At the end of the summer, I thought, “Well, it might be time to update my head shots…” I’d grown in my gray AND my 80’s bangs (finally) Good thing I did; turned out that my <Domestic Violence Awareness Month> would last 16 weeks …
September 12 & 13 * Hobart & William Smith Colleges
September 18 * Niagara University, Dr. Dana Radatz, “Domestic Violence” Class
October 9 * University at Buffalo, Dr. Chris St Vil, “Theory of Human Behavior & Development”
October 18 * CAPPA Theatre, Robert H. Jackson Center, Jamestown, Judicial Conference
October 24 * Woodclif Hotel, Rochester, Judicial Conference
October 28 * Buffalo Historic Courthouse, Judicial Conference
October 29 * University at Buffalo, Dr. Rob Keefe, SW 505
November 3 * St. John the Baptist RC Church, RCIA Program, Teen Dating Violence Program
November 12 * University at Buffalo, Dr. Noelle St. Vil, SW 505
November 13 * Hamburg HS, 9/10 grade Health Classes, Teen Dating Violence Program
November 14 & 18 * ECC Law Enforcement Academy w/the Erie County DV High Risk Team, Continuing Education for Sworn Officers
November 21 * Global Concepts HS, GLOW Program, Teen Dating Violence Program
December 18 * NC Law Enforcement Academy, 73rd Class
December 19 * Buffalo Family Courthouse w/Erie County DV High Risk Team, DV Program for Assigned Counsel
I also signed on with the @ncadv Speaker’s Bureau and finished out the final six months of the Peer Mentoring/DV Program sponsored by the Niagara County Victims Assistance Unit in the Niagara County jail. To top off my very long semester and to celebrate the season, I decorated my first “Period Tree” – <Just Say “NO!” to Period Shaming!>
Looking forward to a far less busy Spring Semester and to finally getting the first draft of the new book into the hands of my First Readers by the end of March. Say a prayer for me, folks; editing is the worst 😦
If I could use only one word to describe this semester, it would be “busy”!
Five schools, hundreds of students. I remember their faces and many of their names. More than once this semester I looked out at them looking back at me and thought, “This is crazy; how in the world did I get here?”
Well, I’m here primarily because while I thought that typing “The End” was the end, there’s a growing body of professors and helping professionals who have decided that Leaving Dorian is only a beginning.
When asked the first time if I would speak to a group of college students – as a sort of companion piece to the book – I was extremely hesitant. I didn’t think I had anything left to offer. I remember asking my husband, “I’ve already exposed my soul on paper; what else is there?” Turns out there are volumes that remain unwritten and there are students who are eager to read each and every page.
Because each class is learning about intimate partner violence from a different perspective, what I’ve set out to do is to become a living research project, of sorts. I encourage the students to poke around – to take a good look around my mind and heart and see for themselves what abuse looks like from the inside out. The goal is to see if they can connect the dots from my experience to what they’ve learned about in class.
The opportunity that I offer them isn’t an easy one; it takes real courage to look someone in the eye as you’re cutting them open, even when they’re the one who handed you the scalpel. But these young adults rise to the challenge; they take that scalpel and they cut and try and peel back the layers. They poke around and try and find the answers that they’ve read about but have not seen with their own eyes. Sometimes they find what they’re looking for easily and we build on their enthusiasm by cutting a little more, digging a little deeper. Other times I don’t have the answer; I don’t know exactly what they’re looking for (sometimes they don’t really know, either) and I ask them to try again. Cut again, I encourage them. Keep digging. Here, I’ll help you. They cut here and see what’s under there; they dig and I encourage them and their professors guide them and we, as a collective, try to extract the answers.
I’ve received stacks of glowing student evaluations this semester, most of which describe me as “brave”, “courageous” and “inspirational”. It’s heartening to know that the students view me in this way, but I have to admit that I would describe them in exactly those same terms; studying to be a helping professional isn’t for the faint of heart.
Fall semester 2016 was fantastic and I’m looking forward to revisiting new students in these courses again during the Fall of 2017!