Search

The V Word

Advocating to end sexual and domestic violence

Month

December 2012

Coping with Holiday Stress

Holiday’s can be a particularly tough time for survivors of interpersonal violence and abuse.  Many things about holidays and more time with families can be stressful.  Reunions can be reminders of life before the assault.  It can also be a time that survivors have to be around family members that abuse.   It can be difficult for a survivor  to express feelings and talk about their lives if family members aren’t aware of the assault.

According to Dr. Glenn Schiraldi the following six steps can return a survivors’ relationships to being their safety net.

  1. Number one is to accept one’s fears.  This could mean a survivor no longer denying fears about their family members finding out about the assault; not necessarily telling them, but acknowledging the fear of their knowing.
  2. The next step is to replace those ideas that block close relationships.  This could be the thoughts such as “they don’t know the real ‘me’ anymore.”  Survivors should actively reassure themselves that their families love them regardless and know who they really are, even if family doesn’t know everything the survivor has been through.
  3. The third step is to retrain oneself on communication skills if they have been damaged; this could mean standing up for one’s self or expressing affection.
  4. The fourth step is to gradually practice trusting others again.  An example for this would be to allow a person into your world for a bit; maybe share something personal and a point of pride with a close or favorite relative.
  5. Next; step back and notice how family and friends handle conflicts and stress.
  6. Lastly, consider picking up where things were left before the trauma.  Take this moment to ponder how the relationships truly were before and where they could be.  Survivors can envision how their close, intimate relationships should look like and begin working towards that goal.

Holidays bring enough stress, but compounding it with the stress that trauma can bring may seem overwhelming.  However, they can also be a wonderful opportunity to show us again who matters in life and a strong sense of new opportunities in the new year.

 

Advertisements

My upcoming show: The Anti-Violence Advocate

My upcoming show: The Anti-Violence Advocate, is going to be focused on violence and it’s impact on the individual, relationships, families, and our communities.   Violence has great consequences across communities and is integrally linked to oppression of women and marginalized populations, the perpetuation of sexism, racism, heteronormativity, transphobia and other ideologies of domination.

 

Violence is defined by the World Health Organization as intentional use of physical force or power, threatened or actual, against a person or against a group or community that either results in or would have a high likelihood to result in injury, death, psychological harm, maldevelopment or deprivation.

 

 Violence and injuries kill more people aged 1 – 44 than any other cause and results in over 400 billion in medical care annually.  The Center for Disease Control and Prevention consider this to be one the most serious health problems in the United States.  Yet the numbers of violent deaths is only a portion of the story.  Interpersonal violence in the form of child abuse, sexual assault, stalking, domestic violence, dating violence, and human trafficking for sexual exploitation effects 1 in 4 or more of women and 1 in 8 or more of males.  Survivors are left with permanent physical and emotional scars that can change lives forever by impacting mental health, impairing social functioning and slowing economic and social development, and require ongoing intervention.  But here again, the impact on the survivor is only part of the story.  Violence erodes our communities by increasing costs and demands on medical care, reducing productivity, decreasing property values, and disrupting social services.  The range of interpersonal violence I described contributes to truancy, unemployment, unplanned pregnancies, communicable diseases, unhealthy relationships, substance abuse and dependency, and reduction or loss of income. 

 

Violence is perpetuated against more than 25% of our community individually and impacts a 100% of our community.  If violence was a disease, it would be considered an epidemic.  Social forces would mobilize, funders would come out in droves, and programs would be implemented to effect change immediately.  But for violence, that still is not happening consistently or maintained strategically.  And why is that?  As violence is an intentional act, it then bodes the realization that it is preventable.  While some people with mental health disorders may cause violence without understanding what they are doing, most violence is premeditated and planned.  People intentionally make decisions to perpetuate violence against others, with the highest numbers of violence perpetuated against women and members of marginalized communities. 

 

Interpersonal and social factors are related to both the cause and the prevention of violence.  The potentially modifiable factors most associated with levels of violence are concentrated poverty, income disparity, the absence of stable and healthy relationships within families, and (what might be most controversial for some) gender inequality. 

A strategic approach addressing the underlying causes of violence is most effective in preventing violence.  Evidenced-based or scientifically credible strategies to prevent violence include nurse home-visiting and parenting education to prevent child maltreatment; life skills training for children ages 6–18 years; school-based programmes to address gender norms and attitudes; reducing alcohol availability and misuse; reducing access to guns and knives; and promoting gender and racial equality by, for instance, supporting the economic empowerment of women and traditionally marginalized ethnic and cultural groups. 

On-Air for WRIR and Blogging for the Pixel Project

I am excited to begin a couple new projects in my anti-violence work.

On December 9th, my first blog on Rape in War – a small article and a list of 16 resources that range from international organizations, documentaries, books, and news articles will appear on The Pixel Project Website – 16 for 16 Days of Activism.  I am proud to be part of the 16 for 16 Days of Activism to end violence against women.  I have spent the last 6 years focused on running a local rape crisis center and centered on response and direct education for a small regional community.  It was a great opportunity and learning element to turn my focus on sexual assault in the context of war and conflict.  When looking at rape in communities, families, and organizations; you become focused on the known predator of interpersonal crime and address the issue of sexual assault with a single survivor and family.  Sexual assault as a war crime brings home the link to larger issues of sexual assault as a part of society’s response to conflict.  The numbers of victims becomes a global number and is staggering, the extended families as secondary survivors is even more staggering when looked at as a group.  My research for this simple blog brought home the enormous amount of crime that accompanies war and conflict.  Crime that is overlooked or ignored.  The impact of trauma on the survivors, the families, and the community that will carry on is equally enormous and with the reduction of resources that happens in war, will be even more difficult to address and treat.   The impact of these crimes will continue even when peace is obtained.

My other project is going to be a weekly short spot on my local radio station WRIR  (Richmond Independent Radio).  I begin taping this weekend with the spots to be starting after the New Year.  I so look forward to sharing information on the social impact of interpersonal violence (sexual assault, stalking, domestic violence, dating violence, trafficking) that are at epidemic levels in our communities.  More to come!

 

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: