Sunday, December 05, 2010

16 Days of Activism - Fight the Abuses in Your Life

My friend Damaria Senne asked me to participate in her blog party for the 16 Days of Activism against women and child abuse, and place particular emphasis on the fact that I have my own transcription business. Damaria is suggesting that if a woman who is in a position of being abused is able to work for herself and therefore create employment for herself, she may be able to change the situation of her abuse and perhaps get out of it.

Now, I’m not going to say that I’m writing from a position of experience. I usually do like to write from my own experience. But in this case, thankfully, I’m not. However, as a child, I was twice in a position where men tried to abuse me. Nothing came of it, but I was in a threatening situation and I didn’t like it. The other day somebody told me that he was in a similar position, and it profoundly impacted his life even though he didn't actually get abused - that feeling of fear and complete vulnerability was enough to strip him of all his dignity, and all his trust, and although I haven't explored it fully, I think that is possibly true of me too. I think it is potentially this that has made me sensitive to the needs of abused women and children in today’s society.

It is for this reason – that I want to make a difference to people’s lives – that I serve on the committee of my local residents association, the I Love Kensington Association (ILKA). In September of this year the ILKA committee was approached by Ivan Jardine of the AIDS Army for assistance in a project that he was organising - The Flame of Hope and Healing - whereby blankets were to be crocheted and presented to children affected by HIV and Aids together with a special message of hope. Ivan’s words to me were that he wants to teach abused children that there are ways in which they can fight the abuses in their lives. So, of course, I was sold on helping in this project.

The project culminated in a showdown event on 4th of December 2010. Over 800 blankets in total were collected - 67 were made and donated by Diepkloof Prison. 250 children affected by Aids or HIV were present on the day and each received a blanket with a special message of love and hope. The overwhelming message given to them on the day was that they could fight the abuses in their lives – with love given to them by others, but also by the strength and abilities that they have themselves.

So I came away from this day thinking about this message, and thinking about the blog post Damaria had asked me to write and it occurred to me that an abused woman could begin to fight the abuses in her life by taking the first steps against it. It is possible that that step could be starting to work from home. Abused women come from all walks of life; all societies and all levels of affluence, and abusers in some situations like to keep control by not letting the woman go out to work or to visit friends, etc, etc. If that woman has access to the internet or to a computer, she could start up as a transcriptionist and it is here where a mentor or a forum such as the Transcriptionists and VAs of South Africa (TAVASA) which has been set up to assist newbies coming into our industries could come in useful – someone to answer questions and assist. Working for yourself could mean the first step towards financial independence, and the first step out of your situation of abuse. Anybody who wants to contact me privately in this regard is more than welcome to do so and I will do whatever I can to assist –

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