Sextortion is the issue of maliciously using information to blackmail people into sexual acts or allowing the perpetrator to get away with sexual assault. A complicated topic and experience that can be traumatizing across multiple levels, sextortion is only made more prevalent and complex in the current environment. Be sure to read this month's newsletter for even more information on this critical topic.
Whenever someone I am meeting for the first time asks me what I do for a living, I’m often met with the question “why?” The focus doesn’t tend to be on the victims/survivors aspect of my work, but rather on the reasons why I choose to work with incarcerated individuals. It is true that I have an academic interest in incarceration, the politics of punishment, and how mass incarceration in the US is an extension of slavery and colonialism. But the honest answer to the “why” is deeply personal for me. One of the common threads throughout what I have witnessed both personally and professionally is trauma.
How can we effectively apply the foundational concept of the 3 E's of Trauma to assessing needs in such an atypical experience as an ongoing pandemic? And why might it be important to do so? One aspect of current media coverage promotes the idea that we should anticipate a large-scale mental health crisis at best and nearly universal trauma at worst. While there are very real risks related to our health and well-being in coping with these times, by considering the 3 E’s within the current context can provide a more hopeful, action-oriented framework.
The holidays mean something different to everyone. Some people feel joy and anticipation as the season is approaching. Others feel sadness and dread and cannot wait for January to come. This year the holiday season will be different for everyone; it will be a year unlike any other. During this time of instability and uncertainty, we can find peace, joy and compassion for ourselves and those around us. Paying attention to our own needs and the experiences of others Creating space for our own needs and the experiences of others is another example of trauma-responsiveness.
For many organizations, this year began with a renewed sense of optimism. In January and February, (time that feels so long ago now), my inbox and meeting calendar began to be filled with kick-off events and strategic plans related to vision and seeing with clear eyes. This theme made complete sense given the calendar had turned to 2020 or 20/20. . Reflecting on experiences of 2020, 2020 delivered on its promise to help us see clearly. Now that we see, will we act?
It is essential to “assume positive intent.” This practice has the power to transform the default setting most of us have, which is often one of blame, distrust, finger-pointing, self-protection, and judgment. That default is not intentional but simply learned behavior. For many of us assuming positive not a given but a daily re-framing that requires practice.
There’s no doubt that these times call for all of us to dig deep to find inner resources and resilience to support us through these challenging days. Yoga means to unite, to join, to balance from the Sanskrit root, yuj. What more critical time to come to balance and to unite as humans than now, during the concurrent pandemics of corona virus and white supremacy backlash towards a global cry for respect and honor of Black lives?
How can we plan ahead with the sand shifting underneath our feet and the landscape ahead unclear? There are certainly no simplistic answers, but by applying what we know about trauma and resilience, we can take meaningful steps forward.
In these times of heightened stress and anxiety, what peace can we find in nature? What peace can be gained from self-compassion?