News and Updates / Safe Spaces at SRC!
Safe Spaces at SRC!
We know that this year, the global pandemic has disproprotionately affected women. Women have been expected to continue working, from home or in high risk environments, educatie their children, and maintain all the things that come with running a family or a household. That’s a lot. So where has the support been?
As usual women are not provided the luxury of stepping out, taking a break or doing something for themselves. This could look like seeking support to heal from sexual violence, but more broadly, this could look like taking an hour to do some Yoga. We’ve reached out to women in our service, our staff and volunteer team to bring you some tips and some thoughts around making time for yourself, and why a women only space like SRC- might just be the one for you!
What is it like to be in a women only space?
At SRC, we often get feedback that being in a space with only women feels like a novelty! We have to agree. Some of our volunteers mentioned that initally, it was so strange to not have space occupied by men, but that they were so quick to get used to it- and then they loved it!
In the world we live in, so much space is occupied by men. We know that men perpertrate sexual violence to intimidate and control women, and living in that environment can leave us feeling unsafe, uncomfortable and scared. At SRC, we know that feeling safe allows us to be our authentic selves, and empowers us to better heal from sexual violence.
We have been told that being in the SRC space was ‘uplifting and enlightening’ and we’re so proud to have created this space in Suffolk for women to be.
Why should I make time for myself?
Life is busy, and things pile up on us! But, it’s so important that we’re managing our health and wellbeing, and that our basic needs are covered, so we can support those around us. When we’re stressed, often self care is the first thing that e stop doing- when in reality, it’s probably the best thing to help!
It can feel really hard to put a boundary in place around your time, but it is also so empowering to take some time which is dedicated just to you. Accessing an SRC service, such as our counselling, means that you are dedicating 50 minutes a week just to you, and that’s such a powerful act.
We’ll leave you with some powerful words here:
Always take things at your pace and do not be afraid to say you are not comfortable in a situation, without apologising for it. You do have your own personal rights. You can filter what you feel safe doing and don’t be afraid of going slow, as you’re still moving forward. The feeling of freedom of being truly you, is magical.
How are Reclaim The Night and Safe Spaces connected?
Reclaim The Night started in the 1970’s in response to the messages given by the police, which focued on ‘women keeping themselves safe’, rather than focusing on men’s responsibility to not pepertrate violence. Since then, women have reclaimed the streets every year to protest that women are still encouraged not to walk after dark, and not to walk alone.
This is not only victim blaming, but it also ignores the other spaces where women are unsafe, such as in their homes, or around people they may trust, as only 8&% of sexual violence is perpertrated by someone unknown to women.
Ultimately, the threat of, or sexual violence, limits the spaces that we are safe. In response to this, SRC feel is is imperative that we provide a multitude of spaces (in our building, and online) where women are safe, and not limited by sexual violence. We believe that it is in these spaces that women can create powerful and positive change!
How can I be an activist?
There isn’t one way to ‘be an activist’ and activsim can look different in different contexts!
In today’s world, where women are expected to fufill mutliple roles, slowing down, stopping and taking care of yourself becomes a political act, an act of defiance. Taking care of yourself is activism.
Lots of women who have spent time at SRC have become more empowered to be activists and create change in the world, and they feel that they are more understanding and enlightened how trauma can impact women, and how you [women] can lead a normal life after sexual violence.
You can be an activist by conciously taking time for yourself, standing up for injustices where you see them, and right now- by attending lots of our events for Reclaim The Night 2020!
Starting your journey with SRC!
If you’ve found us through Reclaim The Night 2020, and you’re thinking that you might need to access some of the services at SRC, then this can feel a bit overwhelming. First of all, you can take your time, and contact us when it feels right for you. The Team @ SRC will never judge you, we will listen to you and validate your experiences, and empower you as you start on your journey with us. You can check out our services pages on this website, and when you’re ready, contact us.
However if you need more time, we’ll also leave you with some tips from women who have used our services:
Try and focus on at least one positive thing every day, no matter how hard that might be.
Meditate. Breathe. Treat yourself. Try to talk about your experience when ever you are ready with someone you trust.
Take time for yourself think about things -do not rush into any decisions have time on your own!
We hope that this blog has provided some insight into the importance of safe spaces, and why at SRC, we’re so proud to provide them both in terms of the services we offer, and the activism we do. A huge thank you to all the women who offered their comments and contributed to this piece.
Remember, you are worthy, valid and important.
The Team @ SRC!