Thursday, December 10, 2015

What Youth Work Means to me?

Youth Workers are often mistaken or grouped with teachers. Although both careers fields help to foster youth in a positive direction by providing them with the necessary skills to utilize in society, youth workers in my opinion are on a different level. To me, youth workers play a variety of roles. We are: mentors, teachers*, advocates, and students. We teach but we also learn from  youth. We all come from different backgrounds, posses different experiences, and different lifestyles.

We do not work by a timeline. Our "lesson plans" are not drafted by a school board. We unlike teachers have to freedom to be innovative. We help guide youth in positive directions by providing them with opportunities to develop or build leadership skills.This could be giving youth a project to develop a community garden or planning a conference   By providing leadership opportunities to youth who are an oppressed group, we are giving them a voice. A chance to be heard.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Event # 3: Private Violence Screening at the Providence Community Library

 As some of you may already know I work at the Women's Center on campus. Some of  our top goals are; to spread awareness around not only around the RIC community but the outside community as well about inequalities between  men and women, providing a safe haven for anybody that wants to talk, and proving informational pamphlets on Sojourner House, Breast Cancer facilities and workshops at the hospitals. I have enclosed a link to our Facebook page if anybody wants to see the events we have put on in the last year.
This brings me to an event hosted by the Providence Community Library November 26th, 2015. The PCL was  screening a documentary entitled Private Violence. It centered around two women: a domestic violence advocate Kit Gruelle and Deana Walters, a woman who was consistently beaten by her husband, kidnapped, and had her daughter taken away from her by child services as a result. She leaves him after realizing that he was never going to change and files a lawsuit against her already incarcerated husband for kidnapping and felony assault. I will include another link so you can see for yourself how much she suffered at the hands of her husband. However,I do have to warn you. The pictures are graphic and might trigger something.

            Throughout the documentary, I came across a lot of victim blaming. Deana was asked by many people even members of her family,” Why didn't you just leave, this would have never happened if you had just packed up your things, your daughter and moved back in here with us”. The women were blamed for the situation they were in. Their family and “friends” essentially blamed them for the violence that was directed at them. 
            I believe male privilege was also an underlying effect displayed. It felt as though these women who were fighting for their rights were constantly fighting a lose lose battle against the system. The system being 90% male. One of the judges actually said, “There is nothing I can do for her because she hasn't been beaten bad enough for any judge to help her retain a restraining order”. When I heard that statement I could not believe this man, who sits on the judicial board had the nerve to say something so entrapping. If the system can't help someone who is being abused by their husband or wife, I have to include men because they can be victims of domestic violence, then they are going to feel as though they are less than in the eyes of the law.
Deanna and Kitt
Kitt Gruelle wants to see change. She could have given two or three days out of her week and volunteered at a shelter, not that there is anything wrong with that but that wasn't what she wanted to do. She wanted and still wants to fight for the rights for every victim of domestic violence. She does not want to do it part time, she wants to do it every single day for the rest of her life.
Some people may say, why don't you just leave but they do not know how hard it is to do that. When you are told 100 times a day that you are nothing and that you are to blame for everything that has happened to you, you start to actually believe it. People should remember that before they start to pass judgement. 
 Below are some resources:

Event# 2: Sojourner House

The mission of Sojourner House is to provide culturally sensitive support, advocacy, safety and respect for victims of domestic abuse and to effect systems change. 

 Vision Statement: Sojourner House envisions a world where everyone lives their life free from domestic abuse.
               On November 16th, the Women's Center( located in the lower level of Donovan Dining- right before the Unity Center) sponsored a Domestic Violence Workshop with Sojourner House of Rhode Island. Gloria Greenfield, the manager of community workshops within Sojourner House presented a seminar on Dating Violence and Sexual Assault Prevention. 

 Initially, she asked us to define dating violence. Her definition covered all the bases that some people often overlook.
"A pattern of physical, sexual, verbal, emotional abusive behavior in a relationship. As the pattern continues, the abuser uses emotional manipulation and/or physical domination to gain control and power over his or her partner".

Once we covered the definition, she talked about physical, sexual, verbal, and emotional abuse. As she began to talk about verbal abuse, I began to think about a certain person in my life. Her husband has a tendency to embarrass her in front of people just to attention.When she is with her family, he calls close to 10 times to tell her minor things that could have been said at a later time. Everything she does has to be approved by him. If not, there is an argument. 

Ms. Greenfield also taught us how to approach someone we believe to be in an abusive relationship. We must not allow our emotions to take over the situation. Instead we should do the following

Believe him/her.

Validate his/her feelings & strength.

Help friend devise a safety plan.

Emphasize that it is not friend’s fault.

Give suggestions but do not tell friend what to do. Support them in making their own decision, no matter what they decides.

Provide resource information.

Protect their right to confidentiality; it is their choice to tell others or not.

Do not confront the abuser. The abuse may get worse or you may be in danger yourself. 

We all think and believe different things. One person's situation may not be another person's situation. It may be easy for a woman or man with one child to leave their abuser but it may be difficult for a woman or man with four children, no family, and no money to leave their abuser. We must remember these things before we say,"Why don't you just leave?"