Theory vs Experience

Its fantastic to have research and advocacy highlight the importance of mothers and children's experience of violence. It is when some of these people can no longer see human beings, but perceive them as subjects and then it goes a little further to "subjective" until the human being is no longer human being but a lab rat or perhaps the grounding of the pedestal that platforms their persona to an existence of where they are deluded to believe that they are a deity amongst human beings. With respect to the hard work and efforts it takes to produce research, I add this caution based upon some experience with this kind of arrogance. Its more of a problem when the value of survivors is marketed to the rest of the world as a problem, something very common in psychiatry among other areas. The diminishing of survivors and victims is part of the problem, whilst we have the stats, that commentary with the names of those who wrote it in bold with the invisible plight of victims.

This kind of attitude, "Look at me, I am so good helping victims". Whilst it is important that people who support victims are accredited appropriately, we need to ensure that the victim/survivor is also counted for their heroic act of surviving their ordeal. We often commend people who have survived being lost at sea or where they were confronted by predators in the wild, but shy when it comes down to commending women for surviving their ordeals. Even worst is when an arrogant researcher already profiting from women and children's experience, decides that they are in fact, "the better person" to take control of a grassroots movement when they have not had the experience of being a women or child who has experienced violence against them in this way. When challenged upon this notion adding insult and injury, the response is to make that person out to be the problem.

After all they experienced trauma...

The concern that arises is where that person who may have written based upon office snippets of experience that is always in public space based upon what these people choose to impart to them decides that they are the best person to make decisions based upon thousands of mothers without any consultation.

Forget primary source based decisions where the information was collated at first hand eye witness. Forget the meaningful contributions from survivors. This person has a plan... Six years in the making whilst women and children are dying out there, very little has progressed upon this plan. Much has progressed however on sabotaging and diminishing the value of others plans and strategies. Thats when it becomes very sad. I have met some great researchers who do value the experience and contributions of women and children who have experienced violence against them along with systematic abuses. I am a strong believer in paying more attention to these members, but also ensuring that survivors have a significant say in the participation of organizations that advocate on behalf of women and children.

More and more survivors of child abuse and family violence have gone on to achieve the educative means required to be qualified to advocate and work professionally in these areas. Whilst some institutions have learned to grow with that and become less discriminative of survivors, others use it as an invalid opportunity to exploit their position and thus further their gains in a ruthless, underhanded tactic. It is important to be aware of such people and ensure that whilst their public profile is plausible, they are in fact treating these members with the dignity and respect that they deserve. Otherwise, we have this constant cycle of systematic abuse occurring from many levels and affecting people at a time of their lives when they are most vulnerable. It is all very well to disagree with another on the state of affairs, but when they use their survivor experience as a means to diminish their contributions, then it is an outrageous hypocrisy of their advocacy and every public speech and opinion that they have given.
Many survivors find their own ways of healing and that is very important and a powerful step for them. To automatically assume that they have issues demonstrates a complete lack of insight and understanding into family violence. I would recommend that such persons return to university and perhaps pursue an alternative area of professionalism that does not harm others.


Cold North Wind said...

Sadly- too true. Survivors beware- of any group that purports to want to "help
" you. One MORE blasted thing to guard against.

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Lechuza said...

I am a domestic violence survivor, I found 2 relationships that taught me how to become strong as a woman, sadly one was 10 yrs. and the other was 18 yrs. Now I work as a Domestic Violence Advocate helping other women find their own true strength. It takes a person that has seen and felt the pain, horror and sadness to really deeply understand.

Anonymous said...

This makes me think of yesterdays episode of the View, which they deemed "Women and Addiction." They had on some of the cast of Celebrity Rehab. The Doctor kept skirting issues of exploitation. Mackenzie Phillips was of course on the show. It was interesting though... they brought up issues of addiction and domestic abuse.

Creative Radiance said...

I agree and don't based on teenage years spent in a war torn country where it was not uncommon to be shot at quite randomly. In that particular situation some of the most effective people to affect the violence lived outside it. Those of us in the midst of it were too affected by it, or concerned with more immediate day-to-day or sometimes hour-to-hour violence (even the survival of parents). So I'm simply grateful for those who lived outside the circumstance, politically, militarily, charitably (some of which had to do extensive research to serve it properly). I'm not certain these people could have done the same job being in the midst of the chaos or of it. Their judgement and self congratulation were never considered. For me what was, was that they be effective, saving people. But the violence I speak of might come under a different category than the type, these professionals you speak of study. In this type that springs from the community, the attitude of those "helping," gets lost, as the violence can spring up from anywhere, much like a tornado (coup d'etats). Guess I never developed a concern for the attitude of those surrounding the issues of violence, perhaps why the requirement is absent in me. I can see how in the case of DV or CA a lack of deeper understanding and sensitivity might further damage individuals though. The person to person relationship is comparable to what a person may have just come from...a condescending word might offset trust... *Thought provoking blog.*

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