On May 3rd 2019 Indrani was recognized as a champion of gender equity and justice for both her global work to lift women and girls out of poverty, and her domestic work to improve the level of care for domestic violence survivors by teaching front-line advocates resilience against compassion fatigue and burnout.
Indrani was so excited to receive her award from Vagina Monologues writer Eve Ensler.
After the event Indrani recorded this video for you to talk about how it feels to be recognized, whether that recognition is something small or something big, and to encourage you to take a tiny step forward with whatever goal or dream you are envisioning.
Now it is your turn to answer Indrani’s questions:
What is it you want to do?
Why do you want to do it?
What are a few first steps you can take right now?
Leave a comment below with your answers to these questions so Indrani and the ILF Team can share your journey.
Sakhi for South Asian Women (Sakhi), New York City’s first South Asian American women’s organization and an award-winning nonprofit that combats domestic and sexual violence in NYC’s South Asian community, celebrated 30 years of service and advocacy at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine at its gala ‘Honoring the Power Within’, on May 3, 2019.
As part of our “Caring for the Caregivers” Program, our team travels to domestic violence-focused organizations and shelters to provide in person support and training around compassion fatigue and burnout. In March, our team was delighted to travel to Philadelphia to train over 50 Caregivers from multiple domestic violence organizations. Our founder, Indrani Goradia, was also able to attend one of the training days, providing more insight and care to our training participants.
Throughout the week we worked with staff in various arenas: medical advocates, hotline staff, legal advocates, administrators, therapists and housing advocates among others. We had lively discussions about the extraordinary situations staff encounter on a day-to-day basis and subsequently, how the pervasive stress leads to burnout and compassion-fatigue. Many of the staff shared that this stress has had an impact on their capacity to take care of the needs of their friends and family.
Our trainers actively listened and validated the Caregivers experience. We taught numerous tools designed to support staff with recognizing and setting boundaries, a fundamental practice of self-care. One staff person who has been in the field for two decades said of the boundary tools, “This has changed the way I look at everything.” We received consistent feedback that the visualization exercises were immensely helpful in preparing for having difficult conversations. An administrator commented “This exercise has helped me both personally and professionally.”
We take great joy in knowing our trainings are supporting Caregivers as they continue to do their work. For more information about our resources and support, visit ourCaregiver Resources. We’re looking forward to our next training!
“Are you trying to break families?” asked the principle of the school.
A few years ago, I had the wonderful opportunity to speak to a group of young women about violence.
During the talk, I asked the audience about violence in their homes and under what circumstances they would accept violence from future boyfriends and husbands. They all said they would not accept, but I knew better. One in three women will be abused in her life.
The sad truth is that women don’t really think about future violence and when they don’t put an end to it quickly, they begin to believe it’s too late.
IT IS NEVER TOO LATE TO WANT VIOLENCE TO END.
IT IS NEVER TOO LATE TO BEGIN TO LEARN THE TOOLS ON HOW TO END VIOLENCE.
At the end of the talk, the school principle asked the question that started off this blog post.
The ONLY answer to this question is this…
IT IS THE ABUSER WHO HAS BROKEN THE FAMILY full stop.
Have you struggled with responding with compassion and love when an individual challenges your boundaries or your truth?
Listen to this episode of the Caring for the Caregivers podcast as Indrani and special guest, Mark Silver, share their wisdom and experience with addressing challenging responses and staying in your power when faced with challenge.
00:00 Intro 01:30 Indrani- Scenario and Introduction of Guest Speaker, Mark Silver 08:02 Mark- How to use training and practice for challenging responses 10:20 Discussion 14:16 Mark- saying No from a place of strength 18:25 Spiritual Power Discussion 25:20 Honoring the Physical Vessel 32:03 Summary and conclusion
Looks like a pile of trash yes? No matter how many times you look at it or stare at it, it still looks like a pile of dirty tissues.
Look at photo number 2.
See something peeking out? Look closely. It’s a gold bracelet.
There are two lessons here: Lesson One: NEVER wrap your jewelry in tissue paper for “ safe keeping.” Better to stuff it in your shoe so when you go to put them on, you will feel the sharp edge. Better yet put it in a safe or on your body! Lesson Two: What looks like garbage to you may hold treasures for another. Let’s not judge what others hold precious, they have their reasons. Better to ask and be curious in a kind way.
The architecture of a healthy mind, body and spirit is a mindful practice. It is not happenstance. It must be intentional. What steps must we take to carefully craft our best lives?
We can look to other areas of life for inspiration. For example, Amsterdam has a brand new subway. It took decades of planning and it took 15 years of construction and teams of architects and engineering professionals from many disciplines.
A TV spokesperson stated that one of the stations was built offsite and floated on a canal to be installed in its permanent home. It was floated under previous canals and other obstacles. They turned engineering on its head to create the new stations and new delivery systems.
Imagine the brilliance of that particular decision! Architects had to dream it up and then prove to and convince their teams to accept the unlikely approach. Let’s imagine now deciding to create healthier lives for ourselves and our families. Most of us will look at what we eat and when we exercise. Most of us will not look at what we say and how we behave and what steps we can take to create peace in our lives and in our homes.
When architects and engineers and civil societies get together to create new physical spaces for populations, they all discuss how lives will improve when the project is complete. They have agreed upon goals. I am sure there are winners and losers in the final decision and still at the end of the day, everyone must accept the group’s decision.
If we decide to live peaceful lives within our families, we must also have common goals. No one individual can make sustainable changes within families. Neither can we coax or bride people into compliance. Everyone in the family system must understand why changes are needed and what is to be gained from enacting such agreed upon changes.
We need a team approach. As a team we need to decide on the goals we have and what resources we will devote to the changes. We need to keep checking our choices with how it lines up with what we set out to achieve. If we say we want to stop yelling and resorting to physical violence in our homes, we must find other options and teach the family team what new behaviors to enact. We must be willing to stop blaming others for losing our tempers and take full responsibility for our behaviors. Adults must act like adults and leave the tantrums to the children. Children have to be taught conflict management and how to make their case without losing their minds.
We must get help from professionals. We need a team approach. We must practice the new behaviors. We will fail and we must begin again. We must not resort to blaming and shaming. When architects create prototypes and test them, they use the information to make changes to better the end result. They don’t just shrug their shoulders and say “ oh well, we tried, we can’t change because this is who we are.”
It’s human beings with grand ideas who make life better for all of us. We can use this same brilliance to make our families better and happier and violence free. We can and we must if we hope to help the next generation be violence free.
There was a time when I used to buy flowers and hang them upside down for them to dry. I had a notion that I could have a small business making dried floral arrangements. This illusion did not last long.
These days I buy beautiful flowers and rush home to put them in water to keep them fresh. I take pains to prepare the water. I use a few drops of chlorine or a crushed baby aspirin in the water and I lovingly arrange the stems. I change out the water and try to make the flowers last as long as I can.
I realize that taking loving care of the flowers with preparing the water is a lot like raising children. We try to give them an environment where they will thrive and bloom and grow up to be strong and kind. We pay close attention to how we behave around them, except for when we don’t.
If we live in an environment where there is violence, be it emotional or verbal or physical, and we pretend that it does not affect our kids, we are deluding ourselves. This year on valentine day if you get flowers or buy them yourself, ask yourself if you care if they live or die.
If you don’t care then just throw them away.
If you do care, notice how much attention you give to them.
Our kids are our precious blossoms and they need nurturing and pretending that violence is not affecting them is lying to ourselves. Take a step back and access the situation and ask for help if you need it. It’s not easy to look at what’s really happening and making a few changes, but I guarantee you that it’s worth the time and effort.
Say NO to abuse. Don’t leave yourself unfinished. Inspired by business executive and author, Seth Godin. Read the post here.
If you don’t have time to clean up, you don’t have time to cook.
Professionals understand that the project is the whole project, not simply the fun or urgent or interesting part of the work.There are countless productive shortcuts along the way. But not finishing the project isn’t one of them.
I have been reading Seth’s posts for a whole year and I am amazed that his posts take the simplest things and make them mind blowing business advice.The above post made me realize this:If your lover/husband/anyone feels they have the right to hit you then you better feel you have the right to leave.
You see, when we stay inside of abuse we leave ourselves unfinished.We were sent into the world to work on ourselves and complete the work we need to do and accepting abuse is not part of a success scenario.
Getting hot or getting cold or getting burned is a never ending game with abusers.
I love a hot shower and I realize that it is a privilege to have both water and to have it hot.
This post is not about water privilege but I will use the mechanism of the water heater to illustrate some abusive behaviors. If I take a shower about 30-40 mins after a family member I can usually get a little bit of tepid water that is still in the pipes and if I forget that this is simply left over from the last person and jump in without thinking, sooner rather than later, I will be shocked with gallons of cold water coming out of the shower head. I have to have the presence of mind to allow the water to heat up again so that all the water I need or want is at the temperature that is comfortable for me.
If I am living with an abuser and he comes home in a good mood, it’s probably left over warmth from a work friend or his girlfriend and if I pretend that his “ warmth” has anything g to do with me, then I am in for a big shock. I might find myself saying things like “but you were in such a great mood” what happened?
The answer will be that the warmth left over from his friend has run thru his veins and his emotional distance has reappeared. If I push and push for the “warmth” to return, he may jump from ice cold to scalding hot in seconds. Scalding hot could look like punching, screaming, cursing or worse.
When we normalize abusive behaviors and pretend that we are strong enough to fix the chronic dysfunction, it’s like pretending that we don’t know that after the cold water runs out, the hot water will appear and we will get burned. I do not mean to suggest that dealing with these mood swings is easy, but pretending that the mood swings are not happening and continually bending over backwards and tying ourselves up in knots trying to figure out what we did wrong, it’s ignoring reality.
We need help and advice and we must be steady enough and grounded enough to look for it.
Can I tell you a secret?
Well, after I tell you, it’s no longer a secret! Here it is…I AM SICK of saying the same thing.
The ONLY thing that remains crucial to the health and welfare of the world and that is END VIOLENCE to WOMEN and GIRLS.Are you sick and tired of reading these messages from me? I would expect that you are. It’s Ok..I know you don’t mean you are sick and tired of me as a person.
If you are reading this, you probably like me. Know that I am also sick and tired of asking people to dissect their lives and find the ways where the violence is silent and insipid.
What areas? Here are just a few…Telling your daughter to lose weight because no boys will like her. Telling your self boys will be boys.Allowing your spouse to disrespect you.Allowing yourself to accept disrespect. Making excuses for religious institutions to treat women as second class citizens. Repeating lies like “ she must have been asking for it, look at how she was dressed” when you see or read about sexual and physical violence.
I could go on and on, but you are smart enough to get the idea. Take an action to end violence, please.
Give to Indrani’s Light Foundation
Your support will be used towards covering the costs of the free one-day or two-day, in-person training the ILF Team provides to the advocates at domestic violence organizations across the United States. Your support has already paid for training in Texas, Oregon, Washington, California, Pennsylvania, Alabama, and Illinois.