Category: Supporting Survivors

How We Listen Matters

On my way in to work this morning, a song by Justin Timberlake came on the radio. I’d heard it before, but being stuck in traffic allowed me to pay more attention to the lyrics, and one line in the chorus really stood out to me: “Sometimes the greatest way to say something, is to say nothing at all.” That lyric stayed with me, as I later supported someone who…

Accountability

Not long ago, I had the pleasure of training a group of collegiate male athletes. Their team, along with other athletic teams at their university, were participating in a day focused on addressing and preventing gender-based violence. As soon as we began our workshop together, it was evident that this was a group of young men who were highly motivated, not only to learn about these…

What Laura Is Thinking…

There is so much happening in the world today and following the verdict in the Bill Cosby trial, I was struggling with what to say in this time and space – something different and compelling. Then I opened an email from Debra Robbin, the Executive Director at our state coalition, Jane Doe Inc. Supporting and believing survivors is essential, and we must continue to invest in…

Recognizing ALL Survivor Voices During Sexual Assault Awareness Month

April marks Sexual Assault Awareness Month.  This year, it feels especially relevant given the national dialogue that our society is engaging in surrounding the #MeToo movement.  April is always a meaningful time for me, as it marks what I think of as my entry into this work.  Prior to college, I really had never thought about domestic or sexual violence, until a friend invited me to attend…

5 Tips for Talking About Domestic Violence in the News

“Have You Heard About XYZ Case?” All too often, domestic violence is in the news. Here at REACH we always struggle with what, if anything, to say about these stories that everyone is talking about, or what news stories from other sources to share with you through our social media. This past week, it was Rob Porter. In the past, it was Ray Rice or Chris…

Why REACH Uses Art Therapy to Help Children Affected by Domestic Violence

“We don’t even need words, we go straight to where the memory is stored.” This is how REACH’s Child and Adolescent Therapist, Catalina, describes the work she does through art therapy with children. The Art Therapy Alliance defines art therapy as “the deliberate use of art-making to address psychological and emotional needs, facilitated by an Art Therapist.  Art therapy uses art media and the creative process…

The Psychological Toll of Hypervigilance

For some people, the days and weeks since the new presidential administration took office have seemed to be one piece of bad news after the other. Some of us have our legislator’s office on speed dial, calling endlessly to protest attacks on healthcare, civil rights, immigration, climate protections, trade partnerships, foreign interference, and other issues that affect us and those we care about. It gets to the…

Listening and Learning

This week’s blog is by one of our Community Advocates, whose name we will withhold for confidentiality reasons. Recently I had the wonderful experience to be part of the Massachusetts Victim Assistance Academy (MVAA) which is conducted by the Massachusetts Office for Victim Assistance (MOVA) and other community agencies.

10 Tips for Being a Good Listener

For Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM) 2016, our theme is “Listen and Believe.” While that might sound simple and straightforward, listening is a skill that we can all develop and improve over time. At REACH, we often hear from friends and family who are concerned about a loved one who is in an abusive relationship. So often, friends and family are worried about having the “right”…

Being There

I spend a lot of time talking with survivors of domestic violence.  Lately, I’ve been co-facilitating a support group at our shelter, where we utilize an arts based curriculum and psychoeducational framework.  In these conversations, we’ve had an opportunity to learn from one another about a variety of topics, including self-care, boundaries, trauma, domestic violence, and red flags. In these conversations, I’ve been astounded by so…