Happy Holidays

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Merry Christmas!

Happy Hanukkah!

Joyous Kwanzaa!

Whatever holiday you celebrate, may it be filled with love, hope, and happiness this year!

If you’re in need of support or safety this holiday season, don’t forget that our staff celebrate the season by helping!  Call us anytime at 815.756.5228!

Traditions

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Christmas morning always found my siblings, parents, and I cuddled up in front of the wood-burning stove in our kitchen.  My mom would bake Christmas cookies for breakfast, a sort of oatmeal-based treat that was really more cookie than breakfast.  We’d open stockings and enjoy the warmth of the fire. We’d enjoy those few moments of quiet before heading out to see our larger family and play hours of BINGO.

You may not have played BINGO as much as my family did, but I would bet that most of you shared a tradition that we all dreaded as kids…having to give a hug or kiss to family members we hadn’t seen all year.  So much of our culture is built around physical affection:  kisses to grandma, thank you hugs to Uncle Kipling, goodnight snuggles with cousins.  Those things can be wonderful or can be terrifying for children.  Make sure your children understand that they can say “NO” to unwanted touches, hugs or kisses.  They can give Auntie Mary a wave or high five instead of a hug.  They can say “no thank you” if Cousin Jessie likes to give sloppy kisses.

Childhood is when I learned what I loved about the holidays.  So much of what we know as adults is what we learned as children.  This year as you settle in to enjoy the holidays with family, think about the traditions you are building.

Are you building traditions of kindness and generosity?  Are you building traditions that encourage your family to get consent before hugging, kissing, or touching your children?  Are you building traditions that empower your children and yourself?

This holiday season, give your family the gift of consent.  It is a free gift that keeps on giving as they keep on growing.

Healing

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I hurt my finger the other day.  I was hanging up a Christmas wreath and poked myself on some of the wire.  No blood, no mess…just minor injury to my pointer finger.  It continued to hurt throughout the day and as my mind went through a “Web-MD” style list of how I was undoubtedly going to die of this finger injury, I realized what I needed to do.

Put a band-aid on it.

For as long as I can remember, any wound felt better when I had a band-aid.  I didn’t have to be bleeding.  It didn’t have to be a visible cut.  I didn’t even have to remember how I got hurt in the first place.  I just knew if I felt bad, a band-aid made me feel better.

This was a source of frustration to my mother who saw our household budget for first-aid balloon as soon as I was old enough to reach the shelf with the box of bandages.  She would tell me over and over that I didn’t need a band-aid and if I wasn’t bleeding, a band-aid wouldn’t do any good.

In a way, she was right.  As a grown-up, logically, I know that a band-aid isn’t going to fix all my problems.  But at the same time, it always made me feel better.  My parents may not have been able to see how I was hurting, I may not have always known myself.  But I knew, and I was never wrong, that in some small way that band-aid on my sore finger or scraped knee or bruised elbow made me feel better.

If there is one person I am an expert on, it is myself.  I know when I’m hurting and I usually know what will make me feel better.  Sometimes it’s a relaxing evening with a good friend, sometimes it’s talking to a professional about my life and my past, and sometimes it’s a band-aid.

I’m guessing you’re an expert on yourself as well.  If you dig down deep, I bet you know a few of your own “band-aids”, the tips and tricks that lighten the load and help you feel better for a few moments.  Don’t forget to take the time to take care of yourself.  Take a night off when you can.  Spend a few moments meditating and centering as your day begins.  Reach out for help when it feels like too much on your own.

If you need a band-aid for an old wound that has scabbed over or a new hurt that is still bleeding, reach out.  There is help for you and there are people who will listen.  We’re one of them and we are available 24-hours a day at 815.756.5228.  Your pain matters and so does your healing.

Walk a Mile

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Mark your calendars and dig out your high heels!  Safe Passage is once again hosting “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes!”  An opportunity for our community to stand against sexual violence by putting yourself in the shoes of a sexual assault survivor for a mile walk in high heels!

April 14, 2018 at noon in DeKalb, IL with after party to follow at Fatty’s!  More details to come!

Walk a Mile is a great opportunity for everyone, but especially men in our community to stand together and say that we will end our rape culture that allows sexual harassment and abuse to persist.  Come join us for a fun and important event!

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Baby, it’s Cold Outside…

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Baby, it’s Cold Outside–Zooey Deschanel

http://Baby, it’s Cold Outside–Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppets

Baby, it’s Cold Outside–a complicated holiday song if there ever was one.  Is it a song celebrating the ability of a woman to overcome the restrictive sexual mores of her time and spend the night with her partner?  Is it a song glorifying date rape and a culture that still doesn’t value consent?

Maybe yes to both. You’ll hear people argue on both sides and it probably depends on how you imagine the relationship and what perspective and experiences you bring to the table.  Should you feel guilty for enjoying this winter classic?  I think not. Listen, enjoy, and remember that consent is critical.

Get a yes, stop at no.  Even if it’s cold outside.

Happy Holidays?

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If you are like me, you love the holiday season.  I can’t wait to dig out my holiday decorations, make paper snowflakes, and cozy up with a warm mug of cocoa.  For me, the holidays have always been a time of warmth, generosity, and family fun.  There is always some stress and frustration, but on the whole, this is the time of the year I feel the hope and light that gives me strength for the year to come.

I hope you feel the same love and strength this time of year.  I hope you find yourself surrounded by warmth and family this holiday season.  But if you aren’t, know that you are not alone.  There is love and support for you, even if it is in an unexpected place.

We felt that love and support yesterday when a community member dropped off a literal truckload of toys.  This community member went out of her way to play Santa and we are so grateful.  The generosity of our community helps us to make this holiday season just a little bit brighter for the kids and families who come through our doors.  Thank you thank you thank you!

Happy Holidays!

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On December 6, Safe Passage clients celebrated the holidays with our annual winter party. Over 50 clients and their children enjoyed a holiday meal, desserts and music.

Children were able to decorate ornaments, color holiday masks, and create winter crafts with their friends and parents. Later in the evening, Santa made an appearance. Children were thrilled to talk to Santa about their hopes and wishes after receiving goodie bags and taking a picture with him. Santa told us the majority of children and adults that spoke with him hoped for “happiness and peace.”

We also want to recognize the generosity and kind hearts of Kyler Photography who took family pictures for our clients. These were framed beautifully and given to each parent as their gift. Clients were overjoyed by the opportunity. This night wasn’t possible without the help and dedication of our board members, staff and community volunteers. Stay tuned with upcoming events and volunteer opportunities at www.safepassagedv.org/events.