Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Why WE Never Feel Like Shutting Down

Act #274:  Talk it out, people.

Dear Friends in the District,
It has been a challenging year for my organization, to say the least, with me being new and all.  Some of the things that have been a source of discussion and debate: our education priorities, measuring outputs for our clinical work, defining "advocacy", turning down funding that does not align with our mission, insufficient funding and resources in the first place, competing organizational priorities, supervising vs. mentoring, our crisis line rotation, outreach goals, our own cultural competency.  And on top of all that, we've been working under your looming threats of sequestration.  

Sometimes it can all feel so overwhelming that we want to hide and not get out of bed, but we do anyway - because we know that people are counting on us.  Not only is it not an option for us to refuse to work until we all agree on everything - but it is our calling, our responsibility, our privilege to provide services to survivors of sexual violence and to prevent violence from happening in the first place.  Can you imagine what our community would look like if we stopped working?  Victims would arrive at hospital emergency rooms alone.  There would be no 24-hour crisis line to call, no counseling, no legal advocacy.  But perhaps the worst consequence would be this: there would be no one out there believing that we can in fact transform our communities to effectively speak out against violence and to change individual behaviors that lead to violence.  

I won't lie.  This is hard work.  And sometimes we go home and literally cry ourselves to sleep.  But we push through.  We keep talking to each other.  We keep doing what we do, while never letting up on seeking ways to do them better.  Because in the end, we know that this is not about us.  It's about the people who need us, and who trust us to be there.  Someone had enough faith in us to hire us to do this work. And so we shall.  Willingly and with conviction.  Even when we can't figure out who to blame for the dirty dishes in the sink.

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