I signed on for this trip because, obviously, I have a passion and a stake in this cause, but also because of my personal desensitization towards the topic. It’s difficult to constantly have the same conversation in every class you take, every event you go to, every news piece you read. The constant cycle of outrage – enlightenment – motivation for action – discouragement from all the resistance diminishes in weight for me with every time it’s repeated. Heavy academic involvement, especially (I’m an A&S major, which means I talk about gender roles on a daily basis), both burns me out and induces me to talk about issues in abstract, theoretical terms that sometimes make me feel more nihilistic than motivated. So far, I think being on this trip has done a good deal of things to reduce this desensitization of mine.
First of all, kudos to Haven for being extraordinary. Waseh’s probably really lucky in his choice of shelter to go to – Haven has a new, big facility with many different kinds of services for victim of domestic violence and sexual assault, with prevention education on top of it, and through exposure to the shelter itself, we are able to see many different facets of solution. This ranges from emergency response to rape examination, counseling, legal advice, child care, crisis call, etc. In addition to all of these, they went to great length to ensure that we have education on top of volunteering, and talking to people doing actual social work, who are way more overexposed to this issue, really puts my privilege into perspective for me.
Another thing that I appreciate about this trip is the collective knowledge that my peers and Amy bring to the table. We have varying levels of exposure to the topic among people on our trip – ranging from knowing very little to having worked at a rape crisis hotline, and I found myself gaining a lot from everyone – either reinforcing things I already knew, challenging me to confront new notions, or informing me of alternative approach. I could especially see this during reflection last night, when we broke out into small groups and discuss different scenarios of sexual assault/ domestic violence and how we, as bystanders, could react. I value the input of Amy and Kaitlin, who have been in the field and could inform us of the ethical standards and guidelines among experts, as well as of everyone else who contribute on perspectives of friends and kin. There are definitely rooms for more contention, but I think we walked away more equipped to handle personal situations.
Last but not least: Bonfire! (Credit: Rachel!)