July 28, 2016
We are excited to announce the new location of our office at the Linen Building, 1402 W. Grove Street, Boise, Idaho 83702. Thank you for your patience during our move. After a week of packing and unpacking, and wiring computers and phones, we are back in operation.
We are reclaiming and re-imagining the Linen Building, a space built in 1910 as a commercial steam laundry. Here’s why: laundry has a long been gendered – a traditional “female” skill. Laundresses traditionally counted among the most visible of female occupations. Commercial steam laundry space both reinforced gender rigid gender roles and the transformation of women’s work both in and outside the home. It is no surprise that the steam laundry business was predominately owned by men and employed large numbers of women.
What we have also learned is that the steam laundry business was a catalyst for change. Working conditions for women and women of color in the steam laundry business were harsh – toxic chemicals, long hours, and more. Gendered relationships crossed all aspects of the laundry industry. Rigid gender roles played a significant part in the relationships of managers to workers, of workers to union leaders, and in the marketing of laundry technology to consumers.
In the early 1900’s, steam laundry workers became the early suffragettes. Margaret Hinchey, a laundry worker turned labor activist, told why she became a suffragist who now works as an organizer for the Woman Suffrage Party:
People have often told me that the home is the place for women. But when that home is standing for 18 hours a day over a steam machine in a laundry, working one’s very soul out, and going home so tired that sleep was almost impossible, and getting $3 a week. It was then that I started to work for woman suffrage, and I shall never stop until I die.
And it was the laundry industry that led women to look to action to improve the dismal conditions of work. In 1938, Ruth Green, a steam laundry worker testified to Congress which resulted in passage of the Fair Labors Standard Act:
Laundry work is hard work; it is unhealthy work. We work in heat and steam. Often, in bitter cold weather, the piece workers have to keep their windows open because of the steam and hot air from the pressing machines. This causes all of us to be in the draft.
Together, we will reimagine the very space that once oppressed women. We will unlock the full potential of ourselves, our membership and our allies and co-create a visible community space. We will lead this transformation together.
Idaho Coalition Against Sexual & Domestic Violence
Next week Kelly will be participating in the U.S. Department of Justice Office on Violence against Women roundtable on Identifying and Preventing Gender Bias in Policing. In December 2015, the Department of Justice issued guidance on “Identifying and Preventing Gender Bias in Law Enforcement Response to Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence.”
The Office on Violence Against Women is making visible the role gender bias can play in the law enforcement response to individuals who experience sexual assault and domestic violence. Many young women and people who are gender nonconforming, particular trans people, have shared experience of gender bias in the investigation or prosecution of a crime. Gender bias can look like failing to investigate a crime, making public statements that the “majority of reported rapes are consensual,” stereotyping an individual who was raped, asking questions of a teenage girl who was raped about their sexual history or commenting that the person who committed the rape was “cute.” All of these behaviors reflect a culture that devalues girls and women.
This is an opportunity for you to influence the conversation! If you or any advocate has worked with a woman or someone who is gender nonconforming who experienced bias or discriminatory behavior by law enforcement or anyone in the criminal justice system, please contact Kelly at 208 284-1724 or email firstname.lastname@example.org with the circumstances (no identifying information).
At the roundtable, we will discuss how sexual and domestic violence advocates can use the guidance to promote systemic changes within local law enforcement agencies. A summary report will be issued to disseminate the ideas and recommendations arising from the discussion. Kelly looks forward to hearing from you and sharing what we learn from everyone’s experience.
– Kelly Miller
As advocates working in the gender violence field, we are exposed to trauma on a daily basis. The experiences we are exposed to take a toll on our personal well-being. For many advocates, compassion fatigue can lead to unhappiness with our jobs and affect our relationships both at work and at home. Having an understanding of what compassion fatigue symptoms look like can assist us in building our resilience.Self-care strategies often focus on a self-care plan that too frequently gets overlooked or pushed aside when our lives get stressful. Self-care needs to go beyond the occasional bubble bath or yoga class and instead become a daily practice. Here are some strategies to consider:
Our work to end gender violence is vital. But we have to take care of ourselves or risk compassion fatigue. The poem to the right reminds us to create spaciousness in our life.
– Jennifer Landhuis
What makes a fire burn is space between the logs, a breathing space. Too much of a good thing, too many logs packed in too tight can douse the flames almost as surely as a pail of water would.
So building fires requires attention to the spaces in between, as much as to the wood.
When we are able to build open spaces in the same way we have learned to pile on the logs, then we can come to see how it is fuel, and absence of the fuel together, that make fire possible.
We only need to lay a log lightly from time to time.
A fire grows simply because the space is there, with openings in which the flame that knows just how it wants to burn can find its way.
All too often, survivors with children are not only seeking freedom from domestic violence, they are also navigating challenging systems such as the child welfare system. We can be strong advocates for families by understanding current local and statewide child welfare practices and being able to work effectively with case workers and managers. Being a strong advocate for culturally responsible, trauma and DV informed child welfare practices can make a world of difference for children and their parents.Here are five things we can do to help parents and children we work with:
Collaborating to Improve Outcomes for Battered Women and their Children: Announcing a New Toolkit for Assessing Child Protective Services Responses to the Co-Occurrence of Child Maltreatment and Battering
With Olga Trujillo, Praxis Senior Program & Training Specialist; Rose Thelen, Praxis TA Partner; and Jessica Nelson, Wright County Health & Human Services
– Melissa Ruth
This training will review the NW Network’s domestic violence analysis and sets the frame for understanding domestic violence though an LGBTQ lens.
If you are interested in attending this training in Hailey, please email Heidi Cook, Violence Prevention Educator, The Advocates, or call 208-788-4191 for more information.
We practice self-care to have the most powerful impact possible for the long haul. An essential element of this is building up your resilience so that you’re able to deal with the unexpected. Resilience can only be built up over time, with practice. It requires many of the tips that we’ve given you around cultivating spaciousness, breathing deeply, and having a wide view.
Today’s Challenge – Think about a challenge you are facing, what self-care practices from the last nine days could you employ to ground yourself in the face of this difficult situation?
Deepen Your Practice – In any type of reflection of your choosing (art, writing, poetry etc.), describe how the movement might look if we were all resilient. What might be possible?
Visit the online store to view current Idaho Coalition materials available for order.
For store questions, please contact Lacey Sinn or call 208-384-0419 ext. 314.