November 18, 2021
One reason young people don’t access services from domestic violence and sexual violence programs is that they fear that their experiences will be dismissed. That is not to say that our programs are actively denying young people services–I’m talking more about how collectively, we often overlook and dismiss young people’s experiences and agency.
This is called ageism–more specifically, adultism because we direct it towards young people. Young people repeatedly receive messages that their agency is conditional and that their challenges are less complicated because they haven’t lived in “the real world.”
This creates distrust. It’s not any specific program’s fault that young people aren’t accessing services–many young people don’t know that services are available to them or they may have internalized adultism to where they believe that their experiences aren’t worth the attention and time of an adult.
Surveys of young people estimate that nearly half of high school students who have started dating have been victimized by controlling behaviors from a partner. Controlling behaviors can look like property destruction, stalking, isolating them from friends and family, body-shaming, and threats of self-harm or harm to others, to name a few. Unfortunately, in the heteropatriarchal culture we live in, these behaviors are dismissed as a regular part of their development. It is not. Ignoring harmful behaviors normalizes them.
There is also strong evidence supporting that youth who live at the intersection of systemic oppression experience higher rates of gender violence. Systems and services with biases allow youth from historically marginalized communities to fall through the cracks. For example, there is an unconscious assumption that youth with disabilities do not date–we live in an ableist world. It can feel uncomfortable naming this assumption. But as youth advocates, we have to confront our own unchallenged biases about which young people are dating. Suppose we start with the belief that youth with disabilities don’t date. We are inevitably less likely to be able to identify help-seeking behaviors in youth with disabilities when youth with disabilities are twice as likely than their peers to experience dating violence.
It doesn’t have to remain this way.
Our readiness to serve all youth who experience intimate partner violence begins with challenging our own unconscious harmful beliefs. These harmful beliefs do not make us bad people; it makes us products of our environment. But we do have a responsibility to unlearn oppressive beliefs and values.
Here are some helpful starting points :
1. Consult young people on what kind of services they need for their healing. Compensate them for their expertise!
2. Cultivate resilience–once we start unlearning harmful beliefs, we will become more aware of our oppressive behaviors. This sometimes summons feelings of shame. Recognize the shame and let it go–no one learns when they feel shame.
3. Engage your colleagues and supervisors in dialogue about how to make services more accessible to youth. Be patient; it can take multiple conversations to convince our colleagues. You’ll be surprised how many of you already hold a piece of the truth!
4. Intentionally recruit service providers and advocates from historically marginalized communities! Young people feel safer with adults that look like them and can understand and navigate cultural differences.
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According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in August 2021, 2.9% of the national workforce and a whopping 4.1% of Idaho workers quit their jobs. The “Great Resignation” has seen workers across the country leave their positions in droves, however recent numbers indicate that Idaho employers have been particularly impacted. In fact, in August, only 2 other states, Kentucky and Georgia, lost a greater percentage of workers than Idaho did.
Early data demonstrates that more workers are leaving their jobs because they are “less willing to endure inconvenient hours and poor compensation” and those in in rural areas with higher COVID infection rates are quitting with higher frequency than in other areas of the country. In addition, high stress jobs – such as those involving working with people in crisis – have high levels of burnout if employee well-being is not a core organizational value. According to organizational psychologist, Anthony Klotz, “Burnout is a predictor of turnover because one of the only cures for it is getting away.” Furthermore, fields that have traditionally been filled predominantly by women are seeing a reduction in people available for work because women are leaving the workforce at twice the rate of men since the start of the pandemic due to the impossible task of managing family and work obligations with little support for childcare, elder care, and paid leave. This all equates to a staffing shortage for local domestic and sexual violence programs
With so many of our employees leaving their jobs and the almost record number of job openings in the state, we have to turn to exploring both traditional and innovative ways to recruit and retain employees. According to a recent NPR story the following are some considerations that may support the retention of your current employees and enhance employee recruitment:
These considerations lead to organizations in which employees feel valued, empowered, trusted, and included, and are faring better at retaining employees
Information from this article was pulled from the following sources:
This article was written by Annie Hightower. If you have any questions or would like more information about this topic, please feel free to reach out to Kailey.
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Did you know? As a program member, you have one free use of the Linen Building per year. Events must be held Monday – Thursday. To inquire about venue availability, contact Amy York, the Linen Building Venue Manager at email@example.com
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Futures Without Violence’s Supporting Organizational Sustainability Institute (SOS Institute), invites executive directors of domestic and sexual violence organizations to participate in the Professional Leadership & Advancement Network (PLAN) Program. PLAN is an eight-week course to support leaders in their role to effectively manage, lead, and strengthen their organization’s infrastructure and culture, in order to advance their mission.
This hybrid education series will include a blend of live and self-paced sessions, group and individual activities, peer exchange and mentoring, one-on-one technical assistance, and implementation planning. PLAN is an opportunity to engage with other survivor-serving organizations across the country and foster leadership skills rooted in the values of the anti-violence movement.
Who is Invited to Attend?
Executive directors of OVW grantee and subgrantee organizations, grant partners, past participants of the SOS Institute, and potential OVW grantees. Participation will be limited to 40 executive directors and applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. We will prioritize applications for organizations working with underserved communities or struggling with a variety of organizational development challenges. Applicants must certify that they can attend all sessions and fully participate in the self-paced work.
Application Deadline: Friday, December 10, 2021. All applicants will be contacted regarding the status of their application no later than December 17, 2021. For any assistance or questions, please contact Abby Larson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Beyond Diversity & Bias Training: Building Intersectional Race Equity
February 2, 2022| 2:00pm-4:00pm ET
Facilitated by Fiona Kanagasingam, Co-Founder, BIPoC Project, this session is for Human Resources teams, hiring managers, and decision-makers seeking to transform hiring authentically without tokenizing.
Organizations often begin their equity journeys with enhanced hiring, yet struggle with how to fully embed equity not just diversity in the process, how to build systems of accountability that translate intent to action, and how to transform hiring authentically without tokenizing historically marginalized candidates and staff. Register here!
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