After reading my first critical reflection paper the one thought that keeps scrolling in my brain is, “how naive I have been concerning IVP/domestic violence”. I remember not wanting to “label” myself as a “victim” because “I am and was not ever a VICTIM! ” I was strong and able to leave that relationship so how does that make me a victim? How naive for me to think in that manner. I like to rename this “Critical Reflection Paper II, to “Enlightenment Paper”. I also have been taught a new word to replace “victim”, I am a survivor! My experience may not have been as sever as others but just the same, I am a survivor if IVP.
Trecall in our text, chapter 2 pg. 29, “Women’s perceptions and reactions to abuse, as well as the help available to them, are influenced by the lens through which they see the world and the intersectionality of the different cultural influences on their lives” (Lockhart, L. , and Danis, F. 2010). Our experiences are defined by how we see the world, not by how the world sees our experiences/situations. Tignorantly thought that if someone wanted out of a relationship then they should “just leave”, they should just make up their mind and go, it isn’t hard, I managed to do it so why can’t others?
Well, this course opened up my eye to why it is so dangerous for some people to just up and go and there are so many factors that come into play. I did not have any children during my experience, and was able to leave safely due to the fact my husband had been deployed over seas and unable to reach me. I was already at home with my family, safe when he returned, I was financially supported through my own job and family, therefore did not have the fear of economic hardships. Learning how to establish a safety plan opened my eyes to just how detailed and meticulous it needs to be and can be to leave a abusive relationship safely.
Working through this process also helped me see how this process can empower the survivor even if they decide to stay. Learning how to teach the survivor coping mechanisms to employ during a “attack” can also empower the survivor as well, I had never thought of these techniques and especially how they can make the survivor stronger and hopefully help give him/her strength needed to decide to leave. Even when deciding to stay, the strength it takes to make that decision is mesmerizing to say the least, to decide for their safety or their children’s safety to endure the abuse is the definition of power!
To be able to help these survivors see this within themselves is key, whether they leave or stay, and helping in any way possible is success. In our discussion week 11, we were asked how to advocate at the micro, mezzo, and macro level for survivors of IPV. In my discussion I discussed the possibility of educating teens on the middle school and high school level on IPV, and the effects it has on ones life. To provide education on hotlines, and resources for those touched personally, or second hand by domestic violence would help drastically the ones in need.
I feel if we could get on a macro level with this and implement a required presentation, wether it be in a gymnasium, or in homeroom class, just once a year and then post bulletin boards with hotline numbers etc. so the children can anonymously get the information needed, would increase awareness and help prevent people from having to experience this in the first place. Throughout this course I recall thinking, “if I would have known about these resources or options, maybe I could have avoided some of the pain and hurt”.
Educating is the key to empowerment. The last thing I want to cover in this “enlightenment” are two things. I was asked at the end of my first reflection paper “would you be able to help those that decided to stay? ” Thanks to this learning experience, yes I feel I would. I have learned how to help those who decide to stay, and teach and educate them in how to empower themselves in their unique situation. No abusive situation is the same as another, they my be similar but every survivor has their own story and situation.
As a social worker we have to be ready to help and teach each survivor their own course of action to take in their unique situation. Second, I am so thankful in our discussion week 6, I had mentioned family counseling, more thinking of the survivor and child counseling but was informed that family counseling was not feasible when it involves IPV, that this could escalate the situation to dangerous levels. I had not considered this prior and am thankful for being made aware of this potential danger now.