My respects to you! :)
My private email is e-mail removed
Please feel free to get in touch.
Does you already work on these situations? I can add strategies for physical stance, posture, visual observation of the abuser (increasing likelihood of violence). Helping them with concrete techniques for maintaining breathing and physical control while under extreme stress/fear.
I believe that the session is programmed for early next week, but I would appreciate being able to sit down and discuss these things with you before we start, or better still, postpone the session until I have been able to assimilate and integrate whatever comments you or others may have.
Is it advisable to tell them that I have been a police officer? Some may have very negative experiences of the police, but as these ladies are taking steps to escape their situations, they might be reassured. I would tend to be circumspect about my previous experience.
One valuable way to begin is to ID all the things they currently do to increase safety and avoid contact with abuser. They have coping skills and practices they already use. We will aim to recognise and re-inforce the successful ones, if they are willing to share.
This is what the whiteboard/flip-chart would be useful for.
Inventory these-don't evaluate (write them all down). Then assess - what works for some may not work for all. Add some NEW ideas from the group and your own. Pose some questions "if Joe comes to your apartment and shouts and kicks the door to make you let him in, what can you do? what do you do now?" "if Joe tells you he still cares and will make it all up to you" what can you do?
What is the goal (for the centre)? I mean, what do you hope that I achieve, or that these ladies achieve by this session and by training in self-defence, if it became a long term activity? This can vary from just having some fun, to becoming safer, to lifting self-confidence and self-esteem.
Much of these women's safety (in fact the major part) will be in avoiding danger. This can be covered to some extent in discussion and classroom work. For example, it has been suggested that each woman identifies 3 specific behaviors/actions that will increase her safety (these may be reinforcing-expanding something she already does and adding 1 or 2 new behaviours).
Would this sort of exercise be appropriate, or would you rather I stayed with physical techniques?
What support (emotional, counselling, any other) do you offer these women in dealing with their abusers when they make contact - over for example child custody, or when they come to find them at work.
How do you help them handle these encounters or what does the shelter teach them to practice to avoid and eliminate contact? Are the women able to practice these strategies consistently?
Who will attend the session? Are they self-chosen or will a large group be there?
It would probably be better, according to the advice I have if the group were smaller.
I have some equipment - e.g. focus pads for practicing punching, and larger pads for practicing kicking. These would be useful in a normal class and the activities can be fun, and cathartic. Do you think they would be appropriate for this group.
What space would we have available - I mean, how many people could stand in it and stretch both arms out?
Hello name removed,
I will be visiting you on Monday for the Self-Defence taster. As Simon has told you I have worked as a police officer - not so much ex, as on a career break. I may go back to it.
In the course of my work I have come across very many abused women, and a few (active) sex workers. I realise, without diminishing the extraordinary resilience of many in both these groups, that their experiences may have an impact on their responses to the subject matter at hand (i.e. self-defence) and I do not want to do anything that might discourage them or add to their trauma in any way.
So, having taken advice form someone who has more experience of these groups than I do, I would like to ask you a few questions in order better to prepare the session.
Thank you for your advice. Below I have pasted the email I have sent to the centre. Some of it is simpy copied from your post.
From your spelling I assume that you are American rather than English. Is that the case? I am only asking because meeting you would be very helpful, if possible.
If not, may I ask you what training you have received, or is your advice formulated mainly from experience?
Following messages are the email. I will let you know what response I get.
Separate names with a comma.