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Body Love – Mary Lambert

31 Jan

“The time for us has to reclaim our bodies.”

We love you, Mary Lambert. Thank you.

16 Days of Action to Support Survivors of Domestic Violence

25 Nov

refuge logo - pink outline of a supporting hand. caption reads: for women and children. against domestic violence.

Every year, the 16 days between the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on 25th November and Human Rights Day on 10th December are internationally recognised as 16 Days of Action to End Violence Against Women.

Sisters of Resistance is participating in fundraising efforts for Refuge, the UK’s largest charity for survivors of domestic violence. Every day, they help more than 2,000 women and children who experience domestic violence, providing emergency accommodation and emotional and practical support.

A gift of any size can help:

£2 could provide an emergency pack for a woman fleeing a crisis situation.

£5 could help advocates secure an injunction against a violent partner.

£10 could allow an outreach worker to visit one woman in her home or a safe location to develop a safety plan, advise on housing and employment

£25 could pay for psychologists to work with 12 children and help them to overcome the trauma of abuse.

Please help us to resist the effects of domestic violence by supporting this charity’s vital work.

Make a donation here.

Thank you!

Drop the Case against Marissa Alexander

1 Oct

from the Free Marissa Now Facebook page:

YOUR URGENT ACTION NEEDED!

DEMAND THAT FLORIDA OFFICIALS DROP THE CASE AGAINST MARISSA ALEXANDER!

Write, call, fax, email — tell Florida officials to drop the case against Marissa Alexander. Stop the trauma — free this momma!

Mandatory Minimums

Last week the Florida Appeals Court overturned Marissa’s conviction because of extreme errors in the case: rather than being presumed innocent until proven guilty, Marissa’s persecutors put the burden of proof on her. This is opposite to the most basic principles of the U.S. legal system.

Call, write, fax or email State Prosecutor Angela Corey, State Attorney General Pam Bondi, and Florida Governor Rick Scott to demand that they drop the case now. Marissa Alexander did no wrong. Do not subject this domestic violence survivor and mother to another trial. This innocent woman has already served three years.

Here is preliminary information about how to contact these officials. More information and sample letters will follow soon. But please take action now and start spreading the word now!

Office of Attorney General Pam Bondi
State of Florida
The Capitol PL-01
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1050
Phone: 850-414-3300
Email: http://myfloridalegal.com/contact.nsf/contact?Open&Section=Citizen_Services

Angela Corey, State Prosecutor
Courthouse Annex
220 East Bay Street
Jacksonville, FL 32202
(904) 348-2720
(904) 630-2400
Fax (904) 348-2783

Office of Governor Rick Scott
State of Florida
The Capitol
400 S. Monroe St.
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0001
(850) 717-9337

E-mail: rick.scott@eog.myflorida.com

More information on Marissa’s case at the Free Marissa Now! Tumblr

20 Questions That Are Better Than “Why Don’t You Have a Boyfriend?”

23 Jun

Women under patriarchy are too often defined not by their own personal development and accomplishments, but instead by the stage they have reached in the patriarchal, heteronormative narrative of dating, boyfriend, live-in, engaged, married, children. We find that we and our wider circle of female friends are constantly subjected to questions regarding where we are on this timeline. This is a means of judgment and a primary way that others participate in socially pressuring you to conform, by constantly reminding you what is expected.

If you reject these questions or are not making what is deemed as the right progress, you are punished, othered, and excluded for your non-participation. In patriarchal society, single women are pathologized, especially as they get older. In contrast, being in a long-term relationship with a man is seen as “success.” But just being in a relationship doesn’t mean you are doing well.

In addition to being too personal for most people to be asking you, questions such as the below:

  • Are you dating?
  • Do you have a boyfriend?
  • Do you live together?
  • Are you engaged?
  • Are you married?
  • Do you have any children? Do you want to have children?
  • When do you want to/are you going to have children?

are NOT IMPORTANT. They are irrelevant and useless as measures of how well you are doing in your life. The only reason anyone would ask you these questions is so they can assess and judge you against heteronormative, patriarchal criteria. They also use your answers to compare themselves against you and justify their own lives and actions.

Rejecting the intrusive list of questions above, we have created a list of 20 questions we can ask ourselves to assess our well-being. This type of self-evaluation is feminist, non-heteronormative, and has a balanced view of our relationships with ourselves and others, partner or partners, rather than basing all of our worth and well-being on a single intimate partner.

For the sake of coherence and convenience, we have sorted the questions into 4 categories: Relationship with Self, Relationships with Others, Space and Time. If you find yourself answering “no” to any of these questions, we encourage you to focus attention on these areas and take steps towards a healthier and happier you.

RELATIONSHIP WITH SELF

1. Are you happy?

2. Do you feel fulfilled?

3. Are you eating/sleeping well? Do you get enough exercise and fresh air?

4. What are the areas of your life in which you are challenging yourself to grow?

5. Are there any habits or patterns you would like to change?

RELATIONSHIPS WITH OTHERS

6. Do the significant people in your life treat you with respect?

7. Do you feel free to make your own choices?

8. How are your relationships with family and/or friends?

9. Do you know when it is appropriate or necessary to put up boundaries with particular people?

10. Do you have the capability and know-how to put those boundaries up and hold them?

SPACE

11. Are you comfortable and satisfied with your living situation?

12. Do the environments you inhabit make you feel alert and clear-headed/restful and peaceful?

13. Do you have a low-stress strategy for dealing with mess, clutter, and household chores?

14. What can you do to make your environment or surroundings better reflect you/your personality?

15. What can you do to make your environment more refreshing or relaxing?

TIME

16. Do you make some time for yourself every day?

17. Can you be spontaneous with your plans and decisions?

18. Are you spending enough quality time with family and/or friends?

19. When you are feeling highly stressed, pressured and overworked, do you take the time to address your needs?

20. Are you able to say “no” in order to avoid overcommitment?

Are you sick of being defined by your relationship status? What are some better ways you can evaluate your well-being? Any suggestions or additions to this list, please leave them in the comments below.

Self-Care Guide for Survivors

16 May

We wrote this brief self-care guide for people who have experienced trauma, especially rape and sexual assault. It suggests a number of practical ways to cope with the day-to-day stresses of being a survivor. Please take it, share it, and tailor it to your own needs. We hope it is helpful to you on your journey towards healing. 

Reminder: Take Care of Myself

1.    Clear your space of the things that will trigger you. Toss their stuff out, Febreze rooms of their smell, delete pictures and emails and messages in your phone. Your trauma is real, and you don’t need external reminders of it.

2.    Exercise. Walk, run, stretch, swim, move. Do whatever you need to get your body to breathe. Massage tight places to release tension. Energy can get stuck there and you may not notice it for years. Moving your body allows it to talk to you, tell you what it needs. Be sure to listen.

Eat right. Raw fruits and vegetables are your friends. Even if you don’t feel like eating, stay hydrated. Keeping physically healthy helps you hold on. You are precious, like water; the world cannot afford to lose even a single drop.

3.    Get familiar with your coping mechanisms. Make connections between your experiences of stress and drinking, or stress and drugs, or smoking, shopping, eating or not eating. Rate your coping mechanisms from good-for-you! to “bad” and “worst”. Aim to do more of the good, less of the bad, and eliminate those in the “worst” by substituting in better things. Don’t beat yourself up when you fall off, but have a plan in place for how to get back on.

4.    Stop blaming yourself. The story of your transition from victim to survivor is your vehicle to this. It will take some work but remember you are the protagonist, whoever hurt you is a bad person, and now you are writing how the story will end. If this method seems to wear thin, watch Staceyann Chin videos as often as you like to remind yourself that what happened to you was not your fault.

5.    You have already been through the war, but as in battle, it is good to know the difference between a strategy and a tactic. Strategies are long-range plans to reach an intended goal. First comes the goal. Make it a positive one in the present tense, for example, I love myself, so I take care of my body. The strategy might then be to practice loving yourself from one moment to the next.

Tactics are the baby steps you take to make your strategy happen. A variety is needed for the many roads you’ll encounter. For example: when I feel like throwing up, I will leave the bathroom, take 5 deep breaths, sip peppermint tea. Or: when I want to self-harm, I will put on my jacket and go for a walk. Or: when I can’t stop crying, I will write in my journal. I will do yoga. I will call a friend. Use your tactics to support the hard work of day-to-day survival.

6.    Listen to yourself. You know more than you give yourself credit for: when to stop, when to seek help, when to steel yourself and push through the pain. Turn off the TV when the show starts to trigger you; leave the theatre when the film twists your insides into a knot. Speak your truth when a. you feel safe enough to do so, or b. when silence poses the greater danger. Force yourself to unplug from all digital devices when it is 3AM and you need to be up in the morning. Quiet the mind and open yourself to the sound of your inner voice. It is there to protect you, to keep you free, safe and out of harm’s way.

7.    When you meet anyone who doesn’t believe you, won’t listen to you, or reminds you of what happened, walk away. Don’t look back. Boundaries exist for a reason – use them. Don’t feel guilty for deleting their texts, not answering their calls, or responding to their mail. You owe them nothing. The future is a gift you should give to yourself. The occasion is imminent, and the best time is now.

What are some of your top self-care tips, strategies and tactics?

Put them in the comments below.