Monday, June 26, 2017

Violence is Not a Woman's Issue

Jackson Katz says using the passive voice (i.e. what was done to someone rather than who did what) renders men and masculinity as invisible when talking about gender violence.  He contrasts different ways to frame how we talk about violence:
Passive Language                                         Making men’s role in violence active and visible
# of women raped                                            # of men who raped women
# of girls harassed at school                            # of boys who harassed girls at school
# of teen girls who got pregnant                       # of men and boys impregnating teen girls

Monday, June 19, 2017

Gender Inclusivity in Women’s Self-Defense

What does it look like to incorporate gender inclusivity at an organization built around women’s self-defense? This was the topic of discussion for 13 IMPACT Chicago instructors, board members, staff, and volunteers at our recent gender training.


We began by pulling apart the concepts of sex, gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation, as well as the difference between binary and non-binary identities. We practiced IMPACT-specific scenarios on gender neutral language, pronouns, and answering inquiries. We identified aspects of clarity (for example, the Core program is absolutely open to trans women and women of diverse gender expressions), and questions without clear or one-size-fits-all answers, such as: is the Core program a good fit for someone who identifies as agender, or non-binary, or genderqueer?)

While talking about gender diversity and inclusion in IMPACT can seem like entering a new realm, it is really at the core of IMPACT’s work. While we are a self-defense organization for women and girls, IMPACT has always emphasized the diversity of womanhood and the variety of intersecting identities, experiences, and beliefs that each participant brings into a Core program or workshop. Furthermore, our mission calls on us to build a nonviolent world for all people, reflected in our all-gender workshops, bystander support training, and programming at LGBTQ organizations. So in many ways, discussing gender diversity and inclusion is just being more intentional and specific about values that have always been foundational to IMPACT.


As we work to both program for women and for gender inclusion, we believe it’s important to be honest about IMPACT’s strengths as well as limitations. For instance, the Core program may not feel like a great fit for people of all genders as a lot of discussion focuses on the experience of being a woman in our society--but with IMPACT’s 3 decades of expertise and variety of program options,  we can customize other workshops for all types of people. We look forward to ongoing discussions and trainings on this topic, and welcome the challenges and opportunities that come along with respecting and valuing gender diversity.

Rachel Marro
IMPACT Chicago Instructor-in-Training

Editor's Note:
Rachel led our gender workshop. She has 4 years of experience leading programs on LGBTQ identities and inclusion, and currently works at Northwestern University’s Institute for Sexual and Gender Minority Health and Wellbeing.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Bystander Support Workshops

Al Mirsa Collective
IMPACT Chicago had the pleasure of providing three “Speak Up, Speak Out” workshops during the first 100 days of the current administration. Immediately following the 2016 Presidential election, we had an unprecedented number of requests not only to provide training on how to set personal boundaries in the new social climate, but how to use those skills to help others. IMPACT Chicago believes that everyone can and should take care of themselves, and everyone needs help sometimes.

The Chicago Foundation for Women #100DayFund allowed IMPACT Chicago to develop our bystander support curriculum to more fully incorporate discussion about personal safety issues affecting Muslim women and girls; trans women and girls and across the broad range of gender expression; immigrant women; and women and girls of color. Our philosophy holds that gender equity proceeds from finding our voice as women and the use of this voice and body language to set boundaries for the safety of others and ourselves.
Howard Brown

Day 65 March 26, 2017 Al Mirsa Collective

Day 76 April 6, 2017 Howard Brown

Day 96 April 26, 2017 Denim Days
organized by Haute Seeker and Runway Addicts





Denim Days
We have been honored to provide workshops to these communities.







Molly Norris
IMPACT Chicago Instructor
Speak Up, Speak Out Lead Instructor
(with assistance from Martha Thompson and Tara Brinkman)


Editor's Note: To read more about bystander intervention, check out Bystander Intervention is Still Worth the Risk by Alena Schaim, Executive Director, Resolve New Mexico.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Bystander Intervention is Still Worth the Risk

Bystander intervention is always on our minds, and even more so after the horrific violence in Portland this past weekend. While we don't know all the details of this tragic incident, here's what we do know:

Violence is a tool of social control. When people are made to fear being their authentic selves or be out in public (as a woman, as an "out" LGBTQ person, wearing a hijab), their lives become smaller. The impact they make on the world around them is diminished for fear of too much negative attention. The change that they can uniquely affect because of who they are is shuttered. The constant threat of violence naturally has that effect on those who are targeted for violence and hate crimes, which is the intention - conscious or not.

When people act as bystanders, or allies, they agree to share that risk. It hardly ever means shouldering the burden in place of the person affected, but hopefully means diminishing the impact for the target through an act of solidarity. Young people know this when talking about helping someone who is being bullied. Fear that the person will turn on them next is always in the forefront of their minds. As it should be.

Most opportunities for bystander intervention and acts of allyship expose us to less harm than what we witnessed in Portland this past weekend - but all do involve taking on some level of risk. And when we navigate our own levels of risk tolerance, what we're really exploring is "How much am I willing to let this affect how I navigate the world? How much am I willing to consider worrying about speaking, worry about taking public transportation and having to choose between guilt and danger? How much am I willing to let this affect my life in order to help this person live more freely?"

If violence is a tool of social control, we must acknowledge that it wants us to stay silent, even as bystanders. It's designed to divide us, to make us not ride public transportation, to avoid eye contact when someone is being harassed, to change the topic when someone makes a hurtful comment or "joke." Liberation demands that we resist - that we find ways to persist and act in an unsafe world, to connect and speak up when someone is being hurt - whether they are present or not.

https://ci6.googleusercontent.com/proxy/zby7Wbp5IDoInk5bbCRY9WfGCyKxfn2FoANdjAn7r-Yz0x0mnxsS1LXSkDAE3cfnEaqVy_UhiRCZz66YfpbUugxNONoli0IeGOfvXpM=s0-d-e1-ft#http://img.constantcontact.com/letters/images/sys/S.gif

whatWhat Can I Do?

Practice for action: When watching these viral videos or TV shows featuring violence or hate crimes, imagine what you could do. If you practice creating plans instead of practicing being stuck in overwhelm, it can help prepare you for moments in your own life.

Confront denial: Acknowledge what is happening without minimizing the situation.

Create a risk assessment & safety plan: Assess the level of threat. Create a plan with contingencies to navigate an inherently volatile situation.

Determine your approach:
· De-escalate the aggressor: What words could you say to create a shift? What body language might be helpful?
· Support the person targeted: Check in, if possible, about what they need; see that their safety and/or emotional needs are being met. Even sitting beside the person target can help them feel supported.
· Mobilize others: Are there others that could act to help also? Providing them with clear direction can help activate them.
· Create a distraction: This could release the pressure in an intense situation, allowing some amount of de-escalation to happen naturally, or for the person targeted to get away.
· Aftercare for the person targeted or others: Oftentimes forgotten in these situations, caring for someone's emotional or physical needs after an attack is just as important as intervention. Oftentimes in a situation involving more than one bystander, people take on different roles. All of these roles are necessary.
· Support accountability: People who act aggressively oftentimes attempt to avoid responsibility for their actions. Supporting accountability could be retelling what you witnessed to other community members, or helping maintain their presence in the area while others arrive. 

Alena Schaim, Executive Director, Resolve Newsletter June 2017
For more about Resolve New Mexico

Monday, May 29, 2017

Researchers Seeking Reflections from Sexual Assault Survivors on Donald Trump.

From researchers Katherine Bogen and Lindsay Orchowski
We invite your reflections for an essay in the upcoming book Trumpism: The Politics of Gender in a Post-Propitious America, to be published by Cambridge Scholars in 2018, eds. Laura Finley, PhD and Matt Johnson, MA. We have approval from the Editors of this volume to prepare an essay which creates a space for sexual violence survivors to respond and react to the campaign, election, and presidency of Donald J. Trump. We envision that this essay will create a space that illustrates the ways in which survivors of sexual violence respond to and understand the candidacy, election and presidency of Donald Trump. 

We are hoping to gather responses from survivors of sexual violence (who are currently over the age of 18) that reflect on one or more of the prompts listed below. We define sexual violence broadly, to reflect any sexual act (completed or attempted) committed against someone without that person's freely given consent, at any point in the lifespan.  

Specifically: 
1. How has the candidacy, election, and presidency of Donald J. Trump made you feel?
2. How has experiencing sexual violence shaped your reaction to the candidacy, election, and presidency of Donald J. Trump? 
3. If you have found yourself feeling emotionally or psychologically impacted by Donald J. Trump’s candidacy, election, and presidency, how have you been able to cope with your reactions? Which coping mechanisms have been particularly effective? 
4. What was the experience of writing about your emotions relating to the candidacy, election, and presidency of Donald J. Trump in relation to experiences of sexual violence like for you?  
5. What recommendations would you have for other survivors of sexual violence in responding to the candidacy, election and presidency of Donald J. Trump

Contributors may choose to respond to one or more of the prompts.  Responses are limited to 2000 characters per question. 

Responses can be submitted anonymously via the following link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/TrumpSurvivorNarratives

Individuals who prefer to submit their responses via email can send a word document (.doc or .docx format) to: TrumpSurvivorNarratives@gmail.com.

As Editors, we will prepare an introduction for the essay.  The anonymous responses to the aforementioned prompts will follow.  Names or other forms of identifying information will not be attached to the reflections. We do invite individuals to identify the personal characteristics (i.e., age, occupation, gender, etc.) that they would like to accompany their responses. We will also prepare a conclusion to the essay. Please note that although it is our intention to include all submitted survivor responses in the essay, the Editors of the essay will maintain the right to screen out inappropriate submissions. 

To reflect the participatory nature of this essay, we invite individuals who would like to be named as an author of this essay to contact us TrumpSurvivorNarratives@gmail.com. In this role, individuals will have the opportunity to comment on the draft, and will be included on the list of authors.  Please also note that our IRB Board considers the responses to the above questions to be a form of journalism (i.e., exempt from IRB review/approval). 

We thank you for taking the time to consider this request, and share this opportunity with others. We request that contributions be received by June 10th. We hope that this piece will reflect the collective power and voice of sexual violence survivors, as well as create a space for a group of survivors to engage in an empowering political discourse. 

Sincerely, 

Katherine Bogen, BA and Lindsay Orchowski, PhD

-- 
Katherine W. Bogen
Senior Clinical Research Assistant
Rhode Island Hospital: Department of Psychiatry
146 West River Street, Suite 1L, Providence, RI 02904
Phone: (401) 444-7067 

Lindsay M. Orchowski, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor (Research)
Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior
Alpert Medical School of Brown University
Staff Psychologist, Rhode Island Hospital
146 West River Street, Suite 11B, Providence RI 02904
(p) 401-444-7021;  (f): 401-444-7109

Monday, May 22, 2017

Help Us Plan the IMPACT Chicago 30th Anniversary


From IMPACT grad  & Board Member Deb Mier:

Hello, fabulous IMPACT grads!!

As you may already  know IMPACT Chicago has entered its 30th year. An accomplishment that we want to recognize officially and publicly. 

We have two events coming up in 2017 to celebrate the IMPACT Chicago 30th Anniversary.


-The first course was offered in August of 1987. On Sunday August 6, 2017 (30 years later) we will cheer on graduates as they complete their course at the Cooper Center, followed by a special program.

-On Tuesday October 24, at the School of the Art Institute in the Loop, we will host filmmaker Ellen Snortland and executive producer Yudit Sidikman and screen Beauty Bites Beast , a film about the transformational experience of learning verbal, emotional and physical empowerment based self-defense.

I am Chair of the August event and am seeking a co-chair and a committee to help plan the event. The commitment is time-limited (3-4 meetings) and our meetings will be brief. We can also use help the day of the event if you want a one-day only commitment. Our first meeting will take place in the next few weeks. Looking forward to it, should be fun!!

We are looking for grads to help us plan these two events. If you are interested,  contact info@impactchicago.org.



Monday, May 15, 2017

Facing Sexual Harassment

Women deal with street harassment all the time. Usually it comes in the form of being stared at, or a comment directed at our appearance. It’s irritating, but not usually worth responding. There are times, however, when a response is necessary. 

In the winter of 2017, I encountered two instances of aggressive public sexual harassment. The first one happened on the street as I was coming around a corner. A man was there asking for spare change, and when he saw me he turned and said “Whoa, baby”, while looking me up and down. Then he asked for money. I told him I didn’t have any and kept walking. He started following me, continuing to ask for money but in a tone that was sexually suggestive. I turned around, looked him in the eye, and said “I have nothing for you.” He looked shocked and stopped talking, so I turned back around to walk away. He called me a bitch and something else I didn’t hear clearly, but I didn’t care. He wasn’t following or talking to me anymore, which was the goal. 

The second instance happened a few weeks later on an L platform. As I was waiting for the train, a man came up the stairs onto the platform and said “Damn! She is fine! Look at that ass!” He was so loud that the whole platform probably heard him. I didn’t
think he was talking about me, though, because I wasn’t anywhere near him. But then he walked up to me and started talking about my body, what it looked like, and what he’d like to do to it. I told him to leave me alone, but every time I opened my mouth to speak, he spoke louder in order to drown me out. So I stopped talking, turned to face him, and looked him square in the eyes. I didn’t blink or flinch, just kept my gaze locked with his. Eventually he got the point, called me a bitch, and walked away. Later on, after we’d all gotten on the train, he caused problems in another car. It was so bad that the conductor had to get off the train at the next stop and walk down the platform to sort everything out. The conductor had to physically remove him from the train, almost resulting in a fist fight.

Both incidents were upsetting and scary, and things could have gone much worse if I had handled them differently. The men I encountered were predators, and predators feed on fear. I wasn’t afraid of them, though. I was angry. Livid, actually. How dare they treat me like a plaything? I am more than that, and I let them see it. I am also proud because I didn’t let the anger take over and cloud my judgement, and instead I used it to fuel the faith I have in my ability to protect myself. In these instances, I didn’t have to do any more than stand tall and look them in the eyes with no fear. I was willing to do more if I had to, and was standing strong and ready, just in case. They saw this and considered me to be more trouble than I was worth.

I know many women who would have been afraid of these men, and they would have
let that fear show.  Because of that, these kinds of situations could go very poorly for them. It makes me mad, both that there are women who don’t have the training I have, and also that they need it. I want the world to be a better place, and there are things I can to do help make that happen. I have been an assistant teacher at Thousand Waves Martial Arts and Self-Defense Center for three of the six years I’ve been training there, and these two incidents inspired me to expand that role. I am now a full martial arts instructor, and also an assistant self-defense teacher. 

I am strong. I am fierce. And, because of that, I am safe. I strive to reach as many people I can, sharing my experience, tools, and skills so that they, too, will be safe.

Tabitha Olson
1st degree Black Belt
Seido Karate
Thousand Waves Martial Arts and Self-Defense Center
 Facing Street Harassment
Women deal with street harassment all the time. Usually it comes in the form o
f being stared at, or a
comment directed at our appearance.
It
s
irritating, but not usually worth responding. There are times,
however, when a response is necessary.
In the winter of 2017, I encountered two instances of aggressive public sex
ual harassment. The first one
happened on the street as I was coming around a corner. A man was
th
ere asking for spare change, and
when he saw me
he
turned and said
Whoa, baby
while looking me up and down. Then he asked for
money. I told him I didn
t have any and kept walking. He started following me, continuing to
ask for
money but in a tone that was sexually suggestive. I turned around, l
ooked him in the eye, and said
I
have nothing for you.
He looked shocked and stopped talking, so I turned back around to
walk away.
He called me a bitch and something else I didn
t
hear clearly, but I didn
t care. He wasn
t following or
talking to me anymore, which was the goal.
The second instance happened a few weeks later on an
L
platform. As I was waiting for the train, a man
came up the stairs onto the platform and said
Damn! She is fine! Look at that ass!
He was so loud that
the whole platform probably heard him. I didn
t
think he was talking about me, though, because I wasn
t
anywhere near him. But then he walked up to me and started talking about
my body, what it looked like,
and what he
d like to do to it. I told him to leave me alone, but every t
ime I opened my mouth to speak,
he spoke louder in order to drown me out. So I stopped talking, tu
rned to face him, and looked him
square in the eyes. I didn
t blink or flinch, just kept my gaze locked with his. Eventually
he got the point,
called me a bitch, and walked away. Later on, after we
d all gotten on the train, he caused problems in
another car. It was so bad that the conductor had to get off the t
rain at the next stop and walk down the
platform to sort everything out. The conductor had to physicall
y remove him from the train, almost
resulting in a fist fight.
Both incidents were upsetting and scary
,
and things could have gone much worse if I had handled them
differently.
Th
e men I encountered were predators, and predators feed on fear. I wasn
t afraid of them
,
though. I was angry. Livid, actually. How dare they treat me like a pl
aything? I am more than that, and
I
let them see it. I am also proud because I didn
t let
th
e anger take over and cloud my judgement, and
instead used it to fuel the faith I have in my ability to protect my
self. In these instances, I didn
t have to
do any more than stand tall and look them in the eyes with no fear. I
was willing to do more if I had to
,
and was standing strong and ready, just in case. They saw this and considered
me to be more trouble
than I was worth.
I know many women who would have been afraid of these men, and they would have
let that fear show.
Because of that, these kinds of situations could go very poorly for them
. It makes me mad, both that
there are women who don
t have the training I have, and also that they need it. I want the
world to be a
better place, and there are things I can to do help make that happen. I h
ave been an assistant teacher at
Thousand Waves Martial Arts and Self-Defense Center for three of the six years I
ve been training there
,
and these two incidents inspired me to expand that role. I am now a ful
l martial arts instructor, and also
an assistant self-defense teacher.
I am strong. I am fierce. And, because of that, I am safe. I strive to reac
h as many people I can, sharing
my experience, tools, and skills so that they, too, will be safe. Facing Street Harassment
Women deal with street harassment all the time. Usually it comes in the form o
f being stared at, or a
comment directed at our appearance.
It
s
irritating, but not usually worth responding. There are times,
however, when a response is necessary.
In the winter of 2017, I encountered two instances of aggressive public sex
ual harassment. The first one
happened on the street as I was coming around a corner. A man was
th
ere asking for spare change, and
when he saw me
he
turned and said
Whoa, baby
while looking me up and down. Then he asked for
money. I told him I didn
t have any and kept walking. He started following me, continuing to
ask for
money but in a tone that was sexually suggestive. I turned around, l
ooked him in the eye, and said
I
have nothing for you.
He looked shocked and stopped talking, so I turned back around to
walk away.
He called me a bitch and something else I didn
t
hear clearly, but I didn
t care. He wasn
t following or
talking to me anymore, which was the goal.
The second instance happened a few weeks later on an
L
platform. As I was waiting for the train, a man
came up the stairs onto the platform and said
Damn! She is fine! Look at that ass!
He was so loud that
the whole platform probably heard him. I didn
t
think he was talking about me, though, because I wasn
t
anywhere near him. But then he walked up to me and started talking about
my body, what it looked like,
and what he
d like to do to it. I told him to leave me alone, but every t
ime I opened my mouth to speak,
he spoke louder in order to drown me out. So I stopped talking, tu
rned to face him, and looked him
square in the eyes. I didn
t blink or flinch, just kept my gaze locked with his. Eventually
he got the point,
called me a bitch, and walked away. Later on, after we
d all gotten on the train, he caused problems in
another car. It was so bad that the conductor had to get off the t
rain at the next stop and walk down the
platform to sort everything out. The conductor had to physicall
y remove him from the train, almost
resulting in a fist fight.
Both incidents were upsetting and scary
,
and things could have gone much worse if I had handled them
differently.
Th
e men I encounteFacing Street Harassment
Women deal with street harassment all the time. Usually it comes in the form o
f being stared at, or a
comment directed at our appearance.
It
s
irritating, but not usually worth responding. There are times,
however, when a response is necessary.
In the winter of 2017, I encountered two instances of aggressive public sex
ual harassment. The first one
happened on the street as I was coming around a corner. A man was
th
ere asking for spare change, and
when he saw me
he
turned and said
Whoa, baby
while looking me up and down. Then he asked for
money. I told him I didn
t have any and kept walking. He started following me, continuing to
ask for
money but in a tone that was sexually suggestive. I turned around, l
ooked him in the eye, and said
I
have nothing for you.
He looked shocked and stopped talking, so I turned back around to
walk away.
He called me a bitch and something else I didn
t
hear clearly, but I didn
t care. He wasn
t following or
talking to me anymore, which was the goal.
The second instance happened a few weeks later on an
L
platform. As I was waiting for the train, a man
came up the stairs onto the platform and said
Damn! She is fine! Look at that ass!
He was so loud that
the whole platform probably heard him. I didn
t
think he was talking about me, though, because I wasn
t
anywhere near him. But then he walked up to me and started talking about
my body, what it looked like,
and what he
d like to do to it. I told him to leave me alone, but every t
ime I opened my mouth to speak,
he spoke louder in order to drown me out. So I stopped talking, tu
rned to face him, and looked him
square in the eyes. I didn
t blink or flinch, just kept my gaze locked with his. Eventually
he got the point,
called me a bitch, and walked away. Later on, after we
d all gotten on the train, he caused problems in
another car. It was so bad that the conductor had to get off the t
rain at the next stop and walk down the
platform to sort everything out. The conductor had to physicall
y remove him from the train, almost
resulting in a fist fight.
Both incidents were upsetting and scary
,
and things could have gone much worse if I had handled them
differently.
Th
e men I encountered were predators, and predators feed on fear. I wasn
t afraid of them
,
though. I was angry. Livid, actually. How dare they treat me like a pl
aything? I am more than that, and
I
let them see it. I am also proud because I didn
t let
th
e anger take over and cloud my judgement, and
instead used it to fuel the faith I have in my ability to protect my
self. In these instances, I didn
t have to
do any more than stand tall and look them in the eyes with no fear. I
was willing to do more if I had to
,
and was standing strong and ready, just in case. They saw this and considered
me to be more trouble
than I was worth.
I know many women who would have been afraid of these men, and they would have
let that fear show.
Because of that, these kinds of situations could go very poorly for them
. It makes me mad, both that
there are women who don
t have the training I have, and also that they need it. I want the
world to be a
better place, and there are things I can to do help make that happen. I h
ave been an assistant teacher at
Thousand Waves Martial Arts and Self-Defense Center for three of the six years I
ve been training there
,
and these two incidents inspired me to expand that role. I am now a ful
l martial arts instructor, and also
an assistant self-defense teacher.
I am strong. I am fierce. And, because of that, I am safe. I strive to reac
h as many people I can, sharing
my experience, tools, and skills so that they, too, will be safe. red were predators, and predators feed on fear. I wasn
t afraid of them
,
though. I was angry. Livid, actually. How dare they treat me like a pl
aything? I am more than that, and
I
let them see it. I am also proud because I didn
t let
th
e anger take over and cloud my judgement, and
instead used it to fuel the faith I have in my ability to protect my
self. In these instances, I didn
t have to
do any more than stand tall and look them in the eyes with no fear. I
was willing to do more if I had to
,
and was standing strong and ready, just in case. They saw this and considered
me to be more trouble
than I was worth.
I know many women who would have been afraid of these men, and they would have
let that fear show.
Because of that, these kinds of situations could go very poorly for them
. It makes me mad, both that
there are women who don
t have the training I have, and also that they need it. I want the
world to be a
better place, and there are things I can to do help make that happen. I h
ave been an assistant teacher at
Thousand Waves Martial Arts and Self-Defense Center for three of the six years I
ve been training there
,
and these two incidents inspired me to expand that role. I am now a ful
l martial arts instructor, and also
an assistant self-defense teacher.
I am strong. I am fierce. And, because of that, I am safe. I strive to reac
h as many people I can, sharing
my experience, tools, and skills so that they, too, will be safe.