Category Archives: News & Updates

Natural Disasters Perfect Storm for Domestic Violence

What happens when a family is in turmoil from domestic violence and a natural disaster hits?

(Photo credit: KPCC Radio 89.3)

An increase in violence

In circumstances like these I have not seen any agencies speak up about the increased violence that is likely to happen.  If victims do not seek help before a disaster, there is even less help available during, or after a disaster.  The stresses on the victims become more acute and the rage and lack of control of the abuser can skyrocket.

Violence affects one in three women globally and stress can increase the levels and the frequency of domestic violence.

More time at home = More violence

Let’s think about it logically.  If an abuser has a job and is out of the home 8 to 10 hours a day, there is a chance that the other household members get a reprieve from screaming, name calling and physical violence.  The children may have a few hours after school to feel a little “freer,” and may be able to even forget their circumstances for awhile.  Intuitively the kids know when the abuser is most likely to be home.  They have an internal clock that turns on when “stuff” is about to happen.  The parent at home is likely to give verbal cues such as, “Be quiet, you know your father/ mother does not like noise.”

The children may begin to curtail their childish ways and begin to try to behave in more acceptable ways.  It really does not matter what they do as the abuser does not need any reason to explode.  The abuser is the explosive and is watching and waiting for any reason to allow the explosion to burst.

If this happens when the abuser is only home for a few hours, imagine what happens when the abuser is home for days on end.  Days on end with NO water or electricity, or distractions, and a house of scared children and an equally scared spouse will raise the levels of abuse in significant ways.


(Photo taken by unknown publisher)

How can communities help these families?

We can be vigilant for behaviors that are disturbing in the youngest and most vulnerable.

We can be vigilant for outward signs of physical abuse.  We can be brave enough to alert the authorities if we see or feel that things are amiss.

We can live by the adage, “See something, say something.”

Remember, October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.  Will you be the one to step up and be the change you wish to see in your world?

With gratitude,

Indrani Goradia
Indrani’s Light Foundation | Founder

It is a big deal: It happened to me

orange-the-world-w-ilf-logoThe unusual topic of conversation seems to follow me.  At business meetings, dinner parties, and coffee dates, people keep talking to me about their childhood abuse.  It makes sense:  my story of abuse motivates my work, and I don’t stop talking about my mission to end violence in every home {TEDTalk}.  Because I share my vulnerable story, people open up to me; some tell of severe cases, others of the occasional slap or scream.  It must be human nature to diffuse pain and suffering because most say that they deserved the abuse.

Let me tell you this… I did not deserve it.

I did not deserve to be beaten because the baby pooped in his diaper and smeared it on the wall.  The baby was one years old and I was five.  I was told to watch the baby, and I was watching the baby.  Regardless, I did not deserve to be hit.  Nothing a child does merits physical pain and emotional suffering – even if it’s to “teach a lesson.”

This is but one incident of parental anger and rage that was not right.  My life of violence was a big deal to me as a child, but it became even bigger when it reared its ugly head after I became a mother.  In my TEDxTalk , I describe how I had to fight the beast inside me for the sake of my own innocent child. I believed, and still do, that “if we do not claim our abuse, we will repeat it.”  It was a big deal to my son that I never beat him. It was a big deal to me that I saved a new generation from violence.

We all have a Moral Imperative to end violence in the world, the majority of which is done towards women and children.  November 25 is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and we must all use our voices to make the issue of Gender-Based Violence a big deal.  I will be using my voice in my home country, Trinidad, during the 16 days of Gender Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, to ensure that the issue of violence is not ignored as part of my work with  Maverick Collective and Population Services International (PSI).  I am Trinidadian and am proud to be.  I am, however, not proud that violence is so pervasive and normalized.  Many Trinidadians are of the opinion that violence is needed to “discipline.”  This is not so.

There is much research that shows children who receive violence suffer not only in the present moment but also long into the future.  According to the Centers of Disease Control  abused children are plagued with a long list of repercussions from depression and suicides, to inability to maintain healthy intimate relationships, to becoming abusers themselves.  So if childhood abuse is so common in Trinidad, no wonder 1 in 3 Trinidadians have experienced physical violence from their most recent intimate partner, according to a PSI-Caribbean study.

Reports of crimes related to sexual assault and domestic violence increased by nearly 50% between 2013 and 2014 according to the UN in the Universal Periodic Review of Trinidad and Tobago.  But it doesn’t have to be this way.  Abuse doesn’t have to keep happening to children.  Relationships don’t have to be plagued with violence.  It starts with you. Determine your Adverse Childhood Experiences Score to understand how your childhood may have affected your physical and emotional growth.  If violence happened to you, it is a big deal.  But you also have the power to end it, in your own home, starting today.

Let’s #orangetheworld together, because TOGETHER WE ARE MIGHTY!

With Love & Light,

Indrani Goradia | Founder
Indrani’s Light Foundation

Fall Virtual Live A Brighter Life Evening Class

We have officially launched our fall LIVE virtual Live a Brighter Life Night Classes, taught by our Director of Education & Training, Amy Jaffe, and some of our certified LABL Trainers.  As we near the holiday season, we felt this was a wonderful opportunity to teach you the tools to start practicing your boundaries, and saying “No” to your friends, family, and others in your life.  It’s also a great time of the year to take care of yourself, and practice more self-care. We’ll work on some tools to move through some guilt and shame feelings as well.

fall-2016-labl-imageFor the first time ever, we will be teaching the Live a Brighter Life curriculum in the evening so that more people can attend after work, cooking dinner, getting the kids ready for bed.  Classes will be taught from 6pm – 7:30pm PT starting Thursday October 27th. These classes will be held every Thursday evening for the next six weeks (excluding Thanksgiving in the U.S.).

(We realize this time will be quite late for our East Coast community members, hopefully you can still make it live)

If you join us for this free 6-Class series you will learn the tools you need to change your life by:

  • October 27th – Setting boundaries that will protect you and help create healthy relationships during the upcoming holidays
  • November 3rd – Delivering a “Positive No” that will open up your time and energy so you can say “Yes” to what is important (A strong “No” leads to amazing “holiday yeses!)
  • November 10th – Building resilience to feeling shame in your life (let’s face it, time with family can bring up a lot of….stuff)
  • November 17th – Ending the habit of putting everyone else first, and taking care of yourself (holidays can be exhausting, let us help you take care of yourself)
  • December 1st –  Creating a more positive and meaningful day, every day (make this one of your best holidays ever!)
  • December 8th – Being present, and reclaiming yourself!

(Completing this 6-Class series is also the first step in becoming a Live a Brighter Life Trainer.  If you are looking for a way to make an impact with your volunteer work, we would love to add you to our growing list of trainers!)

We made it very simple to sign up.  Just click on THIS LINK and fill out the short form. You’re done! If you need to miss a class …. It’s okay!  We are recording every class so you can listen to it later and catch up for the following week.  I will give you a little homework after every class … but you’ll love this kind of homework!

I hope to see you THIS Thursday at 6pm!

SOCIAL MEDIA SHARING

We could also use your support in spreading the word about our Live A Brighter Life Class. You can use the following text on Facebook, twitter, or your social media platform of choice to get your friends and family involved in stopping the silence:

Facebook: Hey friends! I’m signed up for the FREE Live A Brighter Life online class with Indrani’s Light Foundation starting this THURSDAY at 6pm PT. Will you join me?  We can support each other through this holiday season! Here’s the link for details: http://indranislight.org/labl-2016/

For twitter: @indranis_light is offering their FREE virtual Live A Brighter Life 6-week class starting on Thurs, Oct 27th http://indranislight.org/labl-2016/

With love & light,

 

Team ILF

 

 

Meditate with Indrani – *Being Present*

Meditate with Indrani image

Indrani would love to share some of her meditations with you, so keep an eye on the ILF blog for our ongoing meditation series, which begins with today’s meditation.  Her desire is to assist the members of the Indrani’s Light Foundation family a way to begin a meditation practice, if you do not have one at this time.  If you have a meditation practice, these weekly meditations will help you to work on living a brighter life.

Today’s meditation is called, “Being Present.”  This is a meditation that will enable you to be present with whatever comes up.  Are you experiencing feelings that are stopping you in your tracks?

Indrani wants you to just NOTICE and be aware of your emotions and behavior, without judgment.  This can help you be PROactive in your life, and not REactive.  This is only a 3-minute meditation to get you present with your current emotions….. try it.  It’s only 3 minutes.

“Being Present” Meditation Recording

 

The importance of mentoring our young people.

Portrait of Young Woman Holding Blank PlacardI recently attended a conference which was populated with amazing, young social entrepreneurs and people ready to make significant change in their world.

Young people concerned with food security for the most vulnerable on the planet, those concerned with helping adolescents with HIV Aids to live a full life and others still who were just looking for a cause.

Here is what I know for sure…

They all need a mentor, a guide who can listen to their thoughts, their visions and their big dreams.

I know this because I so desperately needed mentors through the various stages of my life.

I had great and supportive teachers in high school, in college and graduate school. Then I was in the work world and had no one to turn to for help with my career.

I did not even know what my skills were.

I had no idea what questions to ask or who to turn to for guidance.

As I was wrapping up my presentation from the stage at this conference I said, “I am 61 and I know what it’s like to be working in the dark. I know what it’s like to have a vision that no one else can understand and how easy it is to begin the toxic process of self doubt.”

I offered to be a mentor to those who needed one.

A few young women came up during the course of the weekend and asked me to mentor them and with each request my heart grew wider and warmer and I know what an honor it is to be the attentive ears for these future leaders.

My ask for you is to offer yourself to mentor others.

It does not matter how old or young you are, someone needs what you have.

When I was that small and beaten child in Trinidad, what I would have given to someone to have seen my pain and acknowledged it and given me some soft ears to speak my pain.

I know that it would have made my pain sting less.

Speak up.

Listen well.

Share your strengths.

 

Love & light,

Indrani

Men need to become better leaders…and as a man this is terrifying

I am sitting with a bunch of guys in a dressing room at the local hockey arena. Everyone is taking a break from a game of men’s floor hockey, drinking a few beers, and telling tall tales.

Then it begins…comments about the wives and women in our lives:

“I came home the other day and the house wasn’t even clean. What the hell is she doing all day while I am at work? Sitting around growing her ass or what”

“I told her I was coming here and it was blah blah blah, you never spend time with me. Of course I don’t, all you do is nag”

“Did you see that girl in the bar Thursday night….she had huge guns, they were amazing”

“I totally took her home, banged her, and showed her the door…”

And so it goes. Degenerating into inappropriate jokes and comments that no one in that room would say in public or outside of a room of a bunch of men drinking beer and kidding around.

Now, with my new realizations around Gender Based Violence, and the treatment of women, I need to stand up and say:

“Ummm….hey guys…this isn’t cool, you know. Aaaahhh…talking about your wives this way isn’t helping how your son sees women. That, ah.. that girl in the bar is someone’s daughter. Do you want someone talking about your daughter that way?”

Silence.

Dumbfounded silence mixed with shock, and looks of “who the hell invited this guy?”

 

Jackson Katz, in the Ted Talk below, clearly explains why focusing on women when talking about gender based violence is wrong, and why this focus needs to shift to men, and what men are doing (and not doing about it). He also clearly explains that men need to become leaders around this topic, and that the true battle will be won, not in public, when we are openly defending women, but within the small groups of men where so much of this harmful talk continues in a “safe zone”.

I hear what Jackson is saying, and it terrifies me. I want to be this leader. I want to make sure my son’s view of women is healthy. I want to protect all the daughters out there. I want to help eliminate violence against women.

Writing for Indrani’s Light Foundation – check.

Helping train others to help women in shelters – check.

Speaking out about gender based violence in social media – check.

Share the message with local schools and other people – check.

Stand up, in the moment, in a group of guys, and call them on their bullshit statements.

Gulp.

That one I NEED to work on, and it isn’t going to be easy.

But I am going to try.

If you are a man, or have men in your life who could use help developing this leadership, and taking this plunge, share Jackson Katz’s video and let’s get started.

Link: http://www.ted.com/talks/jackson_katz_violence_against_women_it_s_a_men_s_issue?language=en#t-284753

Kids on Mindfulness…..Just Breathe

We could all learn a thing or two from these kids.

 

Watch as they describe what happens when they start to feel angry and then what they do to control the emotion.

 

Our future is so bright. 

 

 

Love & light,

 

Team ILF

What to give up for lent….it’s not what you think.

Mother-in-lawThe days between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday marks the Lenten season for Christians.

Many people “give up” something for lent. Many stop eating sweets or stop drinking or some other behavior modification.

Few people give up “being nasty” to others.

That maybe be too harsh a thing to say, but it needs to be said.

I recently met a woman whose son was getting married and she “asked” to go to the bridal dress shopping expedition. The future daughter in law was nice enough to take her along. When the bride found the perfect dress, she asked the mother in law what she thought and the response was… “It’s not to my liking.”

The bride went ballistic and shouted at the mother in law that it was NOT her wedding.

As I was listening to this story, I wondered why the mother in law was not giving up something other than sweets for lent.

She was so ferociously attacking the bride-to-be and calling her names to whom ever was listening, like “hoochie” that it was very hard to be sympathetic to her hurt feelings.

Personally, I know what the bride felt like. When I was getting married, none of the saris that I wanted were “good enough” for my future in laws.

Luckily, I was quite stubborn, and with the help of my future husband I got exactly what I wanted.

Parenting is hard at all ages and when kids are grown up enough to start their own families we all get to enter a new stage of parenting. This time we get to try to be nurturing to complete strangers whom our children have chosen.

We have to give up judgments of what they should or should not do.

We have to help the young people to sort through their own lives.

This is the only way forward into a new stage of non aggression with the new family member.

I wished this women would give up bad mouthing her future daughter-in-law for lent instead of cookies and candies.

I believe that I suggested she give up negative thinking instead of sweets and she said that it would be too difficult.

Is that not the idea for lent? To make a sacrifice that smarts a little?

So what have you given up for lent? Let us know in the comment section below.

Make the sacrifice count. Make the sacrifice make you a better person.
Love and light,
Indrani

Choosing to GROW or to SHRINK…..

BalanceRocksSea-e1366181562699-37055_639x375The week was a doozie for me personally.

I started out the week with some disappointments, then got some great news and then some greater news, then was able to witness the pain of another while holding space for them.

And all of a sudden I realized that through all the ups and downs I had lost my roots.

I allowed myself to get SWEPT away by whatever news was floating around me.

I forgot that I was in charge of MY emotional health.

It was quite a shock to me, because I have been more rooted than not these past few years.  Took my rooting for granted. I forgot that I had to continuously strengthen the roots for them to stay strong.

It is like lifting weights and when you stop, the muscles get lazy and you have to start all over again.

I forgot to devote more time to meditation and to yoga and to silence.

I have been ON for weeks in a row and forgot that I needed time away from everything.

I became intoxicated with the numbers on my pedometer and started to believe that the numbers mean more than numbers.

The result was that in a matter of a few weeks I was thrown from emotional pillar to crushing post and I have the bruises to show.

I realized that I was out of alignment.

This misalignment was not a spinal condition, it was a spiritual condition.

The only course of action was to STOP and BE in the moment.

I dug out one of my favorite spiritual reads, The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho.

I began to devote time to inner inquiry and intuitive push-ups.

I began to ALIGN myself with my values again.

I offer you the simple formula below to help you to remember how to regain Alignment.

ALIGN
A… Always
L…lean into your
I…intuitive
G…growth
N…NO to giving your power away.

You can begin to ask yourself what it means to give your power away.

You can give it away in many ways.

You can believe that other people must do certain things to make you happy.

They must have lunch or dinner with you.

They must call you every other day or ask you certain questions that show they really care.

If you can come up with a list of people who have affronted you and it brings up a lot of hurt then there is a good chance you have given some power away. They are still controlling your feelings. You must de tangle from their grasp.

When you are in alignment, you can feel hurt without having the hurt bring you to your emotional knees. You can separate from the event in question and begin to recapture all of you.

The pieces that felt hurt and wounded will begin to heal and bloom.

It may take a few moments to begin the process of healing, it is worth the time you will invest.

If you do not choose to heal, you choose to keep hurting.

Give this a try will you?

 

Love & light,

Indrani

Not even with a flower. Hope for the future of Gender Based Violence.

What do a future fireman, police man, baker, soccer player, and pizza maker have in common?

They all have the same response when asked to slap a young girl.

Watch the video below to see their reaction:

Link: http://youtu.be/b2OcKQ_mbiQ

If this is a typical response by the young boys of today, then what changes between 7 years old and adulthood that results in women experiencing the violence that we know they do on a daily basis?

More importantly: What can we do to help young boys like this grow up into men that truly believe “girls shouldn’t be hit, not even with a flower”?

We all need to start sharing answers about this question.

Please share your thoughts in the comments below: what do we need to do differently to help young boys grow up into men who don’t hit women?

 

Love & light,

Jeremie Miller