not divorced, because of fear of being excommunicated from the church.

the woman and her children left shortly after she started talking about her experience with the church, and i was left asking myself: where is the line?

on scene advocate manual
August 6, 2008, 2:41 pm
Filed under: gender violence | Tags: , , , , ,

i just finished putting together the new on scene advocate manual .

it may sound really cryptic, but it simply is an information book for people learning to become advocates for survivors of domestic violence ans sexual assault.

i am posting it because i think it’s really useful to  anyone wanting to learn more about gender violence, and for anyone wanting to be a better ally for their friends, family and  loved ones that have been through that experience.

i hope it’s useful. here is the link  OSA MANUAL