Article and photo by Jeannie Briones
TULALIP, Washington – Domestic Violence can happen to anyone. Victims of domestic violence usually turn to family and friends for help, so staff at the Tulalip Legacy ofHealingAdvocacyCenterand Safe House is working to educate the community about the realities of domestic violence, and teaching empathy rather than sympathy.
‘In Her Shoes’, a series of interactive workshops created by the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence (WSCADV), debuted at the TulalipAdministrativeBuildingthis month. These workshops are designed for learning about domestic violence through audience participation. Participants act out real life scenarios of battered women – essentially putting themselves in their shoes. The October 18th workshop, ‘In Her Shoes, Economic Justice Edition,’ focused on the added struggles that low-income battered women face and how the community can help bring justice to these survivors.
“‘In Her Shoes, Economic Justice Edition’ pays close attention to each one of these survivor’s stories and how finances and poverty impact their situation and create barriers that make them more unsafe and at risk,” said Traci Underwood, Program Coordinator for WSCADV.
During the workshop, participants stepped inside the victim’s world through an interactive exercise about life choices. Participants were given cards printed with a real story of a victim and abuser. These stories are unique and the victims in each share a similar background, involving a lack of money and resources. Through these cards, participants make “life choices” concerning school, housing, legal situations, social services, friends, etc. These choices send them in different directions in life to face the consequences.
“When you are walking through the interactive process, you learn what happens in a woman’s life with domestic violence,” said Elishia Stewart, tribal member and Manager of the Tulalip Legacy ofHealingAdvocacyCenterand Safe House.
During the workshop wrap-up session, audience feedback was followed by an open discussion period where workshop participants were given the opportunity to voice concerns and questions about domestic violence.
On October 30th, the second workshop in the series, will feature a Native twist, focusing on the struggles that pertain to Native American victims and their abusers.
For more information, call the Tulalip Legacy of Healing Advocacy Center and Safe House at 360-716-4100, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. and more information about the “In Her Shoes” series, visit WSCADV at www.wscadv.org