When I look in the mirror each morning, I see a woman of worth, I see a woman of compassion, I see a woman of empathy, I see a woman of strength, I see a woman who has come a far way. I see a woman who can make a difference in other people’s life and in the younger ones’ lives to come.
What really motivates me is hearing the way the mentees talk about how they appreciate what we do at Eve for Life. Just the sense of making a change in somebody else’s life and helping somebody to move from point A to point B – to get persons to that point, where persons say, ‘Yes, I can stand up for myself.’
That is what will make ME shout “YES!”
COVID-19 putting victims at greater risk
My mentees have been impacted a lot during COVID-19 because most of them who used to go to work have to be at home. Being closer pulls partners together, but it can also drive them apart if they don’t know how to cope.
You have parents getting so frustrated knowing that their kids are at home and they have nothing to give them. And from then their frustrations start to play out on the children.
One of my clients, her father abused her using a machete. She was left at home for two days without anything to heal and when that client called me and expressed that it is two days since she has eaten. Oh my God, my heart just melted.
Breaking the cycle, counselling abusers
The increased distance between me and my mentees has been a challenge. Sometimes it helps, like with their partners it has been a little easier than face-to-face – but for me I have to be visualising that person’ s expression and trying to understand their tone more.
Like this one abusive partner. He cried on the phone, literally cried and in return I said ‘It’s OK, let it all out it doesn’t make you less of a man because persons believe that the way they brought up – that they are supposed to be tough.”
The conversation I had with that man is not unlike what we might do with a mother who is abusing her child. Because she faced abuse as a child then all she knows is this abusive way of life – of course it is different, but it is also similar.
Asking abusers to think like their victims
Like with that man I would ask, ‘What if it was a reverse thing where it was you looking in the mirror as the victim. Would you want somebody to do that to you?’ And of course, he answered ‘No’, but then he has never been asked to look at it like that, because that is not how men have been taught to behave.
The more that man started to open up he would say, ‘I wouldn’t feel good, I would run away. Or, I would just stay.’
From the feedback that I have gotten from clients and partners this approach seems to be working. In life all we can see is the front but sometimes we need somebody to help see what it looks like from the other side. We can all do with that mirror in our lives.
About the Mentor Mom Programme
The Eve for Life Mentor Mom Programme provides psychological tele-counselling to girls and women aged 16 to 25 who are experiencing intimate partner violence and abuse in the home. They are then assigned to a Mentor Mom, such as Stacy-Ann – trained to provide peer-to-peer psychosocial support in navigating abusive situations. Through UNICEF, the Spotlight Initiative in Jamaica is supporting the expansion of this programme to 500 adolescent girls and young women. Those referred to the programme will have access to a psychologist and 24-hour telephone support.