We have all heard the phrase, a declaration of our inner most selves to the world. A statement of knowledge, power and what sets us either apart or bridges separateness to commonality.
We have seen a lot of change and transformation in the past number of years. In our homes, at our workplaces, in our pocketbooks, in our culture and within ourselves. These phrases of time are surrounded by questioning and pulling about what is normal, reflection and either renewed vigor or getting stuck in the hullaballoo going on around us.
So what is IT that I know is True. Show up and stand in the arena that creates lasting change – that’s it! That’s my reality and my truth.
I know in my bones that abuse and violence, stalking and coercive control, annihilates the soul, destroys the lives of people who endure, people who witness and, controversially, people who perpetrate along with context of family, safety, trust and community.
DV is an indicator leading to mental and physical health issues – let’s just say depression has been my shadow for years and I’ve had the classic muskeoleatal damage, hearing loss, epileptic seizures and chronic illness. I miscarried, had pets murdered and was fired from two jobs as a result of my physical disability.
DV has also brought me to a wonderful world of possibility and change, creating places for employers to walk with people who have endured violence and abuse, helping to make meaning and giving a purpose to those who are quite often shell-shocked and brutalized. Especially when it is too hard to utter the words “no” when someone kind asked me if I was safe.
It was 2 of my employers that led me to safety. I am a well educated professional woman with an extensive background in HR and Operations. I was a well respected leader in my field. I was a high earner who was living the dream. And I was terrorized by the person I loved cherished trusted and adored. And I would tell no one at work out of shame, fear and quite frankly thinking no one would believe me– until it was almost too late. If it were not for these two employers I would not have the life glorious life I have today.
And this is the part where you, employers, dv sector, family members, people who have witnessed, endured and me get into the ring. We show up – we work collaboratively and in humility to create binding, flexible and lasting avenues for people of all races, genders, ethnicities, educational backgrounds, wealthy and poor, sexual preference and all the markers that distinguish us to a safer life. It is often those outside the maelstrom that makes a difference – to us at the Alliance, it is the places of work. It was for me. It has been for the over 580 employers, 600 women and 50 men whose lives are safe thanks to our work.
Today we see many public, private, third sector and volunteer employers coming together under that umbrella of being in the arena making a difference. The Alliance is proud to a strategic partner with the Employers Network. Their mission is to create pathways for employers to share best practice. Our mission is to ensure employers have the accredited tools and training that will keep employers and employees safe. It’s the quality control; a little knowledge in this area can be a dangerous thing; lives are at stake and a response that is well meaning can be filled with risk.
So, what’s the message:
- Show up
- Participate in the conversation and solutions for your company
- Work with those organizations that understand dv and employer/employee needs
- Do the work
- Stand with your employees, even when the dust settles
- And keep Showing UP. No matter how tired, how deflated, how busy, how many competing priorities. We can help end the trauma and violence in our homes, workplaces and society. One act of standing in the arena and creating change at a time.