Monday, September 24, 2018

Boundary Setting: Rude or Polite Does Not Apply

While I’m retired from the suit, I’m still involved in curriculum development and have transitioned into the role of instructor trainer for new suited instructors.  The instructor trainer role affords me a lot of opportunity to reflect on the things that we teach and the way that we teach them, as I’m preparing the next generation of instructors to get in the armor and carry on the work that we do.
One of the things I’ve always appreciated most about the IMPACT Chicago Core Program is that it challenges accepted norms about what women are capable of doing on their own behalf, and about the way men and women should interact.  Many women are socialized to be polite, and feel very inhibited about behaving in any way other than polite. In normal day-to-day interaction with the world polite is a great thing.  A very long time ago a college professor told me that manners are "... the WD40 of human civilization".  That's stuck with me my whole adult life.  Frankly, I think everyone should be polite, under normal circumstances.  I try to always be, and I work very hard with my kids to develop and maintain habits of politeness.
When we address boundary setting, people often look at it through that lens - am I being rude to this intruder, and is that okay?
But...  This is not a normal interaction.  While experiencing intrusion and threat is a daily occurrence for many people, and certainly many women, it's not a normal interaction and we should avoid normalizing it.
Under threatening circumstances the priority should be our safety, not adhering to the conventional norms of polite interaction.  It may well be that the best option to get to a safe situation is to appear polite to the aggressor, but how we arrive at that option is important.  The focus of our strategizing should be what is safest, not what is socially acceptable. 
What I’ve come to realize is that self-protective behavior simply doesn’t belong on the polite-rude spectrum.  Taking polite or rude into account in formulation of a strategy to boundary violations is a false concern.
Again, I recognize that for many people, especially women, feeling threatened is a regular circumstance that they’re habituated to, but that’s not the same thing as normal.  Under those circumstances our priority should be our safety, not meeting the expectations of others about rude or polite.  Being threatened by another person is outside the bounds of normal circumstances.  Rude or polite does not apply.
Mark Nessel, IMPACT Chicago Suited Instructor (Retired) and Suited Instructor Trainer

Monday, September 17, 2018

Options for When You See Someone Who Sexually Abused You

Lily Puckett tackled the question "What to do when you see your sexual abuser" in the August issue of Teen Vogue. 

Since the majority of sexual abusers know the person they target, the likelihood is high that someone who has experienced sexual abuse will cross paths with the person who abused them.

Taking care of yourself is the #1 priority. Some recommendations to do that:
  • If possible, remove yourself from the situation.
  • If you can't leave the situation, use grounding techniques (the article suggests several)
  • Be prepared if you know you might see them (e.g. have a trusted friend with you)
  • Establish groundrules with family and friends if you are likely to see the person at family or friendship gatherings
For more information, read the full article here.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Ethical Storytelling

Stories are valuable to our understanding of ourselves and others. Michael Kass, founder of The Center of Story and Spirit, says that people who share their experiences have the ability to persuade people of the importance of an issue and inspire others to become involved, to donate, and to engage with an issue. Every organization has a story at its core and having people share stories is a very powerful way for an organization to get its message out.  For instance, the stories of people who have experienced sexual violence and then take an IMPACT course are very powerful for motivating other survivors of violence and their supporters to consider IMPACT.

Kass says that if organizations use stories, they have an obligation for ethical storytelling--making sure that everyone has a shared understanding of not only the purpose of telling the story, but also in knowing where the story will be used, how it will be used, and how long it will be used. And that people must be informed before, during, and after sharing their story

For the IMPACT Chicago Core Program, IMPACT for Girls,  or advanced courses, we let participants know the ways that we might use a quote or story that they share on the "What IMPACT means to me" form (e.g. research, facebook, blog) and participants give permission for us to use it or not and how they want to be identified if we have permission to use it. We have also had instances when a participant has given permission for us to use their quote or story and later decided they did not want to share their and we have removed it.

For more about ethical storytelling:
Navigating the Ethical Maze: Storytelling for Organizations Working with Vulnerable Populations. September 2017.

What does ethical storytelling have to do with GBV[gender-based violence]? Podcast with GBVIMS

Monday, September 3, 2018

Self-Defense and Trauma Healing: An Interactive Workshop for Those Who Work With Trauma Survivors

Self-Defense and Trauma Healing SEPTEMBER 28, 2018 from 9:00am - Noon Tickets: $75 and $20 for CEU Certificate
Instructors: Dr. Bianka Hardin & IMPACT Instructor Margaret Vimont, LCSW
CTC is partnering with IMPACT Chicago to host an experiential workshop for people who work with trauma survivors to learn how taking a self-defense course can be an addendum to treatment and support.
Margaret Vimont
Participants will learn:
 How and why to refer a client to self-defense training
 Empowerment skills through verbal and physical boundary setting
 How self-defense training can be an addendum to treatment
 How to support a client who is taking a course

Participants will receive 3 CEUs provided by Centered Therapy Chicago.
Use: License # 268000085
Bianka Hardin

Participants are encouraged to wear comfortable clothing. 

Register here.