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A WOMANIST APPROACH TO ENDING VIOLENCE AGAINST BLACK WOMEN STACEE L. REICHERZER, PHD, LPC-S; TIFFANY RUSH-WILSON, PHD, PAMELA MANLEY-JOHNSON, PHD- WALDEN.

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Presentation on theme: "A WOMANIST APPROACH TO ENDING VIOLENCE AGAINST BLACK WOMEN STACEE L. REICHERZER, PHD, LPC-S; TIFFANY RUSH-WILSON, PHD, PAMELA MANLEY-JOHNSON, PHD- WALDEN."— Presentation transcript:

1 A WOMANIST APPROACH TO ENDING VIOLENCE AGAINST BLACK WOMEN STACEE L. REICHERZER, PHD, LPC-S; TIFFANY RUSH-WILSON, PHD, PAMELA MANLEY-JOHNSON, PHD- WALDEN UNIVERSITY

2 For anyone, anywhere, at any moment in time to have the right to control my mind, beat my body, kill my spirit, or otherwise do any harm whatsoever to me, my children, or anyone else I’ve committed to loving and protecting.

3 OUR OBJECTIVES  Define womanism as a practice (all)  Discuss how best to:  Adopt a womanist theological approach to studying and understanding intimate partner violence (IPV) victimization among Black women, particularly women of faith (Pam)  Actively listen to women in domestic violence situations, honor their perspectives and decision-making processes, and respectfully guide them toward safe, supportive services (Tiffany)  Includes transgender women, whose personal histories with economic and racial stratification are shared with their cisgender (non- transgender) sisters, in a womanist agenda (Stacee)

4 WHAT IS WOMANISM? “Womanism is to feminist as purple is to lavender.” Alice Walker Self-defined, by each of us, based on our understanding and its application Other thoughts?

5 A HERMENEUTIC PHENOMENOLOGICAL STUDY OF ABUSED AND SUICIDAL BLACK WOMEN (PAM) Research Questions: 1.How do abused and suicidal Black women make meaning of their experiences in the context of their Christian faith? 2.What role does religious faith play in participants survival and recovery? 3.How do participants interpret Psalm 23:4 in light of their abuse victimization and suicide attempts?

6 PSALM 23:4 (KJV) METAPHOR “YEA, THOUGH I WALK THROUGH THE VALLEY OF THE SHADOW OF DEATH, I WILL FEAR NO EVIL, FOR THOU ART WITH ME. THY ROD AND THY STAFF, THEY COMFORT ME.”

7 AN ACCOUNT OF PHYSICAL IPV VICTIMIZATION

8 AN ACCOUNT OF ONE PARTICIPANT’S SUICIDE ATTEMPT As a result of the domestic abuse and violence they experienced, most participants in the study attempted suicide by overdosing on pills (e.g., sleep medication, pain pills) or a combination of pills and alcohol. One participant tried to poison herself by drinking bleach.

9 RESEARCH FINDINGS 1.“Abuse changes your life.” (PARTICIPANT QUOTE) 2.Unresolved grief/loss increase hopelessness. 3.Disillusionment can lead to disappointment in God. 4."I wanted to die.“ (PARTICIPANT QUOTE) 5.Coping, survival, and resistance 6.God's divine providence prevails. 7.Finding meaning and purpose through suffering 8.Reinventing the “Strong Black Woman”

10 PAM’S TOOLS & TAKE-AWAYS FOR ADDRESSING IPV 1.Recognize the signs of domestic violence, and safely/discreetly reach out to offer help. 2.Volunteer at DV shelters and partner with local churches and other faith-based organizations that offer DV awareness programs, as the need for community support is great. 3.As a researcher, practitioner, or community activist, adopt a womanist and/or womanist theological worldview to better understand the impact of IPV upon African American women of faith.

11 WOMANISM, RESPONSE AND DV (TIFFANY) Womanist clinicians, practitioners and other supporters are strong advocates of human, particularly female, empowerment. This passionate, concerned stance often carries with it particular expectations of the “right” way for a survivor to respond in situations of physical and emotional conflict or crisis. In order to provide effective support it is imperative that womanist helpers are able to: actively listen women in domestic violence situations honor their perspectives and decision-making processes respectfully guide them toward safe, supportive services. This process has the ultimate goals of being a catalyst for efficient victim/ survivor education, reduction of defensiveness and faster facilitation of safety. (Weiss, 2001)

12 SPECIFIC GROUP: BLACK WOMEN Archetypes/ Stereotypes  Mammy  Sapphire  Jezebel  Others Position in relationships Role in Family Societal expectations  (Hill Collins, 2000)

13 DOMESTIC VIOLENCE Psychological Correlates  Shame  Weakness  Fear  Anxiety related to impact on family systems Social Correlates  Damage to black family structure  Impact on future generations based on past generations  (Bierra, 2010)

14 WOMANISM/ FEMINISM Empowerment is goal Self-definition is key  Many definitions are available  Fragmentation of movement Expectations had by self-empowered women for other women

15 THE CASE OF AYESHA 35 y/o African American woman Married to Anthony, HS sweetheart Two children with husband Active in church MS in a scientific field Homeowner Anthony’s job lay offs Extreme stress, drinking, Eye-rolls, shoving, throwing objects, slapping, punching, sexual assaults

16 THE RESPONSE Shame reported Stay/ leave decisions personal  Difficult to stay  Dangerous  Inconsistent with empowered stance  Teaching message to children  Difficult to leave  Religious commitment  Separation of family  Familiarity, stability, change For discussion: Empowerment response?

17 STACEE’S SECTION The case of Sonique: Transsexual sex-worker seeking diagnostic services Presented for therapy- wrote “no problems” in her intake paperwork Raised in poverty by single mother, with two sisters. Mother often gone for days at a time, abused drugs, had multiple boyfriends, and was prone to violence. Sonique was abused, thrown out of the house when she was 16. Sonique practiced her mother’s religious tradition of Vodon, and this was a central organizing principle of Sonique’s life Sonique had sustained multiple injuries two years’ prior to therapy when a man beat her with a lamp

18 USING A WOMANIST LENS WITH SONIQUE Why a womanist approach in understanding Sonique’s story? What are workable goals for addressing violence within the context of Sonique’s life? What limitations do we have at the social service level that can be addressed at the public policy level? What limitations do we have at the public policy level that can be addressed at the social service level? What needs to be communicated in order to provide a larger and better range of support for Sonique and other women in her situation?

19 STACEE’S TOOLS AND TAKEAWAYS FOR ADDRESSING IPV Strive for inclusive policies in your domestic violence work. If feminism and womanism can’t address experiences like Sonique’s, what will? Remember that even experiences outside of your own area of competence, such as religion, may be resources for the survivor that can be leveraged Safety may be relative rather than absolute in achievability, but some is always better than none Empowerment in any one area of life has the ability to create growth in other areas

20 GROUP DISCUSSION FOR ALL OF US Based on what we’ve discussed today, what new thoughts do you have about addressing domestic violence against Black women? What needs brainstorming?

21 CONTACT US, AND CONTINUE THE CONVERSATION Stacee Reicherzer: Tiffany Rush-Wilson: Pamela Manley-Johnson:


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