Category Archives: News & Updates

Rebranding ILF: A Solidified Brand Profile

This is Part 3 of our Rebrand Story.
Part 1 Rebranding ILF: A Story of Change
Part 2 Our Brand’s Highs and Lows

With information from our team, the stakeholder interviews, and all the material on the current website, Rethink (the company helping us through the rebrand process) took the next step by building and presenting a Brand Profile to the ILF Team. 

Our Driving Insight Sums Up the ILF Mission

Everyone on the ILF team experienced a shiver down our spines when Rethink presented “ILF’s Driving Insight” for the new brand:

Advocate well-being is the crumbling infrastructure that holds up sexual and domestic violence organizations across North America.

This broken bridge represents the crumbling infrastructure that holds up sexual and domestic violence organizations across North America

Our team has struggled to explain clearly and simply why our work is important. And now, here it was, right in front of us, written in a way we never would have discovered on our own.

This one sentence felt like a complete reset in how we could talk about the importance of ILF’s work. Our team doesn’t only help with self-care. We don’t only teach boundary and communication skills.

Our Mission Supports DV Advocates

Our mission is to find ways to strengthen the advocate infrastructure that supports the survivors of sexual and domestic violence so they can rebuild and return to better lives.

With this amazing insight to kick off the Rethink presentation, the ILF Team felt like we were seeing our work again for the first time. But Rethink had more for us, and continued to share the new brand profile.

Our Brand Profile Supports the ILF Message

Wait, what is a brand profile?

A brand profile, we learned, is the foundation that our brand is built upon. This brand profile serves as guide for the creation of everything — from the colors on our website to the language used to express what we do.

Without going through the whole process and presentation, here are some of the highlights from our shiny new brand profile document:

ILF Brand Foundations

Care workers are selfless agents of change who are obsessed with helping others. “Maintainers” are the unsung heroes of society. ILF is unique in providing comprehensive, practical self-care training at the lowest overall cost.

ILF Brand Profile Venn Diagram

ILF Brand Belief & Ambitions

We believe that the most effective Advocate is one who is thriving. This is our Brand Belief. We seek to inspire all Advocates to take the time to care for themselves. This is our Brand Ambition.

ILF Brand Profile Brand Belief and Brand Ambition

Everything Extends From the ILF Brand Profile

The combination of our driving insight, brand foundation, brand belief and ambition, combined with our brand voice (positive, empathetic, calm, candid), target audience, emotional benefit, and reasons to believe is our complete ILF Brand Profile. This will become the solid foundation that the new ILF brand will be built upon.

Moving forward, everything — including colors, fonts, logos, wordmarks, images, and eventually a brand new name — is held up by this Brand Profile. It provides the structure and strength.

Anticipating Our Next Steps

Everyone was excited and emotional, anticipating what would happen next as we moved forward in the process. Soon we would be looking at visual sandboxes to determine what the new Brand Design would look like.

Join us in the next post as we share some of these visual sandboxes (the ones we liked and ones we….meh), then continue reading as we move forward to see how all of these different pieces come together.

How to Say No by Saying Yes Differently

We can all learn to give a powerful and positive “no.”

Have you ever struggled with boundaries? Perhaps you’ve been able to say “no” to someone but doing so filled you with anxiety. Or maybe you were plagued by guilt afterwards. There’s a way to say “no” differently, in a way that is helpful and — believe it or not — easy.

Learning to say “no” is important. In fact, there’s a world out there that needs us to say “no” once in a while (or all the time). It’s a world in which you can create what you want, protect what you want, and then change what no longer works. There’s a way to not just say “no,” but to say it powerfully and positively. 

Below you’ll find some solid principles on how to say “no,” taken straight out of William Ury’s book, The Power of a Positive No. (Over the last thirty years he has helped millions of people, hundreds of organizations, and numerous countries at war reach satisfying agreements.) We love this book! 

An unhealthy “no” shows up in three ways.

Before we get to that empowering place of “no,” we need to understand the ways in which we’re currently giving an unhealthy “no”: 

  • Instead of saying “no,” we accommodate. In the process we lose power.
  • Instead of saying “no,” we attack. In the process we lose the relationship.
  • Instead of saying “no,” we avoid. In the process we lose both power and the relationship.

These are all unhealthy noes. If you’re unsure what type of unhealthy “no” you tend to give (and it may be more than one category), think of an instance in which you’d like to say no to someone or something but don’t know how to say “no.” What emotions do you feel? What physical symptoms do you experience?

Yes, all that.

In this moment as you think about the situation, you might feel anxiety. The beginnings of a headache. Guilt. Defeat. These feelings and emotions are great signals to let you know that you need to learn how to say “no” in a healthy manner.

A healthy “no” centers on our values.

We feel these things because whatever uncomfortable situation we find ourselves in is typically a situation contrary to our values. Our values are unique to each of us. We could define values as a GPS system that helps us remember where we’re going. Values are something we carry with us every single day to help us make our decisions. Values point us to our purpose in life. They’re what make us work the long hours, give until we don’t feel we can give anymore, and then go home and give to our families. Our values allow us to know what’s a true yes and what’s an actual no. 

A healthy “no” follows a formula.

A healthy “no” involves three parts: yes, no, yes. 

  • The first yes is a yes to ourselves and the values that are important to us. 
  • No is a firm enforcement of our boundary.
  • The second yes offers another possibility or option. An “I won’t do that but I can do this.” This is another yes to ourselves but in way that aligns with our values. There isn’t always a second yes.

Let’s visualize this. Imagine a tree. The first yes is the root system. It provides the stability for the tree. Our values provide our stability. The no is the trunk of the tree. It is firm and straightforward. This is how we stand in the face of something that is contrary to our values. The second yes is the branches. A branch the possibility we offer as a different solution. We can choose one of many options. This isn’t a compromise or an accommodation — it’s a different plan, one that aligns with our values and reinforces them.

A-healthy-“no”-centers-on-our-values

Occasionally, we might experience some pushback to our positive “no.”  If we waver in the face of this pushback, it’s a sign that we need to go back and explore our values and identify a more important one that supports our first yes. Once we discover our core values — the deep ones — we won’t waver, feel guilty, or second guess our positive “no.” 

If you’d like to learn more, are struggling with setting healthy boundaries, or find it difficult to say “no,” sign up for our Live a Brighter Life Course.

In this free course, we teach people to live with more joy and more freedom. And that involves learning to say “no.” Whether you’re a survivor of domestic violence or a CEO of a world organization, living in a shelter or running a shelter, this course will challenge and encourage you!

Discovering Our Brand’s Highs and Lows

[This is Part 2 of our Rebrand Story. Read Part 1 here.]

After the “Listen and Learn” call, Rethink (the company helping us through the rebrand process) continued learning about our brand.

They had already heard from us, so it was now time to interview the various ILF stakeholders: 

  • Sexual violence Program Director
  • Domestic violence Shelter Manager from a shelter we trained
  • Domestic violence shelter Director of Development & Community Outreach
  • Executive Director of a domestic violence coalition
  • Indrani’s Light Volunteer 
  • Vicarious Trauma Researcher
  • Director of a Domestic Violence women’s shelter who said “no” to our training
  • Indrani’s Light Board Member
  • Indrani, our Founder

Hearing from our stakeholders, and most importantly, from the people we are helping was both heartening (when we heard the good news) and frustrating. (Bad news is never great, even when helpful.) Rethink compiled everything into a report and presented it to our team.

The Good News

The people who have taken the training believe in the work and find it helpful and important:

  • “Brings unique training to centers that may not have that expertise.”
  • “For a lot of them it was new. They didn’t know what to expect but they liked how it was presented and the activities they used.”
  • “It’s the level of focus they put on things that makes the difference.”
  • “I came into this training feeling as though I knew all there was to know about self-care. In fact, I was a little annoyed at the idea of having to attend yet another self-care training. But this was so much more than that.”

There is no doubt that the training is needed in shelters:

  • “We need to start stepping back and seeing how we take care of the advocates.”
  • “Organizations don’t build self-care into their culture, which is something that needs to be change.”
  • “When we first started, I felt guilty to close my center for 2 days. But at the end, I feel like it was dearly needed.”

The Bad News

Although the work is inspiring and beneficial, no one knows about the training:

  • “I worry a lot of advocates don’t know about it. I mentioned it this morning and no one knew what it was.”
  • “People don’t know about ILF.”
  • “Not enough people know about it.”
  • “Until I met Jeremie, I had never heard of ILF.”

People are confused when speaking about what ILF does:

  • “I don’t even know what their brand is. I don’t even remember a logo or what it looks like. The colors I remember were a purple envelope that had their stuff in it.”
  • “I would describe it as a Canadian based organization designed to help victims of abuse, specifically from India and countries like Trinidad and Tobago.”

There is confusion around the name Indrani’s Light Foundation:

  • “It’s limited because as the name suggests it’s Indrani’s Light Foundation and it stays as Indrani’s foundation. It doesn’t become more generalized. It doesn’t become more neutral.”
  • “The foundation becomes tied to a personality and that may be part of the issue.”
  • “I think the name suggests the focus – Indrani’s Light suggests a call to CERTAIN people.”
  • “The title of the agency doesn’t say what they do. They could be about anything.”

There are barriers that prevent people from committing to the training:

  • “Barriers include finding the time and prioritizing the need for self-care.”
  • “If they’re not clear on what they’re trying to sell, no one else will be.”
  • “Time constraints. If it was a 2-hour training then we would do that, 100%. I cannot commit two to three days or even one full day.”
  • “Self-care is still in its infancy. Just because we know about it doesn’t mean we’ll do anything about it.”

 

What we learned and what needs to change.

Let’s start with the most important piece of learning from this process:

The stakeholders confirmed that tools for building resilience to compassion fatigue and burnout are needed, and that ILF’s curriculum make a difference.

(Whew!)

Next, and although we know this, it was still hard to hear: 

Indrani’s Light Foundation isn’t doing a great job of building awareness around who we help and how we help them. In fact, we have been doing the opposite, creating confusion about our work.

Our team has a lot of passion around the work we do. We want to make a big impact on the advocates we help, and through them an impact on their clients, family, and friends. We are keeping that impact small by confusing the very people we’re trying to help.

This absolutely has to change. Thankfully, the rebrand will help.

We also discovered that there are some changes that we may need to make that go deeper than our brand. Looking at the length of our training, reviewing the curriculum and making necessary changes, getting our language clear, doing a better job of gathering evidence that our work is making a difference,…

Wait, that’s a completely different post, and if we are learning anything from this process, it is that we tend to get off track in our communication and create confusion. Ignore that last paragraph, let’s get back on track.

Next Steps

With all of this stakeholder information in hand and the meeting with Rethink wrapped up, it was time to move on to the next big step in the rebrand process: The ILF Brand Profile.

What is a brand profile? We had no idea, but we were going to learn all about it in our next meeting with Rethink. You can learn all about it reading the next post in this series…

Rebranding Indrani’s Light Foundation: A Story of Change

The Early Days of ILF

It all began during the team retreat in January 2018 as a discussion about making changes to the Indrani’s Light Foundation (ILF) website. It seemed so simple as the team sat in a condo in Portland, Oregon. Stacie called in via Zoom after bad weather grounded her flight.

Indrani's Light Foundation story

Our website had been created in 2014 to represent Indrani’s global work to end gender-based violence. In the following years, the team added and tweaked pages as our mission shifted towards supporting domestic violence shelter staff. Although the core pages remained, the ILF website and message was becoming cluttered and confused.

People, especially those we were trying to help, didn’t understand what we actually did. That was a big problem. No problem, we thought. We will rewrite the copy, change images, fix some navigation, and everything will be clarified. 

Of course, nothing ever turns out to be as simple as we think, does it?

The Donation that Made an ILF Rebrand Possible

2018 brought about big changes. ILF’s very first team member, Stacie Cassada Kenton, moved on to follow an amazing opportunity for her business and Amy Jaffe reduced her role at ILF to help in her family’s Portland pie shop. 

These changes put the website project on hold until late 2018, when ILF received a donation to use for a full rebrand. This gift meant something very different from the original website renovation project we had envisioned. What had begun as an idea to reorganize and rewrite the current website had evolved into the opportunity to recreate the ILF brand to better represent our work.

We had to think even bigger now! We were excited, but to be honest, we were also a bit terrified. What did we know about rebranding?

The ILF Rebrand Adventure Begins 

Lots of learning, lots of proposals and meetings later — including one proposal for a full rebrand and ongoing publicity at $25,000/month, which we said “no” to — we made a decision. On February 7th, 2019, the ILF team (Indrani, Jeremie, and newest team member Mariam) met with Rethink, a marketing agency in Vancouver, British Columbia for a “Listen and Learn” call. This kicked off the branding process.

The story continued from that Thursday in February with many twists and turns. And it continues to wend its way forward as we finalize a new brand and website, scheduled to launch in September, 2019.

We’re sure you’re eager to know what the new Indrani’s Light Foundation brand looks like. Join us over the coming weeks as the rebrand story unfolds in the following blog posts. (SPOILER: The whole process leads to an exciting new name as part of the rebrand.)

The ILF Rebrand Story

  1. Origins of the Original Indrani’s Light Foundation Brand
  2. What Our Clients, Supporters, and Competitors Think about ILF
  3. The ILF Brand Profile
  4. What the New ILF Will Look Like: Exploring Visual Sandboxes
  5. Harder Than We Thought: Renaming Indrani’s Light Foundation
  6. Developing a New Logo
  7. Bringing It All Together: Honing the Final Brand for ILF

Setting Up Fundraisers to Support Domestic Violence Shelters

Domestic violence shelter needs may seem daunting. They need healthy food, personal hygiene items, laundry detergent, children’s toys and games, and clothing. Often survivors need medical attention, counseling, and legal advice. All need a clear path to stability. And it takes funding to make it happen. With a little ingenuity, a solid plan, and a willingness to ask, many people can raise more funds than they might believe. And it only takes one person to get the ball rolling. After all, it only took one woman — Rosa Parks — to start the civil rights movement. It took one man — Ghandi — to start a non-violent protest that led India to independence. Martin Luther nailed his 99 Theses to a church door and started the Protestant Reformation. Thomas Edison electrified the entire world with carbonized sewing thread.

And yet it also took a village, as these individuals built on the story they were given, one that was started by others before them and carried forward by others after them. The same is true when it comes to making an impact on your community. It takes one person with a vision and a passion to inspire others to rally around a worthy cause. Why can’t that person be you?

Whether you’re a shelter worker, a business owner, or a stay-at-home mom, you have the potential to change the world and impact your local domestic violence shelter in big ways. Below are a few steps to get you started on the road to setting up fundraisers and community events:

Set a goal.

Set a goal and be specific. You may want to raise a certain dollar amount. You may want to raise one ton or 100 cart-fulls of food. It may be all about stocking up on hygiene items. Whatever your goal is, make it specific. Whatever goal you set, share that goal with as many people as possible. People and businesses can’t rally around you unless they know the goal exists.

Build a team.

We’ve all heard the phrase, “It takes a village.” This is true when it comes to fundraising as well. No one person can pull off a fundraising event. It might all stem from one person with a vision, like this woman in Kentucky who raised $40,000 in just one month for Welcome House. But it takes a whole posse of passion-filled people to plan an event. Together they can gather supplies, donations, and procure any entertainment. 

Your team needs to have variety and enthusiasm for the cause because no one person can do everything well. Some people are born planners. Some are born sales people. And others love to talk and put people at ease. Each person in our community has a special set of giftings. When setting up a fundraiser, match your tasks to the people who can do them well. When everyone is strategically matched to their job, your event can move forward more efficiently, but also more enthusiastically. 

Tell the story.

It’s one thing to say, “We need $3,000.” It’s another to share a story about how much $100 will go: 

  • 2 nights at our shelter
  • Meals for 20 individuals
  • Job training for 13 single moms

Help your audience visualize the change they will make when they give. Share the success story of a young man or middle-aged woman or a teen mom. How did staying at your shelter make a difference in his or her life? Surround your fundraiser with stories that people can relate to or visualize. When we help people see the tangible difference they personally can make through their contribution, the momentum to give can build. 

Plan well.

A good plan is a well-laid plan. Involve everyone in regular planning meetings to energy stays high, everyone is clear on the goals, and camaraderie is built. Communicate well and be specific in what you will need at every step in the process: before, during, and after your fundraiser. But no matter how well you plan, remember to be flexible. Not everything may go exactly as you want, but that doesn’t mean that setting up a fundraiser was all in vain. Keep your enthusiasm high, stay flexible, and lean on each other as you move forward. Be creative! The ways to fundraise are only as limited as your imagination.

Ask.

Most businesses and individuals will support your efforts. They may not give financially or physically, but they may be wiling to help by posting flyers and sharing the cause with their customers. They may donate their services. They may give their time. But remember, no one will be likely to give if you don’t ask. Start by asking your friends and acquaintances so you can build your confidence and rehearse your story with people more likely to give. And don’t be afraid to leave the door open to creative giving options. “Is there another way you could contribute to this cause?” is a great question to ask every potential donor. 

Make it fun.

People make the best memories when they’re having fun. If you make your fundraiser a celebration event, you’ll raise more money, but more importantly, you’ll build loyalty with the people who attend. Which means you may have just built a fundraiser that can continue for years to come!

How Training Helps a Shelter

Shelters Provide Basic Short-Term Needs

Shelters provide an amazing service to those in need. Every single one works a little bit differently, but the heart to help is their unifying mission. Shelters generally provide the following:

  • A Safe Space. Safety is a shelter’s priority, both for you and any children who come with you.
  • Confidentiality. Your situation and information is yours, and will be kept private unless you grant permission for that information to be shared.
  • Food, Clothing, & Toiletries. Shelters generally provide these necessities for you and your family.
  • Transportation. Most shelters will provide transportation to get you to the shelter. Many times, bus passes are provided to help you get to any appointments or a job.
  • A Place to Sleep. Shelters will provide a bed for you and your loved ones. This may be in a common room or a shared bedroom, but it will be warm, clean, and dry. 
What Shelters Provide

Often these things are provided on a short-term basis. Safe housing programs are typically available for 3-7 days. Homeless shelters can be for up to 6 weeks. Transition programs can last much longer.

Shelters Can Provide Long-Term Assistance

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs acknowledges that our basic needs must come first: food, water, clothing, and shelter. Once these very base needs are met, our safety needs come next: personal security, emotional security, health and well-being, and financial security. The final three layers of the pyramid of needs are belonging, self-esteem, all of which culminates in self-fulfillment. Shelters provide basic needs, and often provide some physical safety.

But what if a shelter could go beyond the basic provisions, and provide tools that could help sustain people for the rest of their lives? What if this could be done without overtaxing the already exhausted shelter workers? What if there were a training that actually helps these workers avoid compassion fatigue and instead helps them build resilience?

Our free Live a Brighter Life curriculum can do just this. In six classes, students will learn to do the following:

  • Set boundaries and define personal space
  • Say no by saying yes differently
  • Uncover self-respect by letting go
  • Uncover a self-compassion that leads to resilience
  • Stand in divine power
  • Reclaim self physically and emotionally by being present

These 6 principals will not only help shelter workers bring their best selves to work each day, it will help them establish firm boundaries that are loving and compassionate to both themselves and to those around them. And these foundational truths will help them learn to rest, refresh, and value themselves in a way that allows them to become their best selves. Live a Brighter Life reshapes perspective. When all workers in a shelter are focused on these principals, decisions will be easier to make, organization will become easier, and because of the overall lift in emotional and physical health, your internal culture will shift.

How Training Helps a Shelter

In turn, shelter workers can pass this knowledge on to all those who come through the doors. Our Train the Trainers program will help your advocates provide the tools to help those in your shelter to learn to stand in their own power, respect themselves first, and teach their children to be their best as well. 

And in turn — step by step — we’ll begin to change our communities and change our world. 

How to Be Strong While Still Being Gentle

When we think of a gentle person, we envision someone who is kind, amiable, and without rudeness

“Nothing is so strong as gentleness, and nothing is so gentle as true strength.” St. Francis De Sales

When we think of a gentle person, we envision someone who is kind, amiable, and without rudeness. 

A gentle person makes no abrupt movements or declarations. He or she is courteous, polite, and soothing to be around. There is no need to be hurried, to be harsh, or to act with violence. A gentle person exudes a quiet confidence. This is a confidence borne from being okay with the world and with what comes your way. It is derived from a calm, quiet mind. The ability to handle those things denotes an inner strength that is often overlooked. This gentle confidence is also evidence that there is a firm awareness of what is right and what is not.

We are gentle with our children — we nurture, educate, and come alongside them with compassion and empathy if they scrape a knee. Yet this gentleness will stand strong in the face of anyone who tries to hurt our children. We have a confidence that standing for them is the right thing to do, and something that we must do. It is born of love, but also conviction that protecting children is worth the effort.

Model Gentle Strength

St. Francis De Sales said, “Nothing is so strong as gentleness, and nothing is so gentle as true strength.” For years, he went about the countryside trying to bring people back to the church. These same people slammed doors in his face and threw rocks at his body. Yet his conviction led him to continually reach out. Eventually, he went to the children. It was his kindness and gentleness with the children that won over the parents and opened the doors of communication. But it was also his persistence in pursuing his beliefs. Wherever we stand on faith, we probably all agree that this quiet man who cared for children was a strong, dedicated man.

Establish Boundaries

Gentleness can be our greatest strength when we are aware of our boundaries and are willing to enforce them. There is safety in knowing where the edges of our boundaries rest. When we’re able to stay within these boundaries, we are gifted with a sense of safety and peace as a result. This boundary enforcement can be gentle while still being firm.

Where should we create boundaries? Boundaries exist in all areas of life. Consider the following general categories:

  • Physical
  • Mental 
  • Emotional
  • Social
  • Spiritual
  • Professional
  • Fun

If we find we’re overwhelmed in any of these areas, there’s a good chance it’s because of a boundary issue. True strength is being able to gently remind ourselves of our own worth, our own needs, and the knowledge that when we honor these things about ourselves, we’ll be able to bring our very best selves to the world. Boundaries might mean taking 10 minutes when we get home from work to sit quietly and write in a gratitude journal. It might mean taking a walk every evening after dinner. It might mean setting time aside to put together a puzzle or practice yoga.

The first step on the path towards true strength is learning to be gentle with ourselves. Complimenting ourselves our own best attributes. Honoring our bodies. Creating a safe space for ourselves. And making room for joy. This is the path that leads to gentle strength.

Educating Others About Domestic Violence

Many around us have an image in their heads of what domestic violence looks like: black eyes, broken bones and shuttered windows. Many believe they could spot an abusive person fairly easily: the raging person who is uncomfortable to be around. But domestic violence (also called intimate partner violence, domestic abuse, or relational abuse) takes many forms. It often looks very different than what you’d think.

18% of teens experience domestic violence by someone they are dating

Who Experiences Domestic Violence?

The National Domestic Violence Hotline defines domestic violence as “a pattern of behavior used by one partner to maintain power and control over another partner in an intimate relationship.” It is not discriminatory — no matter the socioeconomics, age, gender, race, orientation, or religion. Consider these statistics straight from Janedoe.org:

  • Primarily Women. 90% of all domestic violence victims are female and most abusers are male.
  • LGBT. Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals are abused at approximately the same levels as heterosexual couples, but the abuse may be exacerbated by social isolation caused by societal oppression and discrimination.
  • Elders. 11% of individuals 60 or older reported experiencing abuse within the last year.
  • Children may be victims of domestic violence, hurt by being exposed to the violence and battering of a parent, and are sometimes used by perpetrators as threats of means to coerce their victims.
  • Teens. 18% of high school females and 7% of high school boys report being physically hurt by someone they are dating.
  • Immigrants. Domestic violence within immigrant and refugee communities can cause victims to be isolated socially and legally with complications due to documentation status and access issues due to language and culture. Abuse may be exacerbated by social isolation, language barriers, and lack of familiarity with local laws and services.
  • Men. 17% of men in relationships report violence committed against them by their partner.
  • Disabled. People with disabilities experience higher rates of domestic violence than the general public, often by the hand of caretakers or power relationships.

What is Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence can take many forms. Most media portrays it as physical or sexual, but this violence can also be financial or emotional. Abusers will use any means to control their partners in the relationship. They choose when, where, and how the abuse happens, and are often viewed by the general public as upstanding, dependable, well-adjusted people. Domestic violence can take on any of the following forms:

Physical

Physical abuse occurs when physical force is used against you in a way that injures or endangers you. It doesn’t suddenly happen overnight. There’s typically a slow escalation with verbal putdowns, veiled threats, and a gradual isolation from friends and family. Once the isolation

Questions to Ask if You Suspect Physical Abuse

  • Does your partner hit, push, slap, choke, kick, bite you or pull your hair?
  • Does your partner damage your property?
  • Does your partner burn you?
  • Does your partner refuse to let you or someone else leave?
  • Does your partner leave you in unfamiliar places?
  • Does your partner attack you with weapons?
Domestic Violence takes on many forms

Sexual

Sexual violence includes any action that hinders your ability to control your sexual activity or your ability to choose when, where, and how sexual activity happens. Anything other than consensual sex is an act of aggression and domestic violence.

Questions to Ask if You Suspect Sexual Abuse

  • Does your partner force you to have sex against your will?
  • Does your partner make you dress in a sexual way?
  • Does your partner refuse your request to use condoms or birth control?

Financial

When a partner controls the money and cash flow in the home, it could be a form of domestic violence. Removing access to finances can ensure that you can’t leave. It asserts power and control over your day-to-day life, and makes you subservient to their wishes and desires.

Questions to Ask if You Suspect Financial Abuse

  • Does your partner keep cash and credit cards from you?
  • Does your partner take your ID, money, or property without your permission?
  • Does your partner put you on an allowance and demand you justify every dollar you spend?
  • Does your partner keep you from working whatever job you want?
  • Does your partner sabotage your job by making you miss work, be late for work, or call constantly)?
  • Does your partner steal money from you or your friends and family?
  • Does your partner withhold money for basic needs?

Emotional

Emotional abuse affects how you feel about yourself. This is not just in the moment of intentional, overt abuse, but also how you feel about yourself and the world around you. Emotional abuse diminishes your feeling of self-worth and independence, making the world feel like an unsafe place.

Questions To Ask if You Suspect Emotional Abuse

  • Does your partner intimidate you?
  • Does your partner accuse you of having other relationships?
  • Does your partner threaten you, your children, family members, or pets?
  • Does your partner continually put you down or make you feel bad or stupid?
  • Does your partner keep you from contacting your friends and family?
  • Does your partner yell at you?
  • Does your partner blame you for abuse?
  • Does your partner have an unpredictable temper?
  • Does your partner withhold attention or affection?
Ways to help domestic violence victims

Ways to Help

Victims of domestic violence are often confused and scared. They second-guess themselves at every turn, apologize continually, and make excuses for their partner. They can sink into depression, anxiety, or suicidal thoughts. If you suspect someone is being abused, speak up! Express your concern. Mention the warning signs you’ve observed. Ask if something is wrong rather than waiting for them to approach you. Listen to them, but don’t pressure them. Don’t give advice. Instead, just offer help. Support their decisions. Be the friend who initiates and be persistent.

Additionally, educate yourself on domestic violence looks like. Read about it. Gather resources like the Power and Control Wheel. Listen to podcasts. Share encouragement. Know the local shelters and other supports for victims of domestic violence. It’s far more prevalent than most believe, so the more people who know how to be a support, a resource, and safe place for those who need it, the more chance we have in stemming the tide of domestic violence.

Could you be diagnosed with Burnout? The World Health Organization thinks so.

The WHO (World Health Organization) is bringing to light a truth many of us may be familiar with: work-related stress can bring on burnout. The new definition defines burnout as a “syndrome” related to “chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed”. Currently it is not considered a medical condition but an “occupational phenomenon”.

According to the World Health Organization, burnout results in the following:
1) “Feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion”

2) “Increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job”

3) “Reduced professional efficacy”

Burnout was also previously included in an older version of WHO’s disease handbook, but with less detailed components. The current updated definition brings more light and nuance to a situation those in a variety of fields face. The new definition also brings more legitimacy and a step towards bringing greater access to help and support.

The new definition also requires mental health professionals to rule out anxiety, mood disorders, and other stress-related conditions. This distinction and specificity could lead to more targeted research and resources for both treatment and prevention of the condition. WHO plans to begin the development of evidence-based guidelines on mental well-being for the workplace.

The Indrani’s Light Team is excited to see how this new definition, through awareness, research, diagnosis, and support program development impacts the lives of domestic violence advocates. For more resources to combat work-related stress and burnout, check out ILF’s advocate resource page.

7 Questions to Ask to Jumpstart Recovery

to jumpstart recovery recognize how trauma has affected you physically

For those healing from domestic violence, abuse or trauma, the first thing to realize is that recovery isn’t linear.

No one can outline the way recovery will progress and expect every person to follow that path step-by-step. Recovery is messy and complex and looks different for every single person. But recovery does have a few things in common, no matter the story. There are some questions that once someone is able to answer, will be able to jumpstart recovery. These are helpful to those in the process of recovery, but also helpful for those coming alongside these courageous survivors.

 

How has this trauma affected me physically?

This isn’t about broken bones and bruises, although those definitely come into play. This question is more about the changes this trauma has made on your brain and your nervous system. Our brains change throughout our lifetime, and this is a natural occurrence. But changes stemming from trauma can lead to PTSD, depression, substance abuse, personality disorders, and health issues. The sooner you’re able to identify these changes that come following trauma, the sooner you can seek treatment for them. And assure yourself that you’re not imagining things — you’re recovering from trauma and these symptoms are your physical body’s natural response.

 

Am I crazy?

Trauma can have a profound effect on so many areas of our lives. It can make you hypervigilant, panicky, and make your emotions go from 0-100 in a heartbeat. It can make you depressed and lethargic. And trauma can make you swing like a pendulum between the two. In short, it can make you feel very unlike yourself, and question your sanity. You can feel numb, and want to do something risky just so you feel something. Your memory might be unreliable. These can all be a result of the trauma you’ve experienced.

 

Will I always be a victim?

You aren’t a victim, you’re a survivor. Just this shift in perspective can help you regain much of your sense of control. Viewing yourself as a survivor will help reduce any shame that often accompanies trauma and abuse. It will remind you of your strength and resolve.

a support network will jumpstart recovery

Is there hope?

Yes, there is always hope. Optimism can still be part of your daily life, but it may take time to grow this perspective. It doesn’t mean looking at life through rose-colored glasses. Healthy optimism involves taking a brutally honest look at what has happened, where you are as a result, and then taking constructive action from that place. This type of optimism can reduce your sense of helplessness and direct you towards your next steps.

 

Do I have a strong support network?

Gathering people around you who will support you is paramount to recovery. Educate yourself on what you need. Be brutally honest with yourself in this process but keep your focus on the future, not the past. Remember that asking for help doesn’t mean you’re weak — it means you’re courageous and willing to move forward.

Let your people know that you’ll need them to be proactive in their help because there may be times you’ll need them but struggle to ask for their help. Last, push yourself to respond to them when they call, text, or email. Sometimes this is easy, but there are times it will be difficult. Connection is a lifeline in the recovery process.

kids who experience trauma need support as well to jumpstart recovery

Will my kids be okay?

Kids who experience trauma or abuse need support as well. Make sure they have resources for their physical well-being. Help establish a support network for them. School may prove difficult for a time, so if there’s a school counselor available, make sure they’re introduced. Ask questions and fully listen to their responses. Parents often assume they know what’s going on in their child’s heart and mind. By giving your child space and time to share their story, you’ll gain sight into what their triggers may be and what sort of support they most need.

 

Will I even find good things again?

Gratitude plays a role in the recovery process. Challenge yourself to track the good things in your life right now. Make a list. Write down something every single day for which you’re thankful. This list will buoy you when you hit a rough patch. It can remind you of your progress and your own strength and resilience. And it will be anchor if life feels overwhelming.

when you jumpstart recovery you'll be able to find good things again

Recovery can be a long road, but one worth the effort. Give yourself time to heal and grow, and be gentle with yourself. And if you’re working with someone in recovery, be generous with your patience and encouragement.