An Unexpected Benefit of Social Networking for Victims of Family Violence
Apart from the fun of engaging with friends and family online, and the convinience of being able to interact with friends and family overseas, facebooking has many other benefits, some of which one might find surprising. In this hub I am going to talk to you about one of the more surprising possibilities that social networking sites such as Facebook offer.
Some of you may know that, other than my writing, I have been quite involved in the online movement happening in social networking circles, Facebook in particular. The benefits of (safe) social networking to victims and survivors of family violence are surprisingly huge, and certainly do well to compliment traditional means of support, and of course, the www presents amazing opportunities to participate in intellectual activism and online awareness campaigns.
Due to needing to maintain a measure of anonymity (for safety and also lest I be found in breach of Section 121 - please see Important Warning For those currently involved in Family Court proceedings (Section 121) ), I formed a separate profile under an alias, with the purpose of connecting to other survivors and advocates, and via this "face", I have made some really special friends in Oz and around the world.
Among the list of people on my alias profile's friends list are various world renown advocates and authors as well as qualified and experienced social workers, psychologists, victim support workers, legal practitioners and other professional service providers. I do not mention this to "brag" but rather to point out what this means to victims and survivors in my little "network: Being able to communicate with these professional people basically means that those in our network are able to access high quality (non-official) support 24 hours a day, the benefits of which are huge, as I am sure you can imagine.
It means that, for any person suffering from PTSD, any trigger-event (and the ongoing effects of such an episode) can be minimized sooner rather than later because there is no need to wait for office hours to make an appointment to see a support worker, especially when many such appointments will not occur for days/ weeks in the future.
The level of quality emotional support, community spirit and active participation is inspiring. From the comfort of your home, you can access practical, legal, professional and therapeutic support and become actively involved in activism. Many have found themselves feeling far less isolated, and there are many small, remarkably "close" social circles, each of which are interconnected to form part of a broader network of similarly orientated networks around the world.
99% of the people on my list I have never met, and probably never will, yet I know I will never ever forget them. Together, we laugh, cry, advocate, challenge, support and inspire. Laughter has become essential to me, and a few months back I proposed a "laughter" policy, which was widely embraced and eagerly implemented . Now we frequently engage in various measures to ensure we all "maintain a healthy level of insanity (balanced by a good dose of intellectual activism - moderation is the key)" LOL that was my "laughter campaign" motto! Since its inception, it has gained in popularity, and now most of my friends have, like me, had to invest in multiple cans of Mr Sheen due to increasingly high levels of coffee splattered monitors needing a polish...
Needless to say, the laughter and the tears abound in our little circles, and are proving to be remarkably effective in healing the soul. Combine all this with the access to quality, accurate information and resources, and we have a very powerful opportunity to bring widespread change.
As some of you may know, my writing lead to many encouraging me to create my own "brand" (lol - thought I already had!?!), and so I created a Facebook Page that, surprisingly, has done and is doing remarkably well. My page, STOP the Violence Against Women & Children, has almost 4,000 "fans" from more than 20 countries around the world. It grows daily and has a high level of user interaction (I.E. various forms of participation such as "likes"/ comments / shares/ member posts etc...). I post inspirational and informative comments and pictures, as well as links to my own and other articles, and other sites offering practical resources.
Essentially I tried to create a proactive, inspirational and informative page that is engaging and offers a balanced level of serious information and inspirational support, lightened with a fairly good dose of quacky humor, and I think I have mostly succeeded.
If you or someone you know could benefit from such support, or if you are a professional working in the field and either you or your colleagues have clients who are avid facebook users, and/or who are struggling with isolation, you may wish to provide them with a link to my page, and encourage them to join.
I must stress that safety is important online, especially when someone has recently removed themselves from a situation where family violence or domestic abuse was occurring, and also importantly, if they are currently involved in any family law proceedings (please se this article for more information and/or advice - Important Warning For those currently involved in Family Court proceedings (Section 121) ).
I have gained a lot of knowledge on internet safety, and myself and others are very vigilant in screening newcomers in our "private" networks, and are proactive and supportive of newcomers by providing them with block lists of fathers rights extremists and known perpetrators, as well as information relating to privacy settings and online security guidelines, to ensure they are not targeted or subjected to further victimization. So far, I have succeeded in preventing at least 3 suicides, and everyday I receive emails and comments of thanks and inquiries about how victims turned survivors can now do their bit to help (one of our mottos is "survive and support").
I have to say that I am both proud and humbled to be part of such an amazing network of people. I have no doubt that many could benefit from being part of either ours, or similar networks. I highly recommend getting involved in such a network or starting your own.
If you are a professional in the field, and if either you yourself or any of your colleagues are avid facebook users, please contact me via hub pages or pass along my details if you would like to know more or if you know anyone who would be interested in getting involved.
Often I feel anxious that some of us have bitten off more than we can chew, and must say I feel that 16 years of personal experience and a selectively photographic memory does not effectively qualify me for some levels of support that many require. This fact alone makes me feel I have no choice but to 'share the load'. Despite my own personal friends list comprising of about 20% professional contacts, with the rest being either current victims or survivors seeking both ongoing support and to support in return, new input, perspectives and ideas are always more than welcome.
Anyway, that's my little speel on the unexpected benefits of social networking for victims of family violence. If you would like to know more on this topic, some of my other hubs may interest you:
- How To Help Save Abused Children From Dangerous Family Laws
- Activism: How You Can Help Stop the Violence Against Women & Children
- Important Warning For those currently involved in Family Court proceedings (Section 121)
- Thrive After Abuse (Why You Can't Avoid Life Forever)
- Perpetrators Perfecting the Fine Art of Institutional Grooming (Domestic Violence, Child Abuse & Family Court)
- Safe-at-last's Survival Guide For Victims Of Family Violence & Domestic Abuse
- Crazy Making Emotional Abuse, Domestic Violence & Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Please join me on FaceBook
- STOP the Violence Against Women & Children
Organize to Resist! Together we can take on the Predators! Let's Break the Silence to End the Violence by working together to make our voices a Resounding SHOUT!!! Perpetrators BEWARE - you don't stand a chance!
All names in this article have been changed for legal purposes and to protect the privacy of the Author. Except where otherwise credited, or where text forms part of an external link, this article is under the following copyright:
Copyright © 2010 Mel Stewart, "safe-at-last", of Perth, Western Australia. All rights reserved.
All persons, places and objects shown in the images in this hub are are shown for illustrative purposes only. They bear no relation to any real person or event. All persons shown are paid models. Unless otherwise credited, all images are under the following copyright:
Copyright © 2010 Mel Stewart, "safe-at-last" and Licensors Nodtronics Pty Ltd. All rights reserved.