September 7, 2016
By REACH TEAM

What Laura is thinking: Finding the words

Sometimes it feels that there are no words. And sometimes it feels that there are too many words. So much happening in our world today and the news comes at us immediately and over and over again. Each of us has our own response to the news – including all of us at REACH. Each of us gets our news from different sources, reads different posts on our social media, and hears different opinions from family and friends. And as part of this organization we also see and hear the impact the daily news has on families struggling with violence, poverty, isolation, pain, sadness, and fear.

We struggle with how to elevate our voice into the din – what is our position on the latest controversy? What is our message about recent events? What value can we add to the noise that already exists? We want to offer words of comfort, support, solidarity – and yet sometimes words feel so empty in times of great sadness and pain – especially in the cacophony of social media.

At REACH we have seen opportunities to be one more voice in the chorus calling for change and we join. We have also seen opportunities to offer something more; moments in the conversation when we can dig a little deeper into a matter. And then there are times when we feel we have something to say as a leader in the work to build healthy communities by ending domestic violence.

We also struggle with words of accountability, disagreement, opposition – not knee jerk responses, rather thoughtful, constructive, respectful counter arguments. We want to hold someone or a group accountable for that is said – because it is painful or inaccurate or we disagree. We want to speak ‘for’ survivors, for those whose voices have been silenced.

As an organization committed to changing social norms around domestic violence, we know how important it is to speak up, to speak out, to say that’s not okay or that’s wrong. We even have a training called “What to do, What to say” – and still we know it is difficult to speak up, to challenge something or someone, and to do it without compromising safety or causing more pain.

So much contributes to an environment that enables domestic violence: sexism, racism, heterosexism, economic injustice, ableism, hate, disempowerment, shame. When something devastating happens, it is likely at the intersection of power and violence. Violence is never the answer to problems. Hate does not create space for solutions.

At REACH, we will continue to do the work to support safe and healthy families and relationships; we will collaborate with neighbors and friends and providers; we will make connections for a closer community – we will say Hi!; we will listen and believe; we will welcome a diversity of experiences and perspectives; and we will do our part to lift up the voices of survivors. We hope that you value the information and perspectives REACH shares through presentations, trainings, newsletters, events, and social media. We try to offer something thoughtful, something insightful – and we know that we at REACH don’t have all the answers. We may not always be able to find the words so we will do what we can every day to reduce hate and violence and injustice in all its forms. Because it is in those intersections that domestic violence thrives.