By Allison Crowe, See the Triumph co-founder
It’s October, so this month our focus is on “No Stigma/Only Triumph.” In order to fight the stigma that still persists about intimate partner violence, we need all the advocates we can get! So, today I encourage you to find your own inner advocate. But how do I do this? Where do I start? What do I care about? You might be wondering these sorts of questions, so I will share a little about my own process in hopes that this might help you.
When Christine and I started the See the Triumph project, we knew we wanted to share the stories we’d heard from survivors in our research. We had interviewed a small number of women and were touched by the poignant experiences, messages to other survivors, horror stories of abuse, and ways the women we met had managed to overcome abusive relationships. This was about three years ago, but I remember our phone call after we’d completed the interviews as if it were yesterday! Both of us seemed to know we wanted to do something more than the traditional, scholarly writing about the research, but how exactly this would look we really didn’t know.
One of our first ideas was to create a website to reach a broader audience. We had quotes from the interviews that we thought might work well displayed with pictures and images. We had to make sure that both of our institutional review boards (IRBs) would approve of sharing our research in this way. As the project grew, so did out knowledge of social media, and tools that are available for sharing information and reaching a broader audience. Honestly, when we started, Christine and I did not know much about social media tools, blogging, pledges and petitions, and how to be advocates of a project like this.
Each See the Triumph milestone has been a learning experience, but along the way, one of my biggest take-away’s has been proudly adding the identity of advocate to my role as a university professor. And I have to say, it has been one of the most rewarding identities to claim. I remember learning about the role of advocacy during my master’s program in counseling and feeling intimated about how to advocate, what this would look like in practice, and finding time for this in addition to the other responsibilities of a professional counselor. Today, I want to share some of my own small lessons learned about advocacy through the See the Triumph project. My hope is that by reading some of these, you might think about them as they apply to your own passions and identities as advocates:
These are five simple reflections from my own journey with See the Triumph. My hope is that they might help those of you along the way in your paths towards advocacy.
Thanks for reading, and as always, thanks for supporting our work! Best of luck with finding your inner advocate, or even beginning the process!